Sunday, 26 July 2009

Duck Racing on the Nile

The exclusive unveiling of the newest tourist attraction in Luxor, the video says it all

Monday, 20 July 2009

Seti I replica tomb

Do you remember this old post of mine

Laser Scanning
I has a fascinating chat with a guest who used to work at Liverpool Conservation Centre. Apparently laser scanning is so good nowadays that they can use it to make 3-d records of objects and then reproduce them. a while ago the Polish team at the temple of Hatshepsut asked for a plaster copy of a piece of Hatshepsut’s temple that was in the museum. Rather than do this they were able reproduce in limestone a perfect copy of the piece in question.
The possibilities of this are endless here in Luxor.

Also they could scan all the pieces currently on mastabas scattered all over Luxor and put them on computer where they could be matched together. the cost of this equipment is not cheap but when you think of how quickly it could record scenes, especially those in danger from water damage it seems it would be worthwhile. There is also software available that removes damage and makes the surface look like new so reconstructions of the original could be made.

Does anyone know why the missions out here don’t use this. Could someone like the Getty institute fund this and all the missions have access. I know a lot of the teams read my blog so I would love some comments on this.

February 26th, 2006

Well the wife of the same ex guest was commenting about the proposed Seti I replica
“Saw the planned replica tombs - it's taken long enough, the Seti conference was in 2002! Do you remember John's colleague Steve went out and did sample scans of Seti. It is the same firm Factum Arte who are doing them now.”.
The company has a website and a big piece about the Seti project

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Visiting Egypt during Ramadan

Ramadan is a great time to visit a Muslim country. don't forget Egypt isn't just about antiquities but also about the people and the culture. Over 80% of the population are Muslims the rest being Coptic Christians and even the most lax and laid back make a special effort during Ramadan

Effects on tourist visiting sites - none what so ever, drink what you like, eat what you like, smoke what you like. I think it is nice not to smoke in a car when the driver is fasting but actually I think it nice not to smoke in a car full stop. Some drivers are very macho about their fasting and like to show how strong willed they are.

Effects on tourist in hotels - none what so ever, often the Christian staff do day time and Muslims night so don't assume everyone you see is fasting

Availability of alcohol - reduced during Ramadan although this is generally sold by Christians it does stop during Ramadan and strict Muslims will not handle it. 5* hotels are not affected.

Effects on tourists non tourist sites, banks, etc these often keep different hours during Ramadan generally closing for Iftar (the sunset meal) so just remember to go early in the day

Effects on tourists traveling, if you have a private driver and are traveling at sunset do suggest he stops to break his fast otherwise no effect what so ever

Interesting things to see

those better off supply food for Iftar in the streets for the poor, it is quite amazing seeing all these roadside camps, you may be offered something there is no problem accepting, just have a couple of dates

family meals, if you get invited to Iftar go, some of the meals are fabulous, the best cooking happens at this time, they try and break the fast with dates

all the old TV programs get recycled, some have subtitles but anyway it is fun to watch the over the top dramas

the mad race on the roads to get home for Iftar and the dead silence on the roads during Iftar

the lanterns, lights, flags and paper mosques put up by the children to decorate their homes

everyone in the country united in celebrating a religious event. This is the aspect I love. Everywhere you go being offered good wishes, people supporting each other, the children excited doing their first fast (they start off doing half a day fasts and it is a big event). Not everyone fasts, sick people, nursing mother and small children do not.

So don't be put off visiting because it is Ramadan, join in the celebrations

Friday, 17 July 2009

New Sound and Light Show at Karnak Temple

I went to the new show and have to be brutally honest. I really enjoyed it. I know it is kitsch and some of the facts are completely inaccurate (Tutankhamen was not Akhenaton’s brother) but the whole feel is still as magical for me as when I saw the old show back in 1979.

The sound track has been updated, obviously I am just going on memory but I reckon about 30% of the track is new. The lightening updates are really good.

Regular readers of this blog may remember years ago I conducted a survey on behalf of Mansour Boraik on whether there should be a screen at Karnak to enable laser displays. My readers overwhelming voted no and Mansour was able to use the statistics in discussion with the Sound and Light company. The result of this is they have used the walls of the monument to projection the slides onto and it works really well. They still have the processional bit of the show and as you stand in the first court they project images and hieroglyphs on the gateway of the second pylon.

The 'holy of holies' also has been highlight with a red laser light. When you sit on the benches at the end they screen the display on the walls of the court de cache, the back of the first pylon and the eight pylon. Also the scared lake has floating lights. I was with some guests who had seen the old show and agreed with me the new show was really nice.

The only complaint, the price 100LE seems way over the top compared to entrance of the Valley of Kings at 80LE or indeed entrance to Karnak during the daytime 65LE.

So if your budget allows, GO

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Protecting the Valley of the Kings | - Zahi Hawass

Really great news from Dr Zahi Hawass

Protecting the Valley of the Kings | - Zahi Hawass

"I always say that the Egyptian monuments will be completely destroyed in less than 100 years if tourism isn’t managed properly. Tourism is the number one threat to the Egyptian antiquities.

In Egypt we have started many important site management projects in order to protect the monuments, and I have published many articles about my ideas. When I became Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, we initiated site management projects at Abu Simbel, the Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan, Edfu, Kom Ombo, the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut’s Temple in Luxor, and at Dendera. We are currently finishing site management projects at Giza and Saqqara, as well as working at Tell Basta, and San el-Hagar (Tanis), and this week we have completed our project at Pompey’s Pillar in Alexandria.
In order to have a high quality site management program it is important to have a means of protecting the site, an educational introduction within a visitor’s centre, well-trained personnel, a programme for restoration and conservation, and, outside of the site, facilities for tourists, such as cafeterias, a bazaar, and clean bathrooms.
The Valley of the Kings is a special case. Here, tourists concentrate on visiting certain tombs – especially the tombs of Tutankhamun, Ramesses VI, and Horemheb – while others are hardly visited at all, even though the valley contains sixty-three tombs in total. This means that some tombs need added protection, while others need to be closed completely in order to save the ancient paintings.
We are currently installing lighting in the Valley of the Kings so that people will be able to visit the tombs in the evening. This will help to protect the paintings because it allows us to spread the tourist visits out over the course of the day – they will need to make reservations for the morning, early afternoon or evening. This will allow the tombs to escape from the extra heat and moisture that builds up in them over the course of the day.

Three special tombs are so important and beautiful that they need to be carefully protected: the tombs of Tutankhamun, Nefertari and Seti I. The latter two are currently closed to the public to help preserve them. In order to allow visitors to Luxor to still see the paintings in these beautiful tombs, yet still keep them closed, we contacted Adam Lowe of Factum Arte. He is currently making detailed high-resolution copies of the tomb scenes using laser scanners. The images that these scanners create look almost exactly like the original paintings.
The team developed new scanners in order to make the best copies; one of them is called Seti. In the end, all of the paintings in the tombs of Seti I and Nefertari will have been scanned, as well as the burial chamber and sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. Missing fragments from these tombs, now held in foreign museums, will also be scanned and added to the overall reconstruction, giving as complete a picture of the tombs as possible. As the project continues Egyptians will be trained in the use of the equipment and techniques, meaning that the project also transfers important skills.

On November 4th of this year, I will be finishing converting Howard Carter’s rest house in Luxor into a museum with displays focusing on Carter’s great discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. There will also be a cafeteria for tourists to have lunch. A one-day workshop will be held, celebrating 86 years since the discovery of the tomb. Down the valley from the rest-house we will install replicas of the tombs of Nefertari, Seti I and Tutankhamun using the high-resolution scans so that, even if two of these tombs are closed, visitors will still be able to experience their beauty with the knowledge that the ancient paintings are being preserved."

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

David Rohl information

Ok I know it is not Luxor News but when I published about his lectures I got the most amount of comments ever on a post so it is obviously interesting to my readers. I got sent this email.

David Rohl's special TV program 'Pharaohs & Kings: A Biblical Quest' is available on DVD but there are only a few copies.
You can order both 'Pharaohs & Kings' and the David Rohl seminar shot in
Florida ('Myth or Reality') here:
David Rohl video SAMPLES in the center of the page:
-Cami McCraw