Thursday, 27 August 2009

Luxor's Marathon

Put February 12th in your diaries as this is the date on Luxor's Marathon. Full details are on the website It is a fantastic route going all round the West Bank of Luxor, runners and temples all mixed in.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor – part 3 Mosque of Abu Haggag

The last stop on Dr Zahi Hawass tour of Luxor was the formal opening of the renovated mosque. We left the temple of Hatshepsut and proceed to the Nile and Ibrahim Soliman was waiting for us with motor boats which took us across the Nile. A short walk to Luxor temple and he escorted us through the temple as a short cut to the mosque. There was a formal reception with a video describing the renovations. Then we proceed in to the mosque, there was a huge surge of men going into the left hand side of the mosque to the rhythmic chanting of the men. It was a powerful and emotional scene. I snuck round the right-hand side and took some photos. I do encourage you to visit this mosque it is really interesting and you will be very welcome. Avoid prayer times obviously. Back in Dec 2007 I visited the mosque when the renovations had just started. I think the pictures speak for themselves I have tried to match the shots.

Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor part 2 - Hatshepsut

After weeks and weeks of little news suddenly I have lots to report. Dr Zahi Hawass visit to Luxor was a definite highlight this month. One of the stops on his journey was the temple of Hatshepsut. He was there to officially open the visitors centre at the site and the review the first trials of the lightening system for the Theban necropolis.

The visitor centre has some pictures of the site, a terrific model of the entire site reconstructed with both Montuhotep, Tutmosis II and Hatshepsut temple shown in detail. They used the flat platform reconstruction of the Montuhotep temple. I did get a photo but the reflections of the overhead lights spoiled it. It was official opened with the unveiling of a plaque. Then a short film was shown describing the site, Dr Samir and Dr Zafi are seated in the front row and Dr Sabry is beside them and then we explored the site.

Finally we took the tuff tuff, little train to view the effect of the first stage of the flood lightening of the West Bank. Luckily I was sitting next to Mansour Boraik and managed to get a bit of information. It is planned that the entire West Bank will be lit and tourists will be able to visit. They need to get security sorted out as well as the lights and he expects to have the sites open in the New Year. Wow!!

I have already published my picture of the lights, which was just taken on a camera phone, but I like it so much you can have it again :)

Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor part 1 – Carter House

On the West Bank on the round about that leads to the valley of kings there is a mud brick house which was used by Howard Carter when he was excavating there. It was built around 1910 as there are commemorative bricks with that date. It is not the house on the hill but at ground level. For many, many years there have been rumours that it was going to be made into a museum about the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen but nothing seem to happen.

Well all that is changing, as you can see from the above plan there is an ambitious plan to redevelop the entire area and to refurbish the Carter House at the same time. If you look at the detail plan you can read in English the description of the various rooms, it looks as though it is going to a very interesting visitor centre.

It is being driven by this man who when I asked his name told me he was a Major General. Apparently if you are a General for 3 years you become a Major General and he has been a General for 6 years, so I ended up calling him Major, Major General and never found out his real name. He is driving the project forward big time and expects to have it finished by 4th November otherwise as we would say ‘heads will roll’. He certainly seemed to have a lot of power as my driver translated some of his conversation for me and he was defiantly barking out orders. The army will be brought in and they will work round the clock.

The house is in a shabby and dilapidated state but the architect Hany El Miniawy has done projects like this before. Try Googling on his name and you will be very impressed, he is a top notch guy.

He has to turn this

in to this

Quite a task considering its present state, I asked him if he was worried about ground water issues on this mud brick development if they landscape and this needs watering. He proceed to blind me with science but it was obvious he knew what he was talking about and had taken that in to consideration. Apparently the building is made of heba or green bricks, green referring to their maturity rather than their colour, on a good foundation. The water table is far away and the building itself will be protected.

So we were ready for our big wigs to arrive. First Dr Zahi Hawass came and the architect spent some time with him explaining the various stages.

Then Dr Zahi was interviewed by the media, sadly everything was in Arabic but there are lots of details on Dr Zahi Hawass’s website

Lastly Dr Samir Farag, the governor of Luxor arrived to be shown the site. Then we all raced of to Hatshepsut’s temple …… more of Dr Zahi's visit to come when we go to Hatshepsut and the mosque of Abu Haggag

Monday, 17 August 2009

Dr Zahi Hawas opens Hatshepsut visitor centre

First a photo to follow yesterday's post of the floodlighting of the West Bank. I have lots more information about this, also the visit of Dr Zahi Hawass and Dr Samir Farg to three sites tonight. First the Carter House to talk with the architect about the proposed restoration of the house and redevelopment the area into a museum and vistor centre.

Then the temple of Hatshepsut to officially open the visitors centre and view the new lighting.

Lastly a reception and the opening the mosque of Abu Haggag after its wonderful restoration

But this is a trailer because I am too tired to do the posts tonight, I am sorry. But I have lots of photos and information for tomorrow

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Lights over Luxor

I live on the West Bank facing the Theban Hills with the Valley of Kings and temple of Hatshepsut. Tonight we are all looking at the skyline as the entire Theban necropolis is floodlit. It is absolutely fantastic.

Ibrahim Soliman also phoned told me about this and that the renovated mosque in Luxor temple is being opened by Dr Zahi Hawass tomorrow.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Coptic Egypt

I recently had a prof staying at the flats in Luxor (who incidently wrote a brill review on Trip Advisor). He was studying Coptic graffitti and we joked a lot between us about Pharaonic Egyptologists not liking anything past 1000BC.

He is studying all over Egypt but while he was here visited Deir el Bahri, Deir el Medina, KV2, Kharga and Abydos.

So to prove I am not prejudiced at all here is some Coptic information courtsey of Lyn Green

The Canadian Society for Coptic Studies

The Canadian Society for Coptic Studies/La Société Canadienne pour les Études Coptes (CSCS/SCEC), incorporated as a non-profit organization on May 29, 2009, has as its purpose the bringing together individuals interested in Coptic studies; and the dissemination of scholarly information on Coptic studies through the organization of meetings and conferences and through the preparation of scholarly works for publication.
The CSCS/SCEC is affiliated with the University of Toronto, and St. Mark's Coptic Museum The Dept. of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the U. of Toronto has already presented two Coptic Symposia, featuring scholars from Egypt, Canada and elsewhere and has initiated a programme of Coptic Studies

For more information contact: Dr. Helene Moussa

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Arkwrights New Deli Counter

Arkwrights the English supermarket in St Josephs street has just opened a new deli counter with a superb range of cheese and cold meats. I am really pleased to say that since this shop opened it has gone from strength to strength. Standards have not slipped at all. Well done to Angie, Yassar and the staff