Sunday, 25 September 2016

First day at the Thebes in the 1st Millennium BC conference

First day at the Thebes in the 1st Millennium BC conference was great . Background to the project, some excellent lectures on the texts including a sharing of knowledge where a member of the audience knew a disputed sign. Architecture, pottery and cattle bones and more on the site itself and Coptic text. No I am not going to write it up because they will be publishing and obviously that would trespass on that.
 Dr KhaledEl-Enany opened the conference, which was very crowded

Thursday, 22 September 2016

World Tourism Day

Tuesday 27th, sept, 2016
Festival PROGRAM: -
9:00 AM Meeting at the entrance of visitor center - Karnak Temple
9.30:11 AM Folklore festival "Luxor Folklore band"
School's children singing show - Music rababa
Accompanied with RainBow Flag's carriers

Monday, 12 September 2016

MENTORING AND MATERIAL REUSE IN LUXOR | American Research Center in Egypt

Just received a Newsletter from ARCE about all their work in Egypt. This article on Luxor was very interesting

MENTORING AND MATERIAL REUSE IN LUXOR | American Research Center in Egypt: Two practices are deeply integrated into the site improvement operations of ARCE/Luxor: material reuse and skills mentoring...........

Sunday, 11 September 2016

My Beautiful Egypt - From a Wheelchair users perspective.

I am deeply grateful to Louisa Summerfield, who is a wheelchair user and gave her perspective on visiting Egypt, for the forthcoming revised edition of Hidden Luxor.

My Beautiful Egypt - From a Wheelchair users perspective.

I fell in love with Egypt many years ago, I had just left university on an around the world ticket, Egypt being the last destination of our trip. Since then I have lived in Cairo during the early 1990s and have visited 31 times.

As a wheelchair user I think I can start off by saying there is NO wheelchair facilities or access in Egypt, the roads in every destination have kerbs almost two feet high and whilst I like many others use the main road you still have to at some point get up the kerb fortunately there are lots of willing and friendly Egyptians to help you.

The key in Egypt is you have to rely on manpower in order to access things like taking a felucca on the rive Nile, I looked down on the steep bank and thought there is just NO WAY I could get down there, but to the felucca man there was “no problem, no problem” and within seconds I was thrust into the arms of a skinny but very strong man who literally carried me like the bride down very steep & treacherous stone steps but hey I made it I was in my felucca enjoying the amazing sunset of the Nile.

Where I was most disappointed was the Cairo museum as there were 3 steps everywhere leading into each section of the museum and unless they’ve changed things there are steps at the entrance too, for me they could have made some effort to put small ramps inside the museum. 3 steps meant it wasn’t going to be a steep gradient and some effort could have been made as it was irritating having a whole entourage of people following me around.

In Luxor the Temples were hard going, lots of sand and stone boulders to negotiate and in the sweltering heat with the frustration of getting stuck on a stone I did wonder was it all worth it? The answer is yes as once I was there and experiencing Egypt’s ancient world and history I soon forgot the frustration I felt just to get there.

As for hotels and apartments I don’t think you can say it’s all going to be wheelchair friendly, but if you do your research in context with your budget you can find three star hotels with ground floor access and good sized lifts. The Hiltons were always a good bet I often stayed at the Nile Hilton as everywhere within the hotel had been modified by ramps and even the shopping mall attached to it is accessible via a secret route beneath the hotel. It has to be said that don’t assume 5 star hotels are always the best option for accessibility, I made the mistake of staying at the Hyatt to discover the swimming pool my children wanted to be in everyday was up a whole flight of stairs, again I relied on the helpful hotel staff who almost broke their backs lugging me up there. With apartments most ‘bowabs’ point you into the direction where you can find ground floor access to the lift.

My review wouldn’t be the same without mentioning the famous Egyptian taxis, these clapped out cars from the 70s and 80s with no seat belts and sometimes no hand brakes are of course NOT going to be wheelchair friendly, but providing you have a folding wheelchair the taxi men are usually very helpful and have even lifted me into the car seat. Once in I usually closed my eyes whilst they manhandled my wheelchair and placed it on the roof, often without ant tie downs. You had to hope and pray the journey wasn’t going to be too bumpy.

One of the reasons I love Egypt is there are no laws & regulations on health & safety meaning people are always willing to help you without thinking of a potential law suit, I also have to make a note that I’m quite petite weighing only 45 kilos it might be a different story if you weigh much more!
Thank you so much Louisa, I am sure potential travellers will really benefit from your experience

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

MoA_Newsletter_3_English.pdf Annual pass news

MoA_Newsletter_3_English.pdf: Annual

The MoA is launching a new annual pass for all open archaeological sites and museums. For the first time,
Egyptians, Arab and foreign residents in Egypt are able to purchase an annual pass, which can be obtained
from the Department of Foreign Cultural Relations at the MoA in Zamalek.

Categories and prices are:

EGP 100 for pupils of Egyptian governmental, private and international schools in
Egypt; EGP 150 for Egyptian, Arab and foreign university students residing in Egypt;

EGP 400 for Egyptians
and Arabs residing in Egypt;

$440 for foreigners employed by
embassies and international organizations in Egypt (including
the tombs of Sety I and Nefertari in Luxor),

$340 without these
two tombs; and

$490 for foreign residents in Egypt (including the
tombs of Sety I and Nefertari in Luxor); and

$390 without these
two tombs.

In addition, the Board of the Supreme Council of Antiquties has
approved free entry for Egyptian and resident Arab seniors (60+) to
all archaeological sites and museums open to the public.

Additions to Hidden Luxor - blind or visually impaired visitors to Egypt

When I mentioned on Facebook I was adding disability tips to Hidden Luxor Jim Liddle offered some tips for any blind or visually impaired visitors to Egypt.

1. Tech gear. Try to take as little technology with you when you go: not only can recharging it be problematic, but unless you keep it close, sometimes security can't be guaranteed. If you have a smart phone with the ability to have speech input, load up a personal GPS app. If it can read USB memory sticks or cards, try to get hold of guidebooks before you go and get a friend to read them onto it.

2. If you're a braillist, try to get copies of any basic guides BEFORE you go - very few museums have braille guidebooks available, and those that do have copies which are usually very bulky, out of date and may be illegible through use.

 3. If you have an expert guide with you, they might be able to persuade a sympathetic curator or museum attendant to let you feel some of the artefacts - take a few pairs of sterile surgical gloves for this purpose - this will save any contamination of the artefact and show any attendant that you are a bona fide blind person. It might be helpful to bring a few hard copies of proof of registration while you're at it!

4. Canes and tips. If you use a guide or a long cane. try to get hold of a pencil or pear shaped tip (or two). A rigid tip might require a bit more concentration to use, but rotating tips and Egyptian sand do NOT mix. If you have to use a rotating tip, take a bottle of WD40 or other cleaning agent with you when you walk in sandy areas - dry sand clogs up tips very quickly.

5. Always keep cash to a minimum wherever you go, and your purse or wallet should be concealed. If you wear a watch, get a cheap tactile wind up watch through your local supplier: not only will it be no real loss if it goes walkabout, but talking watches are sometimes very difficult to hear in the high volume crowds which you will find at most locations.

6. Get a pair of anti-glare wrap around sunglasses, to wear over any glasses you need - or even if you don't wear glasses normally. Not only will they offer much needed protection from the sun, but they will prevent fine sand grains getting in your eyes and damaging any contact lenses you might be wearing.

Massive thanks to Jim for these useful tips

Monday, 5 September 2016

Solar Complex at Hatshepsut

I have been given this fantastic picture for use in Hidden Luxor. Although I had been in the sun court before, when I went I couldnt take photos.

The solar court was one of the recent new things to see in Luxor and was opened this Feb

Temple design followed a set pattern and although Hatshepsut's temple is very different from the Ramasseum it does actually follow the same pattern but using terraces instead of pylons. The third terrace has chapels dedicated to the royal cult, to Amun and a sun court and if you go to any other temple to the south is the royal cult chapel, the middle Amun and the north the sun court.. Now this court is open to the public it is easier to note the similarities of design.

Hatshepsut sun court - Jean Ford

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Disable access at Medinet Habu, Valley of Queens and Deir el Medina

Tried out the scooter at Medinet Habu, the guardians was massively helpful.  I remembered it as being flat but the reality was quite different.  Going in there was a steep ramp with a little tiny step at the end. Got down that OK but then there were steps in the main gateway. The guardians were quite happy to lift up those and help me down the very steep ramps into the outside courtyard. The paving stones were great and you could get to God’s wives of Amun chapels, Tuthmosis III exterior and the exterior of the first pylon. However the area outside these paths was large stones which were just not possible for the scooter. The ground really needs to be smooth to work properly.   

The entrance gateway to the first court had a step but again the guardians was massively helpful and totally prepared to lift the heavy scooter into the courtyard. The paving is fairly uneven but negotiable.. there was a ramp to the second gateway but that was impassable. The ground was broken and uneven, no way to get through safely. I was very disappointed.

I investigated the Valley of the Queens in case the path was tarmacked but after the car park it was just natural ground, dusty, sandy with large stones. If you were in a wheel chair and fairly heavy then access along the path is going to be tough and of course the tombs are for the mobile only. Sadly Deir el Medina is the same, the tombs are definitely for the mobile only with steep steps and uphill. 

The path along the village is another natural path not tarmacked so tricky for wheeled transport. You could get a view of the village from the car park.

I still enjoyed the trip and it was lovely to be out and about. The locals were so friendly everyone wanted details about the scooter. Next time I will try some of the other temples. Everyone reckons Hatshepsut should be OK.

Friday, 2 September 2016

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