Monday, 31 October 2016

Seti I, Nefertari and Luxor Pass TOMORROW 1st November

I went to the Opening Dinner of the 5th Global Summit on City Tourism tonight. It is always a bit of a nightmare when you go on your own who you will get to sit next too but practically the first people I saw were all my Antiquities Department buddies Mohammed Abel Aziz Head of Upper Egypt Moustafa Wazery Head of Luxor and others from the taftish. The guy I got to sit next to was Ahmed Khatifa who is Head of PR so I quizzed him about tickets.
  • 1)      The tombs and the Luxor pass are available tomorrow 1st November
  • 2)      The ticket for Nefertari will be available at the Valley of Queens ticket office
  • 3)      The ticket for Seti I tomb will be available at the Valley of Kings ticket office
  • 4)      They are both 1000LE
  • 5)      The Luxor pass valid for 5 days is available at the east bank tuftish(antiquities office) which is behind Luxor Museum. You should ask for Ahmed Khalifa
  • 6)      $100 USD pass ($50 USD for students) is WITHOUT Nefertari and Seti I
  • 7)      $200 USD pass ($100 USD for students) is WITH Nefertari and Seti I

Update with answers to the questions you asked

The office on the east bank is open 9-4:30 every day including Friday (I did ask specifically)
You need a photo and a copy of the details page of your passport to get the Luxor Pass
There is a limit of 150 people a day to Nefertari and Seti I tombs

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Booking train tickets online

Just got some feedback from June about booking train tickets

It is easy to book rail travel online now. Their website easy to use and take Visa. Can only book up to two weeks in advance though. Won't let you do it before.  So couldn't book return! Will have to do that separately. Need passport and passport number to log in and create an account first. Print out ticket.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Solutions for Disabled Access in Luxor

Please share and pass on to any archaeological digs, persons of influence, Egyptian government and politicians

Disabled Access in Luxor

I have mobility issues and have been visiting the sites using a mobility scooter to test out disabled access. I have to say it is very poor but compensated by the willingness of the guardians to assist. They are quite frankly wonderful.

The main problems are 

  1.  Lack of smooth paths. There are lots of areas with large stones or dusty/sandy loose soil. 
  2. Ramps are far too steep, they are actually dangerous for wheelchair users

I know that money is tight and a perfect solution is probably not affordable but I have a suggestion that not only works but is also aesthetically acceptable on these ancient sites and practical.

Mud brick

In fact it has been used with great effect in the Seti I temple to pave parts of the central axis. Mud brick is traditional, cheap, easily obtainable and the locals have the skill to make it. It looks right in the temples and can be easily removed without damage. Pathways could be made of this material together with ramps that would make all sites accessible.

Also please make ramps 1:12 like this

Thank you from all disabled people who would like to visit Egypt

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Hidden Luxor - East Bank the disabled report

Egypt may have poor disabled facilities but it makes up for it by having the most helpful people in the world.  Guardians, supervisors, police and even a couple of men sitting having coffee leapt up and helped me get where I wanted to go. If I wanted to get there by God they were going to make sure I did. Nothing was too much trouble and it made me love Egypt even more.

I got a taxi round from my house to Karnak. As it is 18 km by the bridge it would have taken too long and used up the battery. I was not going to risk the ferry lol. At the car park only coaches and minibuses are allowed in and my driver was worried I might have a problem on the scooter, he need not. It was almost like a royal progress. Gates were opened and everything was made easy. The visitors center is up on the pavement but I managed to find a place with a slope and there were ramps to go inside and ramps to the model. The ticket office was outside and to get onto the plaza I had to go through a shop to get to the ramp but absolutely no hassle. On the plaza there was a step up however there was a ramp but it was obstructed by debris from  some repair works and tricky to get through. I complained to a worker and he promised to clear it up by the time I got back and all credit to him it was cleared when I got back.

The entrance to the temple has a narrow security gateway but the police encouraged me to go round it where they sit and searched me there. On the quay there was a small steep ramp and then a more gentle ramp. The ground was very bumpy with uneven paving.  Amazingly enough I met a man who organised trips for wheelchair users and he was stunned when I said I was writing a guide book and adding helpful tips for disabled tourists. We exchanged business cards!

The first court and most of the central Amun temple is paved so perfectly ok for wheelchairs although very bumpy. I was able to get as fair as the holy of holies .

 I could not get to the festival hall of Thuthmosis III, didn’t attempt the Ptah temple as that is a sand trap. It was pretty sad to see the deserted cafĂ© and remember the past.

I went out to the Knonsu temple and the path through the block yard was great but before the path around the Khonsu temple was reached it stopped.  About five yards of stony ground which is almost impossible. Although there is a path around the temple it was blocked by scaffolding and the inspector there said it would be up for a couple of years. I complained about that too and he did say he would tell the moudir. I hope he does.

I have a simple really cheap solution extend the path with mud brick. That makes a smooth surface, it is very cheap, does not harm to any temple surface and it is aesthetically pleasing. Also please make ramps 1:12 like this diagram.

I tried to go to the new area of the temple of the hearing ear. With massive help from guardians (see photo) I got inside but although I had been promised it was disabled friendly there was a step, ramps were too step and the pathway to it was impassable.


Still I did get to see it with considerable guardian help.

The open air museum was a total success paved everywhere except the area leading to the Tuthmosis IV colonnade. I got some great photos, although the lack of signs was very frustrating.

So the Amun temple was 75% OK, Khonsu was a wash out and the open air museum a joy. Now it was time to try the Mut temple.

I went back to the visitors center and asked for directions how to get there as I had only ever gone by car before. I also asked if someone could come with me and I was sent this nice young man called Mahmoud. He was really wonderful. He took me a slightly long way as the quicker way had a step. When we got to the ramp leading down to the part of the sphinx alley that goes east/west  against the main alley going north/south. We looked at ways and means, the alternative through the village on sandy soil versus the steepness of the ramp and the condition of the pavement which was terrible. I remember Mansour Boraik telling me the pavement of sphinx alley had been broken by flooding. I hadn’t noticed walking but you sure notice on wheels.

Again a complimentary sidewalk of mud brick would solve the problem. About a third of the way along I wanted to give up but sent Mahmoud ahead to see the condition of the temple and was it worth it. He came back with the guardian who said it was paved and alright. So I went off the pavement and tried the ground by the side. With the guardian pushing we got there. The central aisle is paved and good condition so it was worth it and it had changed a lot since I was last there. Really well laid out, sadly at the end there was a large step and the surface pretty bad but I was satisfied. I would judge the site about 35% ok for disabled.

I had wanted to go back alongside sphinx alley but Mahmoud warned me the road was very broken due to the new gas pipe being laid and obviously the alley itself was not an option with the broken pavement. So I went along the road. I did think about going along the corniche but the road had a padlocked gate so that wasn’t an option. So I used the road, it was OK but I was glad I had the hi vis jacket and knew my way.

When I got to Luxor temple I took one look at the entrance way with its steps and massively steep ramp and knew that was impossible. So I went to the exit, there were a group of police men there, immediately saw the problem and they got some help. The exit gateway was opened up, I was searched one the ramp (the entrance has x-ray) and the ticket office guy came out and took my money over the wall. I was so impressed how helpful they were.

Luxor temple was great until I got past the peristyle hall, there was a huge set of steps and a steep ramp. I guess I could have got help but by this time I was pretty tired so exited.

I then went touristy and got a MacDonalds and went for a hair cut. When I got to the shop I used my horn to try and get attention from the shop to help me get the scooter on to the pavement and into the shop. Almost immediately two men having shisha and coffee next door jump up and helped me carrying the scooter up the kerb to the pavement and into the shop.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it Also all this time, all this help, nobody wanted money. I did give Mahmoud a tip, he was with me over an hour. He did not want to take it and I had to press him but in the end I said it was for his mother. I knew that would work.

For all the posts about my site visits with the mobility scooter click on the disabled tag

Monday, 17 October 2016

Zahi on the new scan of Tutankhamun This Morning - Timeline

(9) This Morning - Timeline

Many thanks to Tony Hickman for sharing this. Zahi is talking about a new scan of KV62 by the Russians in Nov

Tony also did a transcript

Zahi Hawass has just announced on ITV This morning that there will be another scan by a Russian team in the tomb of Tutankhamun KV62 in this November here is a transcript of the interview............. I want to tell you one important thing, as the Director now of the field work in the Valley of the Kings who are using new techniques that takes photographs that can show what’s under the ground, because we are missing the tomb of Thutmose's II, the tomb of Ramesses VIII, most of the queens of dynasty XVIII were buried in the Valley of the Kings. And the coming November we hope that we can locate one tomb and make a big discovery like the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun .
Zahi Hawass was then asked about the idea of hidden rooms in KV62
We are, we are going to use also inside the tomb of Tutankhamun a NEW radar, it’s a Russian radar, and that Russian radar will make the final word if the tomb of Nefertiti existed inside the tomb of Tutankhamun or not. Because the previous radar that talks about something behind the wall when we did look at it, it did not show anything and therefor soon, in November we are going to use this Radar to find out if evidence of Nefertiti behind the North wall of the tomb or not .
Zahi Hawass was asked if he felt that Nefertiti was in KV 62
I REALLY DO NOT THINK that Nefertiti is buried at all in the tomb of Tutankhamun , for many reasons the first the Priests of Amun would never let someone who worshipped the “Aten” to be buried in the Valley of the Kings.
Zahi Hawass finally stated he felt that there is nothing inside the tomb of Tutankhamun , This theory is not correct .

Hidden Luxor - Disabled temples: Merenptah=No, Rammasseum=No, Seti I YES!!!!!

That is all the temples done now.

Started at Merenptah, which had dusty, sandy debiris on steep ramps and even with the guardians help I couldnt get up

Ramasseum had VERY steep mini ramps going down to a non compacted sandy, dusty courtyard. We could have got down the rmaps, with a lot of help but once at the bottom the scooter would have been stuck. Also the access from first courtyard to second courtyard is impossible for a scooter.

Bt this time I was feeling very demoralised but decided to try Seti temple. There were a couple of steep ramps going in but only little ones and there is one small step in the middle of the central aisle but that is it. Everything else I could negotiate all by myself

I came back along the bottom road to get a look at Hatshepsut, it is there honest, across the fields

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Kunsttentoonstelling “Luxor in Zwevegem” – Grensnieuws

Kunsttentoonstelling “Luxor in Zwevegem” – Grensnieuws

For all our Flemish readers (or use Google translate) this is a news story about the painter Wael Nour and his family on his first European show. Well done Wael

Monday, 10 October 2016

Tuthmosis II shrine in Karnak temple is ready to open after restoration - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

One of my favourite places, the open air museum at Karnak and now there is even more to see.

Tuthmosis II shrine in Karnak temple is ready to open after restoration - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: The latest work of cleaning and conservation has been completed -- the bark shrine of Thutmosis III is now ready to be opened for visitors at the Open Air Museum of Karnak.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Hidden Luxor - Disabled at Hatshepsut

I can not believe how hot it still is, the forecast says 37 but I swear it was over 40.

Everyone has been saying that the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri will be ok for the mobility scooter as it has ramps. Well it is and it isnt, the ramps are so steep!
Second terrace

When I arrived at the ticket office there was a step and a very narrow entrance way but a very obliging guardian took my money and went to the ticket office for me. A policeman came out and searched my bag and they opened up the barrier between the car park and the temple. The path is very smooth and even and at the bottom of the ramp there was a small wooden ramp. The very first thing I have seen to help the disabled.
Small wooden ramp

If I was a few stone lighter or the ramp had been a few degrees less steep we would have raced up there. But the scooter switched off, it couldnt cope. A quick reset and I got off and walked it up the ramp. The terrace itself was fine, very flat but the colonnades had a big step so it was out with the trusty folding seat..
Big steps at the colanades

Going down the ramp was much easier, quite fun actually.The exit past the shops was fine, I stopped and chatted with a few stall holders. They miss the tourists so much. They were pleased direct flights had started but horrified by the price compared to going somewhere like Turkey. I wish EgyptAir would drop its prices.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Work recognised in Luxor

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enani embarked early this week on a tour of Luxor in order to inspect recent work at the Karnak Temples, inaugurate a number of archaeological sites, and attend the second round of the Thebes in the First Millennium BCE Conference.