Where is Saqqara (Sakkara)  Located?

Saqqara is located about 15 Km from downtown Cairo, extends over 8 km. It was the necropolis of the ancient capital of Egypt, Memphis, it contains numerous monuments as the famous one is the step pyramid or Djoser pyramid.

As the step, pyramid begins the history of the pyramids. It was the tomb of King Djoser built by his architect Imhotep who is considered the first architect in history, consists of 6 mastabas.

In connection with the pyramid was its chapel, the two being connected by a covered causeway.

Small pyramids were also built for some of the queens and the passages and chambers in the pyramids are mostly above ground and vary enormously in a plan.

In Djoser’s pyramid, the multitude of chambers and their decoration still keep up the similitude of a dwelling. His sarcophagus, too is a bit chamber, while later kings used a monolithic receptacle.

Judging from the sarcophagi, the kings were buried extended north and south, and Djoser’s body was very elaborately bandaged. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period.

It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times

 

The sphinx appears to have started in Egypt in the form of a sun god. The Egyptian sphinx is usually a head of a king wearing his headdress and the body of a lion. There are, however, sphinxes with ram heads that are associated with the god Amun.

The Great Sphinx is to the northeast of Chephren’s Valley Temple. Chephren’s workers shaped the stone into the lion and gave it their king’s face. The Sphinx faces the rising sun with a temple to the front and is considered the guardian of the pyramids.

It measures 20 meters high and 73.50 meters in length, it was carved in a huge rock in limestone. The Sphinx’s nose has not fallen down by itself as during many years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers were accused of having fired cannonballs at the Sphinx’s nose during the Egyptian campaign.

It was easy to accuse Napoleon while he did a great job in classifying a different kind of arts in Egypt. And why should he excavate the Sphinx from the sand and destroy it later? The Egyptians considered the statue as a God protecting the crops. According to Mark Lehner’s last archaeological studies, marks of a crowbar can be observed at the base of the nose and underneath the right nostril which might have been used a lever to break the nose off the face, this happened between the X and XV century.

 

The Unfinished Obelisk lies, in its original location, in a granite quarry in Aswan. It is 42m in length and was most probably abandoned when some cracks appeared in the rock, during its construction.

Had this obelisk been completed, it would have been the heaviest obelisk ever cut in Ancient Egypt, weighing nearly 1100 tons! It is believed that it was constructed and abandoned during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty).

During the 5th Dynasty, the obelisk began to play an important role inside the temples of Ra; the obelisk being a sacred symbol of the cult of the sun. They were erected on a great base in an open court, and then as the suns rays fell on its pyramidal top, the bright light filled the Temple, giving the people a symbol of the power of the sun.

In the New Kingdom, especially at the time of the 18th and 19th Dynasties, the Kings used to erect obelisks in front of the different temples for religious and political reasons. It is now known that the main tool employed for carving the granite were small balls of Dolerite which is a mineral harder than granite, as seen at the open air museum/quarry at Aswan, Egypt today.

The discovery of this Unfinished obelisk and several others in their unfinished states allows us to see how they were made. The means of separating the stone from the bedrock was a common technique used around the ancient world, in which small cavities were made in the stone, which were then filled with wood, which was soaked in water causing it to expand.

Located in the west bank of the Nile. There are 62 tombs discovered, the last in 1922 for Tutankhamun, is the largest royal tomb in Egypt, considered one of the major tourist sites in Egypt.

Valley of the Kings became a burial place under the eighteenth dynasty when Thebes itself will be the capital of united Egypt, contains the tombs of many pharaohs of the New Kingdom, their wives, their children and even nobles. Near the temple of Hatshepsut Was found most of the mummies hidden in a hole.

It seems that the priests have moved here during the troubles of the third intermediate period. The oldest tomb discovered in Valley of the Kings is that of Thutmose I, all Egyptian kings will be buried in the valley, except Akhenaten and the last known grave is that of Ramses XI . Unfortunately, no tomb was intact.

The largest tomb in Valley of the Kings is that of Ramses II and for his children, which contains not less than 150 burial chambers. Because the grandeur of the valley we can be concluded that there are still many graves to be discovered The royal sarcophagi were granite or quartzite, usually rectangular, but sometimes in the form of a cartouche.

As no royal burial has been found intact with the exception of Tutankhamun, no general account of the ritual objects which were required can be given. The interior walls were covered with finely sculptures scenes of daily life, among them we find the funerary ceremonies depicted for the first time.

The funeral processions to the cemetery with the coffin on a sled, bearers of the furniture and accessories. A stela is often found to be found carved on or let into the walls, but the old idea of falsedoor was now almost a thing of the past. The rock-cut tombs vary very greatly in plan.

There is often a transverse chamber with a central corridor leading to other chambers at the back. A very great variety of toilet objects is found in all well-furnished graves, tools and weapons, pottery and food is often found

 

Memphis was more likely a fortress from which Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt became the capital of the Old Kingdom.

Early on controlled the land and water routes between Upper Egypt and the Delta. The city had many fine temples, palaces and gardens. But today, other than the scattered ruins, most of the city is gone, or lies beneath cultivated fields, Nile silt and local villages.

What we do know of Memphis comes to us from its necropolises, mentioned above, text and papyrus from other parts of Egypt and Herodotus, who visited the city. Also religious and administrative center because it was the residence of the kings.

In Memphis you will find ruins of the Temple of Ptah. Just outside of the temple no longer exists a giant statue of Ramses II. Not far away there is also an alabaster sphinx of eight meters, probably kept the southern entrance of the temple.

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She was successful in warfare early in her reign but generally is considered to be a pharaoh who inaugurated a long peaceful era. She re-established trading relationships lost during a foreign occupation and brought great wealth to Egypt.

Hatshepsut assumed the position of pharaoh and the length of her reign usually is given as twenty-two years, Following the tradition of many pharaohs, the masterpiece of Hatshepsut’s building projects was her mortuary temple.

Located on the West bank of the Nile near the temple of Karnak and Luxor. Also known as Deir el Bahri, designed by an architect named Senemout.

This funerary temple is unique in Egypt with a very modern design, and part of the temple is carved in stone of the mountain.

This temple is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the latter even has a chapel in the temple, and Hathor pylons are still prepared. The temple has three terraces, connected by ramps.

Inside you can admire the courtyard, the chapel and the sanctuary, lit by the sun. The reliefs of the temple depict the story of the divine birth of Hatshepsut and the Commercial land of Punt.

 

Explore Egypt and visit the most famous historical sights such as Hatshepsut temple on board luxury Nile cruise or book one of our incredible Egypt luxury tours.

 

From Djoser to Cheops, the pyramids gradually increase in size, that of Chephren, Cheops successor in only 1/10 the volume of that of Cheops. Chephren’s pyramid is but little small than Cheops’s, while those of Mycerinus of the IVth Dynasty, do not exceed in size that of Chephren. The smallness of the pyramid can be explained by a rift in the reigning family, but the case of Mycerinus can only be explained by some economic condition which rendered it impossible for those later kings to obtain the enormous amount of labour which was available for the earlier kings.

The fact that the records of the reign of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus are missing from the Palermo stone. The pyramids were Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. These pyramids were constructed to be the tombs for the pharaohs.

Their construction has lasted for generations and required the labor of tens of thousands of bricklayers. They were already considered ancient monuments when Herodotus visited Egypt. The first one for Cheops, The second for Chephren and the last one for Mikerinus.

Each pyramid was covered with plates of limestone, reflecting the sun, concealed in the eyes of the robbers entered the building. At the top, a golden capstone was shining brightly. All this has disappeared. As in the pyramids, the actual burial chambers become less complex.

Soon a single chamber fulfils all purposes. The approaches are somtimes passages sloping down from the north but we also find stairways, then a combination of stairs and shaft. The Great pyramid of Giza, its height by that ofb the Eiffel Tower and certain American skyscrapers

 

Egypt Name and Map

Egypt is officially known as the Arab Republic of Egypt and is located in north-eastern Africa and southwestern Asia. Cairo, the capital and largest city, is the most modern in the Middle East and Africa.

It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Israel and the Red Sea, on the south by Sudan, and on the west by Libya. The country has a maximum length from north to south of about 1086 km (about 675 m) and a maximum width, near the southern border, of about 1255 km (about 780 m). It has a total area of about 1,001,450 sq km (about 386,662 sq m). Less than one-tenth of the land area of Egypt is settled or under cultivation, this consists of the valley and delta of the Nile, a number of desert oases, and land along the Suez Canal.

More than 90 percent of the country consists of desert areas: In the west, the Libyan Desert, a part of the Sahara Desert which is also known as the Western Desert. The Libyan Desert includes a vast sandy expanse called the Great Sand Sea. Located here are several depressions with elevations below sea level, including the Qattara Depression, which has an area of about 18,000 sq km (about 7000 sq m) and reaches a depth of 133 m (436 ft) below sea level, the lowest point in Africa. Also found here are the oases of Siwa, Kharga, Baharia and Dakhla.

In the east the Arabian Desert, also called the Eastern Desert (which borders the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez). Much of the Arabian Desert occupies a plateau that rises gradually east from the Nile Valley to elevations of about 600 m (about 2000 ft) in the east and is broken along the Red Sea coast by jagged peaks as high as about 2100 m (about 7000 ft) above sea level.

In the extreme south, along the border with Sudan, is the Nubian Desert, an extensive region of dunes and sandy plains.

The Sinai Peninsula consists of sandy desert in the north and rugged mountains in the south, with summits looming more than about 2100 m (about 7000 ft) above the Red Sea. Mount Catherine (Jabal Katrìnah – 2637 m/8652 ft), the highest elevation in Egypt, is in the Sinai Peninsula, as is Mount Sinai (Jabal Mosa), where, according to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments.

The Nile enters Egypt from the Sudan and flows north for about 1545 km (about 960 m) to the Mediterranean Sea. For its entire length, from the southern border to Cairo, the Nile flows through a narrow valley lined by cliffs. Lake Nasser, the world’s largest man-made reservoir and formed by the Aswan high dam, extends south across the Sudan border. The lake is about 480 km (about 300 m) long and is about 16 km (10 m) across at its widest point. About two-thirds of the lake lies in Egypt.

South of a point near the town of Idfu, the Nile Valley is rarely more than 3 km (2 m) wide. From Idfu to Cairo, the valley is about 23 km (about 14 m) in width, with most of the arable portion on the western side. In the vicinity of Cairo the valley merges with the delta, a fan-shaped plain, the perimeter of which occupies about 250 km (about 155 m) of the Mediterranean coastline. Silt deposited by the Rosetta (Rashid), Damietta (Dumyat), and other distributaries has made the delta the most fertile region in the country. However, the Aswan High Dam has reduced the flow of the Nile, causing the salty waters of the Mediterranean to erode land along the coast near the Nile.

A series of four shallow, brackish lakes extends along the seaward extremity of the delta. Another larger lake, Birkat Qarun, is situated inland in the desert north of the town of Al Fayoum. Geographically and traditionally, the Nile Valley is divided into two regions, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, the former consisting of the delta area and the latter comprising the valley south of Cairo.

Although Egypt has about 2450 km (about 1520 m) of coastline, two-thirds of which are on the Red Sea, indentations suitable as harbours are confined to the delta. The Isthmus of Suez, which connects the Sinai Peninsula with the African mainland, is traversed from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez by the Suez Canal.

Weather in Egypt

The Egyptian summer is hot and dry in most of the country, and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo, and the city swelters in August! Winter is mild with some rain, but usually it is bright, sunny days with cold nights.
During the summertime, sun protection is the most important single consideration for an Egypt trip, especially for the fair-skinned. Wearing a sunhat is essential. Cheap, and pure cotton, sunhats are made locally and available everywhere. Travel clothing should be light and comfortable, 100% cotton clothing is the best and robust shoes are a must! The climate of Egypt is characterized by a hot season from May to October and a cool season from October to May. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northern winds.

-In the coastal region average annual temperatures range from a maximum of 37° C (99° F) to a minimum of 14° C (57° F). Wide variations of temperature occur in the deserts, ranging from a maximum of 46° C (114° F), during daylight hours, to a minimum of 6° C (42° F) after sunset. During the winter season desert temperatures often drop to 0° C (32° F).

The most humid area is along the Mediterranean coast, where the average annual rainfall is about 200mm. Precipitation decreases rapidly to the south; Cairo receives on average only about 29mm of rain each year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once in several years!

There are 5 days called Khamsin between March and April, when sandstorms can occur sporadically, blowing in different places according to the wind direction.

Winter (between October and May) weather is colder than most people anticipate, and cold winds blow over the desert at sunrise and sunset. Even when it is warm outside, it can be surprisingly cold inside the massive stone Temples. In winter, showers can fall everywhere, so bring a few items of light but warm clothing, so that you can cope with the cold early mornings and the occasional, and unseasonable, cold snap.

Bring one or two dressy outfits along for evenings out, especially for parties, and special occasions or just to get out of your tour clothes! If you are staying in a hotel or on a cruise boat, please be warned that luxury hotels and all the Nile Cruises have efficient, but surprisingly pricey laundry services. If you object to paying 12LE for laundry, you can wash out your T-shirts; just bring some detergent with you, as well as a few yards of clothing line.

Also bring a swimsuit, as most good hotels and cruise ships have nice, warm, swimming pools.
If you are heading out into the desert, you will get dry quickly, so make sure that you have a good stock of water with you. Egyptian mineral water is available everywhere at less than 3LE per bottle. Remember to cover your head  at all times

Population

The population of approximately 60 million people is concentrated along the Nile, on 3.6% of Egypt’s total area. 16 million people live in Cairo and its suburbs.

Economy

Egyptian economy depended mainly on agriculture. After the revolution the State focused its efforts on industrialization. In accordance with culture development. Egypt welcome Arab and foreign investors. Of the most important beneficiary sectors of this economic open door policy and investment stimulation is the tourism sector.

Religion

The official religion is Islam and the spirit of tolerance and amity prevails among the Egyptian people, Muslims and Christians.

 Language

The official language is Arabic. A considerable percentage of the Egyptians command foreign language, foremost among them are English and French.

Currency

Egyptian currency : Egypt circulates the pound as currency. one pound is equivalent to 100 piaster. A visitor is only allowed to carry 1000 Egyptian pounds on arrival or departure.

Foreign currency: A tourist is allowed to carry amount of foreign currency, whether bills, travelers cheques, money orders, bank transfers or credit cards.

Business hours

Government office are open daily 8.30 a.m. till 2.30 p.m. except on Fridays and public holidays. Private ones: are open daily from 9:a.m till 5 p.m. except on Fridays and public holidays.

Banking

Banks open daily from 9.00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. Weekend is Friday and Saturday. Bank branches, in deluxe hotels and Cairo airport are open 24 hours. Foreign currency exchange offices are available in Egypt.

Shopping

Egypt is known for its world class handicrafts, carpets, leather ware and jewelers. Khan El Khalili bazaar is the most famous shopping center where tourists can pick gifts of Egyptian perfumes, herbs spices and carved wood.

Visa / Passport

Most tourists and visitors to Egypt can obtain an entry visa at any of the major airports or ports of entry. All foreigners arriving in Egypt should have a valid passport (with at least 6 months left, before expiry) to get an entry visa.

The visa can also be obtained from Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad, or from the visa department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA) building at Mogamma.

How to obtain your visa at the airport?

The visa is simply a stamp (like a mail or postage stamp) that you buy from the visa office, which you arrive at, just before the immigration booth; you can’t miss it! The visa will cost you around $15 and after buying it; you just stick in any empty page on your passport. Don’t worry; it’s so easy! Once you have bought your visa you then stand in line to get your passport stamped by the immigration officer.

 USEFUL TIP:

While you are buying your visa, use the opportunity to exchange your currency, but please note, only $US, £UK or Euros can be accepted.

Visitors entering Egypt at the overland border post at Taba, to visit the Gulf of Aqaba coast and St. Catherine’s, can be exempt from requiring a  visa and be granted a free residence permit, valid for fourteen days, to visit the area.

Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions   abroad

Foreign embassy  contacts and  addresses in Egypt

Citizens of the following countries should have a pre-arrival visa:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Lebanon, Macao, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, The Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri-Lanka, Tadzhikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and All African countries except south Africa.

Transportation

RAILWAY: Cairo is connected with other Egyptian cities by a network railway s. most trains are air conditioned and provide food services and Wagons-Lits between Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan

LIMOUSINE: limo services are available for transfers and pick up from the airports to the hotels and V.V.

Cloths

During summer you need light clothes. In winter, a coat or jacket will be needed in the evening. Comfortable shoes are a must. In the city centers, in mosques and churches clothes that are more conservative should be worn.

 

Many festivals were celebrated in Thebes. The Temple of Luxor was the center of the most important one, the festival of Opet. Built largely by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, it appears that the temple’s purpose was for a suitable setting for the rituals of the festival.

The festival itself was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine office. During the 18th Dynasty, the festival lasted eleven days but had grown to twenty-seven days by the reign of Ramesses III in the 20th Dynasty.

At that time the festival included the distribution of over 11,000 loaves of bread, 85 cakes and 385 jars of beer. The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the temple of Luxor.

By the late 18th Dynasty the journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River. Each god or goddess was carried in a separate barge that was towed by smaller boats.

Large crowds consisting of soldiers, dancers, musicians and high ranking officials accompanied the barge by walking along the banks of the river.

During the festival, the people were allowed to ask favours of the statues of the kings or to the images of the gods that were on the barges. Once at the temple of luxor, the king and his priests entered the back chambers. There, the king and his ka (the divine essence of each king, created at his birth) were merged, the king being transformed into a divine being.

The crowd outside, anxiously awaiting the transformed king, would cheer wildly at his re-emergence. This solidified the ritual and made the king a god.

The festival was the backbone of the pharaoh’s government. In this way could a usurper or one not of the same bloodline become ruler over Egypt.

The complex is an open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. Also, It is the second most visited historical site after Giza Pyramids.

It consists of four main parts of which only the largest is currently open to the general public. Situated a 2 or 3 Km from Luxor temple, the ancient capital of Thebes.

Karnak temple is divided in 3 main parts. The temple was dedicated to the Theben triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu as each Pharaoh wanted to enlarge and embellish it.

The biggest part of the temple is the most conserved because of a large work of restoration. This part is dedicated to God Amun. Karnak temple was constructed by several pharaohs.

The smallest part is dedicated to God Khonsu and the last part dedicated to the goddess Mut. The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isut, It is a complex of temples built over 2000 years makes the temple one of the most beautiful complex buildings of antiquity.

For two thousand years was a vast Karnak. Karnak is famous with its Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The temple of Karnak over 4,000 years contains several small temples, at the time of its splendour was only reserved for the clergy.

The layman was not allowed to enter, he saw only the high brick walls surrounding the colossal. There is an alley consist of twenty-headed sphinxes with a representation of Ramses II between the paws of the Sphinx.

This alley called Dromo connected Karnak temple with Luxor Temple. The sacred lake of the temple of Karnak was in the time of Amenhotep III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty as priests were ritual ablutions four times a day.