Saturday, June 22, 2013

What I did on my holidays (By QM Twoflower) #5

From Kom Ombo we sailed up the Nile to the city of Aswan, again viewing the stark contrast of the river valley to the surrounding eastern and western deserts.

In Aswan we made several trips, the first being to the unfinished obelisk, which as it's name suggests is still in the ground. Obelisks are made of rose or grey granite and vary from ten to thirty six metres high, were cut out of the rock and barged down the Nile during its inundation.

All that work then you discover it's got a big split in it.
It was discontinued as a long split was found up the side of it and so was given up as a bad job when they discovered that they couldn't even make a smaller one either.
After that we went to see the Aswan Damns, There are two of them, one built by the British in 1912 and another by Pressident Nasser with the help of the Russians. Frankly the British dam looks beautiful and the Russian one look like a big concrete dam.

British Dam
It was of course the building of the dams which stopped the Nile inundation and made the river below the first cataract where the dams were built navigable all year round.

Top of the Aswan dam looking away from Lake Nasser
A moved temple, 36 were moved during the creation of the lake

Lake Nasser is very impressive though a source of tension for Egypt and its neighbours as water will probably be the next major focal point for military tensions.
We then visited the Island of Philae.

Philae is a temple on an island between the British and Russian dams, it's not on its original island having been moved by various archeological teams to its new position. Again it's of Greco Roman design incorporating the old Egyptian styles, it was later occupied as a Christian church.

Philae itself is technically not in Egypt but in the land of Nubia as Egypt proper ended in Aswan or Elephantine as the Greeks and Romans called it. However as Egypt controlled Nubia for much of its history, the temple building reflects their dominance.

Afterwards we visited the Papyrus museum in Aswan and were given examples as to how it was made as well as buying some for the home for display purposes, even getting a twin cartouche with our names in it.

After that we made our way back to the boat and lunch.

We'd noted this hill when we arrived, apparently it's the tomb hill of the local dignitaries of ancient Egypt. At night it's all lit up and looks like a pavlova.

The pictures on show don't really do justice to what we saw and learned. I'd recommend if you get the chance you do it yourself.
Our adventures continue next week.

1 annotations:

Dioclese said...

Did it myself a few years back. Took so many pictures, I almost ran out of film (pre digital days)!

Fascinating place isn't it?