28Nov

Tomb Raider

The-MummyHaving seen far too many movies from Hammer horrors to The Mummy, with Indiana Jones and Lara Croft in between, one could be forgiven for expecting to need at least a sword when visiting some of the ancient sites just outside of Cairo.

However I was more challenged by all the local hawkers at the sites I saw. Due to the lack of tourists the ratio is distinctly in their favour, and at all the tombs, pyramids and museums I was bobbing and weaving all day long to keep my wallet in my pocket and even just get a little bit of space to myself to take in some of the sights. I managed to do that successfully here leaving the score at Rob 2 Vendors 0.

WP_20131128_027First up was visiting the museum at Mit Rahina close to the ancient city of Memphis.

There was no sign of Elvis but plenty of artifacts relating to another king, Ramesses II. I am told that there are more than his fair share of artifact in part because he had a habit of cutting out the names of other pharaohs and installing his own instead!

WP_20131128_054Next I travelled to see the oldest of all the 140 pyramids discovered so far, which is stepped and more like those in central america than the stereotypical image one would have of an Egyptian one.

It is nearly five thousand years old, and after all that time you would think that they would have finished building it by now! However there is a chance I suppose that the wooden scaffolding may actually be for maintenance purposes.

WP_20131128_049I also get my first glance at hieroglyphics whilst in this large site. The first that I learn to decipher in one of the underground tombs is the cartouche that you see here.

The oval with a horizontal line at one end indicates that the text enclosed is a royal name, and in this instance denotes the Pharaoh Titi.

The scale of the enterprise to mark the the thousands of pictures on all the buildings and adjoining temples is staggering. I could only imagine how annoyed a stone mason might have been had they got through the whole of a limestone block to make a mistake at the end or worse still crack the whole block!

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