Tour Egypt Newsletter at July 1, 2003

Tour Egypt Newsletter at July 1st, 2003

We would like to thank our sponsors in the AETBI (our association of tour operators to Egypt) for making this newsletter, and Tour Egypt itself possible. A list of members may be found at aetbi/members.htm, and readers may request best rates for tours to Egypt at . Welcome to the new Newsletter of Tour Egypt. Well, its not really all that new; more of a restart, as many of our earlier readers will know. As an explanation, we stopped the newsletter last year when problems arose over people trying to hack the system. Then we had a system crash and, before I could really get things restored, I had a bout with lung cancer. Ouch, but it was apparently successfully removed and now the newsletter and I are back up and running. In order to avoid problems with hacking, we moved our newsletter database over to Yahoo, and I have rather enjoyed this change. I must admit that I like taking a look at those who have filled out the profile, allowing me to get to know a little about some of our readers.

New, at Tour Egypt

Recently, we have been making some additions to Tour Egypt, which we are prone to do from time to time. To me, one of the most interesting new sections we have is the reader photograph upload area at . This section has been very active, considering the short time that it has been online and it offers our readers some views of Cairo that may not be found elsewhere. Please feel free, if you have good photos of Egypt, to upload your pics for everyone to see.

In addition, we have also just installed a section that allows our readers to create web sites at no cost, and with no annoying pop-up adds and banners. These web sites should be limited to personal sites of our readers, or sites directly relevant to Egypt in some way. No commercial sites are allowed, and we hope readers will use this facility to create travel logs of their trips to Egypt, or interesting articles about various Egyptian topics.

This section of Tour Egypt is located at cgi-bin/easyhost.cgi? Also new, or at least about to be new as we have not placed it online as of the writing of this newsletter, is another rebirth, that of our Virtual Khan el-Khalili. Once upon a time, we had an online store but closed it due to problems with suppliers. Now, after several years and considerable investigation, we are reopening the Tour Egypt store with what we believe are some very unique items, along with many traditional Egyptian products. We have put a great deal of effort into making sure the products are of the highest quality, and that our suppliers or exceptionally reliable.

Look for the Khan el-Khalili at . We also wish to point out one of our oldest sections on Tour Egypt, which we believe is still one of the most important. That is our Conference and Chat area at . The reason we believe this section is so important is because it allows our readers to directly communicate with frequent visitors to Egypt, as well as ex-pats within Egypt and Egyptians themselves. It is a great way to find out about the goings on in Egypt; new and interesting sites to visit, and to make some friends in Egypt prior to your arrival. As a community, it is a great place to mix it up with other people with similar interests in this grand old land of Egypt. Some of Our Efforts This being the first newsletter in some time, we would like to point out some of the more interesting efforts we have made in bringing Egypt to your computer.

Over the last year, much effort has been made to update our antiquities section, and in this regard, we have provided several overviews, which in turn link to specific information. Specifically, we now have overviews of Temples (featurestories/temples.htm), Pyramids (featurestories/pyramids.htm), Historical Mosques (featurestories/mosques.htm), as well as Ancient Churches (featurestories/coptchurch.htm) and Christian Monasteries (featurestories/monasteries.htm). Several other minor topics have also been explored, including Egypts ancient military (magazine/military.htm) and we have expanded information considerably on the rulers of Egypt (kings.htm), as well as the ancient Egyptian gods (godsofegypt/).

We have also added a section that includes many documents and some entire books in our section on Documents and Text (literature.htm).

Particularly, over the previous year, we have added considerable information on most every pyramid, just about every major Christian monastery, and though we still have many more to investigate, a wide range of Islamic era monuments. Notable Stories from June: I would like to share with our readers some of my favorite stories on Tour Egypt during June.

Many of these were related to Egyptian religion in one way or another, and include:

Other stories covered a variety of fertile ground on Islamic and Christian monuments, as well as travel, the most important of which perhaps consist of: Travel



Incidentally, we have concentrated on the Muslim Monuments within Islamic Cairo, in order to expand our virtual tour of the section of the city (cairo/cairoislamic.htm) Finally, there is also the series on the Temple of Karnak that we are working on. This is meant to be somewhat of a guide to those visiting this famous monument in Luxor, and is a continuing work, thus far covering parts of the Temple of Amun in that complex. See karamun.htm

Travel News

This is really a grand time to visit Egypt. Despite information from the Ministry of Tourism, travel to Egypt, and particularly to the ancient pharaonic sites (as opposed to the beaches of the Red Sea and Sinai) has not made a full recovery after the Iraqi War. The results are twofold. First, visitors will not at this time experience the overcrowding at monuments found during normal times. Secondly, there are a number of good travel deals floating around, making it one of the least expensive periods to arrange a tour. Of course, one of the best ways to find these deals is to email our AETBI members with a tour request at .

Of course, the reason that travel continues to be slow is, for many people, safety concerns. Sometimes, when I talk about safety to Egypt, I feel like my words are falling on deaf ears.

Those who know Egypt dont have to be told, and those who do not know Egypt fail to understand just how safe it is. I have written any number of articles about safety in Egypt, but it comes down to several facts. First, there is very little crime in Egypt of the sort that effects tourists as it does in other parts of the world. Violent robberies are extremely rare and we know of only one, which resulted in minor injuries, within the past five years or so.

Also, the country of Egypt has taken extreme precautions against acts of terrorism, and there have been no problems with this sort of activity since new security efforts were effected in the mid 1990s.

Hence, since 1997, we know of not a single tourist death related to either crime or other forms of violence, actually making Egypt one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. At no time during the recent Iraq war did the USA State Department nor the British Foreign office advise that travel to Egypt was not safe.

For up to date travel advice refer to these web sites: for the USA and for Britain. So, this is an excellent time to visit, with fewer crowds and better pricing on everything from complete tours to fine, hotel accommodations, and everyone going out of their way to please the relatively limited number of antiquity tourists.

Antiquity News

The Exodus A Pair of Keynsham brothers believe they have finally solved the 3,000-year-old mystery of Moses' exact route from Egypt, after viewing chariot parts dating from Egypts New Kingdom in the Red Sea.

Oh my gosh! Chariot parts found in the Red Sea, and dating from about the period of the Israeli Exodus! Proof at last when no other evidence has ever surfaced of the Exodus. Well, OK, I am a Christian it is true, and would like nothing better than to find archaeological evidence of Moses and the Israelites Exodus from Egypt, but come on now.

In a recent article it was mentioned that some American Bible printers were considering the inclusion of this evidence. Unfortunately, most scholars believe that the Exodus took place during the 18th Dynasty or thereabout, and this happened to be a period when considerable activity was taking place between Egypt and Southern Syria.

In fact, we have a number of rulers taking huge armies into the area, and the find of some chariot parts could have just any number of explanations other than the Exodus.

The Nefertiti Affair

For the second time in a week, the 18th-dynasty queen, Nefertiti, has been making headlines, and has again been the subject of much discussion. After the incident in the Berlin Museum, in which the famous painted limestone bust of the queen was placed on top of a modern bronze female statue, Joanne Fletcher, a mummification expert from the University of York in England, announced that she and her team may have identified the actual mummy of the queen.

Egyptian authorities were furious over the mounting of Nefertitis famous bust onto a modern statue of a female body created by Hungarian artists in the Egyptian National Museum in Berlin. Basically, it would seem that they felt that it was a highly inappropriate methods of displaying the bust, but mention was also made of its vulnerability both to accidents and erosion.

Then, perhaps surprisingly considering the timing, it was announced that Nefertitis mummy has been identified. We use the word identified because the mummy was actually unearthed, together with others, from a cache in the Thebean necropolis by Victor Loret in 1898.

Of several unidentified mummies from that cache, one, known previously as "Younger Lady", is believed by Joanne Fletcher, to be none other than that of Nefertiti.

Apart from the similarity in physiognomy, and the swan-like neck of the mummy that bears a resemblance to Nefertiti's beautiful face as immortalised in the limestone bust in Berlin, Fletcher pointed to other clues to support her hypothesis:

a doubled- pierced ear lobe, which she claims was a rare fashion statement in Ancient Egypt; a shaven head; and the clear impression of the tight-fitting brow-band worn by royalty. "Think of the tight-fitting, tall blue crown worn by Nefertiti, something that would have required a shaven head to fit properly," said Fletcher.

Fletchers assertion, released on the Discovery Channel's Web site, placed considerable stress on these particular characteristics of the mummy -- the brow-band over the foreheads of Egyptian rulers, and a double-pierced ear of the mummy, which she stressed can also be seen on busts of the queen and one of her daughters. But for his part, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawass totally refutes the idea, and describes it as "pure fiction".

He accuses Fletcher of lacking in experience, as "a new PhD recipient", and told Al-Ahram Weekly that Fletcher's theory was not based on facts or solid evidence, "only on facial resemblance between the mummy and Nefertiti's bust, and on artistic representations of the Amarna period in which the queen lived.

Hawass asserted, moreover, that the physical resemblance is not significant, "because all the statues of the Amarna era have the same characteristics. Amarna art was idealistic and not realistic," he said, and pointed out that in the Egyptian Museum, there were five of six mummies with the same characteristics.

Mamdouh El-Damati, director of the Egyptian Museum, mentioned that this theory was not new, this being the second time that a claim to have discovered Nefertiti's mummy within this group of mummies has been made. Archeological Missions to Salvage Sunken Antiquities from Egyptian Shores There are many sunken antiquities and cities beneath the Egyptian coasts, which were lost hundreds of years ago.

The permanent committee approved work of several foreign archeological missions to salvage sunken artifacts and cities along Egyptian coasts.

The decision came within a plan to carry out an integrated project to register the archeological heritage sunken in Egyptian waters.

The mission had previously restored several sunken antiquities in 6 sites on the coasts of Safaga and Ras Mohammed reserve.

The mission had discovered the site of a sunken ship near the island of Saadana, 40km away from Hurghad , which dates back to the 17th century AD, where 30 rare large earthenware and copper vessels and porcelain tools were found. A New Corner Established at Greco-Roman Museum at Alexandria The Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria witnessed recently the inauguration of an important archeological section that dates back to the 4th century BC, which includes artifacts excavated in the governorate of Menya.

An ancient plaque representing Byzantine and Christian era, some of them in gypsum highlighting part of the Parable of Jonah with the leviathan as well as a statue of Osiris. New Necropolis Discovered in Al Qurna - Luxor Minister of culture declared that new archaeological discoveries were found in AL Qurna, on the west bank at Luxor.

These discoveries include a wooden sarcophagus in human form belonging to "GAHAUTY", head of the storehouses in Queen Hatshepsut's era. Another mummy was also unearthed in good condition for an unknown lady wrapped with linen.

This discovery was achieved within a process of "clean up" conducted by the joint archeological Spanish Egyptian mission functioning in the open courtyard of Gahouti's tomb.

Another tomb for HARI, the supervisor of warehouses of Queen Efahetp, mother of the great king Ahmos I, was unearthed under the rubble. He also stated that the mission found the base of the miniature pyramids that was placed on Hari's tomb, which is estimated to be 25 square meters and built of mud brick.

Moreover, pieces of linen texture containing a cartouche belonging to king Amenhotep II was also found. Gahouti's tomb is considered one of the most magnificent cemeteries for an official.

It also comprises several splendid sceneries of celebrations, sinning and the holy pilgrimage to the residence of God Osiris and some relief's of religious nature.

It is most likely that this cemetery was built in the times of Queen Hatshepsut and when Gahouty died in the era of king Tohutmous III. Furthermore the mission discovered some funerary sealing and eight mummified falcons.

This tomb is regarded as one of the most significant recently discovered cemeteries from a historic and artistic point of view. High Dam Museum Under Construction Minister of water resources and irrigation currently follows up the setup of High Dam and Aswan Dam museum, which reflects the stages of building the dam and the difficulties that it faced.

This would be shown through pictures and marquee's. The minister highlighted that the irrigation museum at the barrages is currently developed.

These developments come in the context of a comprehensive plan to establish a group of museums that portray the irrigation and drainage complexes and efforts carried by the Ministry of Irrigation.

More Secrets Revealed at Rock Carved Tombs of Sakkara An archaeological French team has found several rock carved tombs in Sakkara dating back to the Old Kingdom.

It is believed that the tombs had been made for senior officials. The burial complex is in the area known as Tabat Al Geish to the southwest of Sakkara.

The SCA said that the tomb has not been documented, and the first tomb that was discovered belonged to the priest Haw Nefer, who performed official duties at the funerary temple of king Pepi I of the VI Dynasty.

The priest, his wife and thirteen children are depicted in bas-relief carvings, of which the colors are as bright as on the day they were applied on the temple walls. Sharm El-Sheikh Museum Opens its Doors to Tourists in 18 Months The supreme council for antiquities has just finished studies and architectural drawings of the SSH museum.

The museum would not be a window for displaying Egyptian antiquities and its treasures only, but also an educational and cultural institution for Egyptians, Arabs and foreign tourists.

A committee chose the museum's selections to be identical and comparable to those exhibited at Cairo Museum Tahrir square, which will include mummies, relics related to the pyramids, and selected pieces of Tut Ankh Amun's collection. The museum will be opened at night besides designating it a center for displaying films, rare documentation, cultural events and artistic festivals. The opening of the museum will be in 18 months.

We hope that you have enjoyed this new inauguration of our newsletter. However, we look forward to your comments and suggestions, and we will listen closely to any ideas or suggestions you might have to make it better. Please email me at and let me know.