Nile River Scenes – Part Two – Feb. 2009


Nile Town
Nile city, possibly Naqada

We boarded the Giselle in Luxor for the beginning of our 7-night Nile cruise on Feb. 12 in the afternoon,  after visiting  the fabulous Temple of Karnak. This city was on the west bank as we sailed north to Dendera that afternoon. My guess is it is Naqada, the site of over 2000 pre-dynastic graves and two major historical archeological sites. Red Sea gold was found in those times not far to the east near the Red Sea. We disembarked just after sunrise and visited the Temple of Dendera.

Southern Egypt from Luxor to the Sudan border
Southern Egypt from Luxor to the Sudan border

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The above map came from the National Geographic Traveller Egypt, 2nd Ed. The huge Lake Nasser is the flooded product of the Aswan High Dam. Monuments like Abu Simbel and the Temple of Isis, due to their magnificence, were rescued from their original locations by slicing them up carefully into pieces and removing them to higher ground (Abu Simbel) or another island (Temple of Isis). Apologies for Dendera not being on the map. It is just north of Luxor.

Sailing toward Dendera on Feb. 12
Sailing toward Dendera on Feb. 12

I know this was featured on its own page. I put it in because it’s one of my all-time favorites.

Birds on the Nile
Birds on the Nile – 300mm zoom

Birds taken Feb. 13 from our boat on our way back from Dendera towards Luxor (Thebes). During the sail to Dendera and back to Luxor we were protected by two soldiers manning a machine gun mounted on the upper deck at the stern. The soldiers were with us only for the brief sail to and from Dendera as there were probably fewer boats on the river in this area.

Donkey
Donkey

A donkey finds dessicated sustenance in the dry grass.

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Birds flying south at sunset
Birds flying south at sunset Feb. 14
Looking at the West bank of the Upper Nile from our boat, the Giselle, on Feb. 14 some large birds flying South caught my lens.
Edfu Vendors
Edfu Vendor flings a garment to tourists on the Giselle. “Lady, just your size…”
Passing southbound through the lock at Esna  after visiting the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, vendors on shore and in boats sold garments to our passengers. They tossed up the item in a plastic bag. The customer examined it and either tossed back the item or payment in the bag. We learned that some of these vendors knew how to curse when one garment returned by a tourist with a poor aim ended up in the water.
Nile cruise boats at Kom Ombo dock
Nile cruise boats at Kom Ombo dock

On Feb. 15 we visited the Temple to Horus and Sobek (the Hawk and the Croc) at Kom Ombo. Two riverboats like ours are shown docking in this photo. We saw mummified crocodiles here and a fascinating ancient calendar. The Egyptian calendar had three seasons based on the cycle of the River Nile. After sunset we sailed for Aswan. In Aswan on Feb. 16 we visited a huge, ancient, granite obelisk left in the ground because it had cracked during the process of cutting it from the rock. We then visited Aswan High Dam, the Temple of Isis at “Philae,” went on a felucca sail around Elephantine Island – all of these with the tour. There was still time in the afternoon for Anita and me to visit the Nubian village of Koti on Elephantine Island. A really packed day.

View from the Temple of Isis
View from the Temple of Isis

On Feb. 17 we took a short flight from Aswan to the amazing temples to Rameses II and his favorite wife, the beautiful Nefertari, at Abu Simbel, not far from the Sudan. Read the fascinating story of how these two huge temples were cut up and moved to higher ground to avoid them being flooded when the Aswan High Dam was opened. More on a later post about that. We were rushed there because our flight was delayed and it’s a very busy schedule. After flying back to Aswan, we boarded the Giselle for the last time for the sail back to Luxor, from where we would fly back to Cairo for two more nights. Our trip began and ended with two nights in Cairo.

Nile cruise boat passes through the lock at Edfu
Nile cruise boat passes through the lock at Edfu

On Feb. 18 we followed this boat north through the locks at Esna, where we had met the vendors on the night of Feb. 14. Esna is the place where Set, the god, Osiris’ evil uncle, after killing and cutting up Osiris’ body into 14 pieces, threw his phallic member into the Nile. Osiris’ wife and sister, the formidable goddess, Isis, collected all of Osiris’ parts except this one, because it had been eaten by a fish. She then miraculously fashioned a phallus, attached it to Osiris and thereby conceived a son, Horus. Horus, like Moses, was protected in the reeds on a bank of the Nile and lived to avenge his father’s death and dismemberment by killing the evil Set. This is the Osiris Myth.

Horus is considered by many scholars to be the early mythical figure on whom much of the symbolism associated with Jesus of Nazareth is based. Isis was a hugely popular goddess for the later Romans. But all of that is another story.

Horus spears Set while Isis looks on.
Horus spears Set while Isis looks on.

OK, this is not a river scene. I snuck it in. In this scene captured with my SONY camcorder from the Temple of Horus, Horus spears his evil uncle Set. Note the defacement of the faces of Horus and his mom, Isis. This, we were told by our guide, was done by early converts to Christianity who considered these carvings to be pagan. Wikipedia tells the same story. Defacement is very common in many of the ancient temples.

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Author: mytiturk

Travelbug Minstrel: Strum for my supper, croon for my cuppa Search for a sign, write for my whine

3 thoughts on “Nile River Scenes – Part Two – Feb. 2009”

  1. Dear Sir, I am producation assistant from Radio Television Hong Kong, a government organization from Hong Kong. Our department, Education TV is going to prepare an educational TV program about The Nile River. We invited you to share your great photos for our production. We decide to embed your photos in to our program. We need your approval for this because of the copyright. Please contact me at hoyka@rthk.hk for further details.

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