Thursday, November 06, 2008

And the East

I am going to have to try to rein in some of my enthusiasm for Egypt as I don't wish to be responsible for boring any passer by to death, but Tuesday meant the Temple of Luxor (Bizarrely in view of its enormous size also known as the Small Temple: It is all comparative of course.) and the Temple of Karnak. These temples had been lost during the passage of time under the drifting sand, and quite forgotten, though it does seem rather beyond the normal bounds of carelessness to mislay a temple containing 136 columns, like the ones in the picture, in just one chamber alone.

Homes and mosques were built on top of where the Temple of Luxor lay buried.

It took something like a hundred years to remove the sands back in the 19th Century, but what must it have been like for those who were uncovering these amazing structures?

The authorities at Luxor are currently working to restore the ancient sites to resemble how they must have looked at the time they were constructed. Unfortunately this does mean that people are forcibly relocated to homes elsewhere. There is evidence all over the area of demolished houses. It is still better than Cairo though where there are so many dilapidated buildings the place looks like a war zone. It is difficult to say this without sounding crass, but the poverty we saw out there couldn't fail to make one feel very uncomfortable as we passed it by either in our air conditioned coaches, or on our luxury cruiser. One morning we went to a Temple in a horsedrawn cart. I honestly did not think our poor horse was going to make it back to our boat without pegging it. I found myself obsessing about the condition of the horse as it struggled along, being constantly whipped by its callous owner up a hill in blazing heat, but then I caught a glimpse of a mother and child. Enough to say I had got my priorities wrong with my concern for the horse.

(Jane makes mental note to be more up beat in next post.)

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