Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We all grow up learning about Ancient Egypt at school

but I don't think any of that education can ever prepare you for your first sight of the Pyramids.

There was one question that played on all our minds all week whether we were looking at the Pyramids, or the Sphinx, or the various spectacular temples, or the Valley of the Kings, or indeed the Aswan Dam, and that was the very obvious one of "How the fucking hell did they ever manage to do this?"

Now I have always wondered that about Stonehenge which is roughly speaking, give or take a century or two, the same age as the first pyramids. The Egyptian monuments however, make assembling Stonehenge look like playing with lego in comparison.

This is a photo of the outside of Kom Ombu temple - the art work is so well preserved, and in Egypt you see those engravings everywhere.

And as for how they got the materials to where they were building??? At Luxor Temple there is an Obelisk of Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BC). It is 97 feet (29.6m) high and weighs approximately 320 tons, made of sheer granite. The only place in Egypt where granite is obtainable is Aswan - over a hundred miles down river and the obelisk is just one piece of stone. 20 years ago an attempt was made locally to transport a piece of granite weighing just 20 tons by river from Aswan up to Luxor. The vessel sank before it had made it ten kilometres.

I was always taught the Egyptians used slaves to build the Pyramids, but this we learnt was untrue. In fact the workers were paid,and spent the months working on the pyramids when the river was flooded and they were unable to cultivate their own land. Historians have found and deciphered diaries of the workers who built the pyramids. One recorded how tired he was of his tedious diet. "Fish in the morning, fish at dinner, fish at night, fish again next day...." He should complain! I ate practically nothing but plain rice and bread whilst I was there!


JoeinVegas said...

Can we soon expect you to make a tour of the local schools, entertaining youngsters with a narated slide show of your trip?
(yes, I do like to come by and see it).
Getting to be a real world traveler. Congratulations.

Fire Byrd said...

Glad you had a great time, the food you ate sounds yummy...... NOT!

John said...

Where's the top gone off that pyramid? Have you brought it home as a souvenir?

J.J said...

I would love to do something like that Joe - but pity the poor kids I would be inflicting myself on!

Pixie - worse still if you could have seen the 5 star food everyone else was wolfing down!

John - customs did wonder about the weight of my luggage!