Off for lunch by the Nile, crossing a bridge where tens of large Nile Cruise lay in mothballs waiting for the tourists to return. There was a cool breeze to dissipate the heat, swallows rested on the mooring ropes of boats, a colourful larger bird sitting in the palm tree watching me, the call to prayer drifted over the water, a serene moment of calm.
Then we stopped at the Luxor Temple which was built along the same lines as Karnak but had a mosque plonked in the middle of it? What is it with these religions that they have to desecrate someone else’s beliefs? We find churches built in Stone Circles, Mosques on Temples, Cathedrals in Mosques. Why can’t people just agree to disagree and respect other people’s faiths? Or lack of faith?
Next stop was the incredible Collossi Memnom statues staring out majestically from their giant thrones across the plains with the backdrop of the mountains behind them.
The Valley of the Kings was full of restraints – We were only allowed to visit three tombs plus Tut Ank Karman. But what tombs!! What splendour, what colours. I’ve seen a lot of photographs of Egyptian tombs but never have I seen such rich coloration – worthy of a king. These religious fanatics believed in the Gods and the afterlife with such devout faith that they waged wars to gain incense and precious materials in order to perform ever more lavish ceremonies. They designed tombs of the most elaborate nature with diagrams to help them make their passage to the future life. They built temples and showered the wealth of the nation, even to bankruptcy, in order to guarantee their safe passage to eternal life. Their bodies, after death, were carefully prepared and their sarcophaguses were gilded with gold. An army of artists and priests worked on the tombs. Armies of slaves built the temples. It is a shame they did not put as much energy into the secular aspects of life. Their faith was for nought. Their religions have passed into antiquity. Nobody believes in that any more.
What we have left are the spectacular tombs, most robbed by grave-robbers, with their colourful hieroglyphs. So that misplaced faith was not wasted. We weren’t allowed to take photos under pain of death so these are photos I took off the web to show you how great it was. The colours were spectacular.
Egypt a cauldron of contrasts, of past splendour, a recent indifference, violence and religion, creating a minestrone of experience.
More from Petra next – then Suez and Jerusalem.