on 27 Feb 2020
Travelers have marvelled at Egypt’s archaeological wonders for centuries, ever since the Ancient Greeks visited the pyramids. In 430 BC, when Greek historian Herodotus visited the magnificent monuments in Egypt, many of them were already 2,500 years old. Most, from the pyramids of Giza to the astonishingly beautiful temples of Karnak or Philae, or the painted tombs in Valley of the Kings, can still be visited today. The sheer age of this great civilization is mind-blowing. And, beyond the Nile Valley and the lifeblood of the river, inland – nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands, oases and monastic complexes steeped in biblical history can be found.
The Pyramids at Giza Plateau: The pyramids are the earth's oldest tourist attraction and the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is the only remainder of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Throughout their history, they have fired human imagination, with much speculation as to their origin and purpose, but most evidence supports the theory that they were built by the ancient civilization as tombs or great monuments in which to bury their kings and nobles, a place to start their mystic journey to the afterlife. The oldest and largest pyramid, the Great Pyramid, is thought to have taken 20 years to build and is made of about two million blocks of limestone. No one knows how the two-ton blocks were moved into place, but it was known to be the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 40 centuries. The Sphinx, known as the Abu al-Hol (Father of Terror), stands in front of the Great Pyramid and is thought to be older than the pyramids themselves.
And the other two pyramids? Smaller but nonetheless just as fabulous are Chephren (Khafre) and Mycyrinus (Menkaure).
King Ramses II: Known as Ramses the Great, this powerful ruler was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. His successors and later Egyptians called him the ‘Great Ancestor’. Ramses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control, with the early part of his reign dedicated to building cities, temples and monuments. He was appointed prince regent by his father Seti I, and is believed to have taken the throne in his late teens, from where he ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC. On his death at 90 or 91, he was buried with pomp and ceremony in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Later moved to a royal cache where he and his sarcophagi were discovered in 1881, he is now on display in the Egyptian Museum. Perhaps the ancient Egyptians, notably the pharaonic rulers did achieve their desire to enter into the ‘afterlife’ aboard their solar boats. After all, millennia later, the world of today peers on in fascination at their exploits and looks into the annals of history at the very people responsible at the Egyptian Museum. Yes! Here, you can peer down at King Ramses II, and see the wizened old man-mummy responsible for many great ‘builds’ such as Abu Simbel. So well preserved, you’ll see the whorls on his fingertips, his facial contours, hair and bone structure – still.
What we’ve got to ponder is this. Will I be remembered in some sort of afterlife even 100 years from now? The answer is probably no. And, so you see – perhaps Ramses II did achieve his wish in some sort of way. He is revered as honorably as many of the hippers and shakers of today, but unlike Beckham, Bono, Bogart and Beethoven, his legend will carry on for probably at least another millennia…
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