Monday, February 20, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: Pyramids and Museums

Visiting the Pyramids c. 1860-1935

Since the visit of Herodotus in the 4th century BC, the enduring monuments of Ancient Egypt have drawn tourists across the Mediterranean from Europe, most of all to the towering pyramids of Giza. This article has some great photos of 19th Century tourists at the Pyramids.

My own photos from my three trips aren't as whimsical. Well, except for the sleeping dog. While it's true you can't climb the outside of the Pyramids (actually, for the right bakeesh, you can), you can climb up to the chamber at the top through the Grand Gallery. It's a long haul, and that's why you see such big smiles on our faces on the bottom photo.

Ancient Egypt was one of the most feminist societies ever, here's how

Although the West tends to nod to ancient Greece when remembering its cultural heritage, there is at least one important cultural movement whose roots are firmly buried in ancient Egypt: Feminism.

Hidden Stories of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Tahrir Square, Cairo

For ancient history aficionados, no trip to Egypt is complete without a visit to the remarkable Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. A tour of the museum provides an indispensable glimpse into the lives and legacies of some of the world’s most fascinating historical figures, from a proud civilization with traditions lasting for millennia. At over 120,000 items in its collections, its wealth of artifacts is second to none. Even repeat visitors will find something new to admire and analyze on every return to the museum. Its collections, lovingly curated by dedicated staff, contain relics of one of the greatest civilizations in human history.

Some photos from our recent visit.

National Museum of Egyptian Civilization opens temporary exhibit, free admission

Under the name "Crafts and Industries through the Ages" the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) is set to open its first temporary exhibition Wednesday evening, showcasing the history of four crafts in Egypt: clay, jewellery, textiles and wood.

The Metternich Stela

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Isis and Thoth (far left and right) aid Horus on the famous Metternich Stela. The top half of this stela was skillfully carved in the hard dark stone. On the part below the central figure panel, rows of hieroglyphs record thirteen magic spells to protect against poisonous bites and wounds and to cure the illnesses caused by them. The stela was commissioned by the priest Esatum to be set up in the public part of a temple. A victim could recite or drink water that had been poured over the magic words and images on the stela. As a mythic precedent, the hieroglyphic inscription around the base describes the magic cure that was worked upon the infant Horus by Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing. Read more at this link from the Met.

Queen Nefertiti Greatest Mystery of Ancient Egypt History Documentary (video)

The most strange, fascinating, and mysterious thing about Nefertiti is after twelve years of marriage to Akhenaten there is nothing. No records, depictions, or stories about what happened to Nefertiti. We are only left with more speculation as to what happened to this notorious women. Some say she died while others consider the possibilities of her continued reign with the pharaoh.

Imhotep Presents a Simple and Familiar Take on Ancient Egypt

The 2016 boardgame Imhotep was nominated for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award, losing out to Codenames, which was itself a huge commercial success (and a fun party game), but unlike nearly every past winner of the award. Imhotep is at least more in line with previous winners and nominees, a straight-up boardgame with simple rules and mechanics, very little luck involved, and—perhaps unlike a lot of previous winners—a quick playing time, around 30-45 minutes depending on your number of players.

Imhotep’s Egyptian theme has players trying to place their cubes on four different monuments—the temple, the obelisk, the pyramid, and the burial grounds—each of which awards points in its own fashion. There’s also a fifth area, the market, that grants players cards that awards point bonuses or allows players to make two specific moves on a single turn.

Luxor's Stoppelaƫre House transformed into scientific centre for heritage

After 12 months of restoration, Stoppelaƫre House is to be opened with a view to developing it into a cultural and scientific centre for heritage.
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner will open the house Friday. The house is a fully restored masterpiece of 20th century architecture by Egypt's pioneer architect Hassan Fathy. The restoration was part of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative launched in 2008