Saturday, August 15, 2009

the citadel and beyond

I was lucky enough that the folks that Wahied's touring for the time that I'm here didn't mind me tagging along.

Sunday we went to the citadel and the Egyptian museum. the citadel is a huge fortress built on one of the highest points of the city. Inside the citadel is the mosque of Muhammad Ali. It is made all of alabaster and the domes are covered in silver. Upon reflection I don't know why the domes weren;t tarnished. Muhammad Ali is actually interred at the mosque. It has a very western feel, employing the same configuration of domes as the basilica in Rome. there are three pulpits called members, of different sizes. The tall one is beside the back dome, the second tallest is at the back of the dome, and the smallest is intended to be by the door. The tall ones help amplify the sheik's voice, and the small one has some one repeating what the sheik says so that those outside can hear. Now of course everyone has speakers.

Next came the egyptian museum. There Wahied's friend, also named Wahied, took me into the royal mummy room while Wahied started Marc and Nico's tour (the folks who Wahied is taking around these weeks). I have to say, for people that have been dead for 4000 years, they look pretty good!. Ramses II in particular. His hair is still there, he might have been loosing his hair during life, but not in death. Their finger nails were well manicured, and their ear lobes intact. The finery from king Tut's tomb takes up an incredible amount of space. His tomb is the only one that was found in its full splendour. From the amount that was found in his tomb, a fairly insignificant pharoh, one can imagine all that was in Ramses II's tomb. It was fantastic to see all of the treasure up close and personal after having seen pictures of it in National Geographic. Some of the neaterst things were: the camping bed that folded using hinges that are nearly identical to the design that is used today. The precise base relief carving on the sarcofoci that we still can not imitate with all of our powerful modern tools and technology. Finally something that I saw when I was wandering around by myself for a bit. There was a period of time, during the reigns of the two pharoh's previous to King Tut when the art style was noteably different. The notes marked it as more naturalistic. The body shapes were more pearlike and their skulls were elongated, their lips fuller. On the whole it looked more like the art work that yo usee from the rest of the continent of Africa.

Sunday also happened to be my birthday so Lisy and Wahied took me out to dinner. Afterwards we sat in the garden of the Villa that the restaurant was in and hade ice cream cake and sheesha. The evenings here are quite comfortable. It has not been too hot at all, and there is always a lovely breeze.

That is all that I have written so far. I'm woefully behind, as I have visited old coptic cairo, and climbed mount sinai since then.

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