I have wanted to visit Egypt since elementary school, when my fifth grade class made a school presentation and I was in charge of narrating the section on ancient Egypt. I quickly became enamored with pyramids and hieroglyphics. It was also around this time that the King Tut exhibit came to Los Angeles, seeing my mom and I standing in a long line, eager to witness history.

It is also a country visited by my frequent traveling companion, Herodotus. He writes in Chapter 2 of his Histories, “Concerning Egypt itself I shall extend my remarks to a great length, because there is no country that possesses so many wonders, nor any that has such a number of works which defy description.” I’ll see what I can do on that front.

The twin temples of Abu Simbel were originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC.

Feluccas are sailboats that have been used on the Nile since antiquity, and taking a ride on one in Aswan is a serene experience.

Philae Temple was dismantled and reassembled on Agilika Island, about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island.

In all of his talk of Egypt and its pyramids, there is no mention of the Great Sphinx in Herodotus’ account.

The Islamic Cairo is one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities, with its famous mosques, madrasas, hammams and fountains.

The Pyramid of Djoser is located in the Saqqara necropolis, northwest of the city of Memphis about 12 miles from Cairo.

The Temple of Edfu is the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak and one of the best preserved.

The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Deir el-Bahari is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor.

Habu Temple is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, a New Kingdom period structure on the West Bank of Luxor.

Karnak comprises a vast mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, and was constructed over a thirteen hundred year period.

I came to Egypt just after my mother’s passing and left just as the Arab Spring was dawning. I still had my trusty Fuji camera and a fiancee, who would soon become my wife. As such, it is a country that left me with mixed feelings—grief, joy, anticipation, loss. It was the first trip I would not be able to share with my mother upon my return, and a country whose politics saw it changing even as I was leaving.

Back to Africa

Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.
— Muhammad

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