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Middle East  Itinerary  23


Cairo - Pyramids & Sphinx

Abu Simbel


Kom Ombo





Valley of Queens - Nefertari

Valley of Kings - Tutankamun, Ramases IVand VI



Wadi Rum


Egypt  and Jordan



6000 BC Saqquara  starts, and is used until 300BC. -  

3500 BC First hieroglyphic texts - linked or independent of Mesopotamia. 

2670 BC Step Pyramid in Saqquara  P. Djoser   built by Imhotep - a commoner, first medical science.

2560 BC Great Pyramid of Giza & Sphinx built by P. Khufu 

1500-1069 BC Valley of Kings burials    

1473–1458 BC Mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri opposite Luxor 

1388-1351 BC  Amenhotep III - Luxor started. Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III opposite Luxor

1351-1334 BC Akenhaten source of Atenism (Montheist Sun worship). His wife, Nefertiti, was the power after he dies and during Tut's reign. 

1334 BC Tutankamun tomb in the Valley of the Kings and relics  in Cairo museum. He restores, or the priests re-establish the traditional polytheist religion.

1264 BC Abu Simbel, Luxor finished  built by Ramases II as well as numerous invasions to expand empire. 

1143–1136 BC Rameses VI tomb in Valley of Kings - has star diagonal wall decorations. Nefertari's tomb in the Valley of the Queens has the best wall decoration.

1069 BC end of New Kingdom - start of decline - sacking of the tombs in Valley of the Kings by the priests of Amun - change of god!  

331 BC Alexander the Great invades

323 BC Great Library of Alexandria, most of  Karnak - Temple of Amun,  Edfu - Temple of Horus , Philae built by the Ptolomy's - Greeks who invaded and were then assimilated by the culture.  Earth centric astronomy. 

196 BC Rosetta Stone written - found in Memphis Egypt , The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek.  Decree of Canopus, 238 BC, stele with an inscription in hieroglyphics, demotic and Greek, issued in honour of King Ptolemy III Euergetes and Queen Berenice, the decree introduces a new year with a fixed leap day every four years. Egyptian civilisation, Hellenistic Ptolemaic dynasty Lagide. Cairo, Egyptian Museum

30 BC Death of Cleopatra, Rome takes over


Various gods were said to hold the highest position in divine society, including the solar deity Ra, the mysterious god Amun, and the mother goddess Isis. Anchored in the idea of continuing a culture by preparing for the afterlife of rulers and key individuals with elaborate mausoleums.

Ra - god of gods. ​At the end of Egyptian civilization, Amun (or sometimes Amun-Ra) became a creator god alongside Ra

Isis - goddess of magic and secrets

Horus - falcon protector of pharohs

Osiris - god sent by Ra as pharaoh to rule over the first inhabitants of Egypt

Nephthys - funerary goddess who watches over the sarcophagi of the deceased Egyptians

Anubis - jackal-headed god of the dead. He is the one who greets the Egyptian dead after they die.

The Giza pyramid complex, also called the Giza necropolis, is the site on the Giza Plateau in Greater CairoEgypt that includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with their associated pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza. All were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, between 2600 and 2500 BC. The site also includes several cemeteries and the remains of a workers' village.


A sphinx  is a mythical creature with the head of a human, the body of a lion, and the wings of a falcon.

In Greek tradition, the sphinx has the head of a woman, the haunches of a lion, and the wings of a bird. She is mythicized as treacherous and merciless, and will kill and eat those who cannot answer her riddle.[1] This deadly version of a sphinx appears in the myth and drama of Oedipus.[2]

Unlike the Greek sphinx, which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man. In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version. Both were thought of as guardians and often flank the entrances to temples.[3]

Saqqara is an Egyptian village in Giza Governorate, that contains ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty, serving as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis.[1] Saqqara contains numerous pyramids, including thStep pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb, and a number of mastaba tombs. Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.3 by 0.9 mi).

Saqqara contains the oldest complete stone building complex known in history, the Pyramid of Djoser, built during the Third Dynasty. Another sixteen Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire Pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times.

Abu Simbel  Ramases 2  1200BC  -

Abu Simbel is a historic site comprising two massive rock-cut temples in the village of Abu Simbel  near the border with Sudan. It is situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km (140 mi) southwest of Aswan (about 300 km (190 mi) by road). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC, during the 19th Dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II. They serve as a lasting monument to the king Ramesses II. His wife Nefertari and children can be seen in smaller figures by his feet, considered to be of lesser importance and were not given the same position of scale. This commemorates his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic

The Philae temple complex   is an island-based temple complex in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam, downstream of the Aswan Dam and Lake NasserEgypt. 

The oldest temple to have undoubtedly stood on the island, as well as the first evidence of Isis-worship there, was a small kiosk built by Psamtik II of the 26th Dynasty.[19][20]: 76–77  This was followed by contributions from Amasis II (26th Dynasty) and Nectanebo I (30th Dynasty). Of these early buildings, only two elements built by Nectanebo I survive– a kiosk that was originally the vestibule of the old Isis temple, and a gateway which was later incorporated into the first pylon of the current temple.

More than two thirds of Philae's surviving structures were built in the Ptolemaic era, during which the island became a prominent site of pilgrimage not only for Egyptians and Nubians but for pilgrims from as far as AnatoliaCrete, and the Greek mainland. Some of these pilgrims marked their presence with inscriptions on the temple walls, including votive inscriptions known as proskynemata, as well as other types. Among these are inscriptions left by four Romans in 116 BC, which represent the oldest known Latin inscriptions in Egypt.

Along with the various contributions of Ptolemaic rulers, Philae also received additions from the Nubian king Arqamani, who contributed to the Temple of Arensnuphis and the mammisi, and his successor Adikhalamani, whose name has been found on a stela on the island. Not related to Claudius Ptolemy  c. 100 – c. 170 AD)[2],the principal earth centric  astronomer.  

Kom Ombo 

The building is unique because its 'double' design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods.[2] The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu.[2] Meanwhile, the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris ("Horus the Elder"), along "with Tasenetnofret (the Good Sister, a special form of Hathor or Tefnet/Tefnut[3]) and Panebtawy (Lord of the Two Lands)."[2] The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.


The temple of Esna, dedicated to the god Khnum, his consorts Menhit and Nebtu, their son, Heka, and the goddess Neith,[17] was remarkable for the beauty of its site and the magnificence of its architecture. It was built of red sandstone, and its portico consisted of six rows of four columns each, with lotus-leaf capitals, all of which however differ from each other.[18] The temple contains very late hieroglyphic inscription, dating from the reign of Decius (249–251 AD).[19]


The Temple of Edfu is an Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in EdfuUpper Egypt. The city was known in the Hellenistic period in Koinē Greek:  It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. The temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Hellenistic period in Egypt. In particular, the Temple's inscribed building texts "provide details [both] of its construction, and also preserve information about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation."[2] There are also "important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth."[3] They are translated by the Edfu-Project.


The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock-cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).[3][4]

The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis.[5] The wadi consists of two valleys: the East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and the West Valley (Valley of the Monkeys).[6][7]

With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances,[8] the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers).[9] It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, as well as a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary practices of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs.


Luxor is a modern city in Upper (southern) Egypt which includes the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open-air museum", as the ruins of the Egyptian temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the River Nile, lie the monuments, temples and tombs of the west bank Theban Necropolis, which includes the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Thousands of tourists from all around the world arrive annually to visit Luxor's monuments, contributing greatly to the economy of the modern city.

Karnak is the modern day name for the Temple of Amun located at Thebes. Construction began during the reign of Pharaoh Senusret I, but it was built over 2,000 years under the influence of different rulers. It was dedicated to Amun, the senior  god of sun and air, but it was also a place for ancient Egyptians to worship Osiris, Isis, and Ptah, making it one of the most sacred landmarks in the country.


The Ptolemaic Decrees were a series of decrees by synods of ancient Egyptian priests. They were issued in the Ptolemaic Kingdom, which controlled Egypt from 305 BC to 30 BC. In each decree, the benefactions of the reigning pharaoh, especially towards the priesthood, are recognised, and religious honours are decreed for him.[1] Multiple copies of the decrees, inscribed on stone steles, were erected in temple courtyards, as specified in the text of the decrees.[2]  The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek.  

Two decrees were issued under Ptolemy III Euergetes (the Decree of Alexandria and Decree of Canopus), another under Ptolemy IV Philopator (the Raphia Decree), and others under Ptolemy V Epiphanes (the Decree of Memphis and the two Philensis Decrees).

There exist three copies plus a fragment of the Decree of Canopus, two copies of the Memphis Decree (one imperfect), and two and a half copies of the text of the Rosetta Stone, including the copy on the Nubayrah Stele and a pyramid wall inscription with edits, or scene replacements, completed by subsequent scribes.


In Cairo, Egyptian Museum there is the Decree of Canopus, 238 BC, stele with an inscription in hieroglyphics, demotic and Greek, issued in honour of King Ptolemy III Euergetes and Queen Berenice, the decree introduces a new year with a fixed leap day every four years. 


7000 BC  Ain Ghazal statues, museum

500 BC Petra, Wadi Rum - Nabatean - Silk/Incense Road. 

400 BC Jerash - Roman 

200 BC Dead Sea scrolls

600 AD  Madaba Christian mosaic

1200 AD Shoubak Crusader castle


The ancient Roman city of Jerash, an archaeological masterpiece framed by the hills of Gilead outside of Amman. It was founded by the soldiers of Alexander the Great during the 4th century BC and later joined the Roman Decapolis. This prosperous city was organized along a grid of wide, colonnaded streets and its gems include a triumphal arch, stadium, monumental fountain,


Madaba, known as the City of Mosaics, St. George’s Church houses a world famous mosaic floor that is a large map of Palestine, including a detailed mosaic of Jerusalem as it was during the 6th century AD.


Shoubakis a 12th century Crusader castle, Montréal. Perched on a hilltop, it dominated the main route from Egypt to Syria, and was able to tax both traders and those on pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. The castle eventually fell to the troops of the sultan Saladin in 1189. 


Built 1000BC abandoned 400AD, by Nabateans -  Arabian nomads around since 4000 BC  with obvious Roman influence.  Before Alexander the Great. 

A caravan trade "Incense routes" crossroads NS down the Jordan valley to Aqaba, and EW from Persian Gulf to Gaza a port to Rome.  Does appear in Bible. "The Nabataean origin of the Arabic script is now almost universally accepted". 

The term 'Incense Routes' refers to a number of different directions traders took between southern Arabia on the Persian Gulf and the port of Gaza between the 7th/6th centuries BCE and the 2nd century CE. Trade along these routes seems to have become most lucrative c. 3rd century BCE by which time the Nabateans had control of the most important cities along the routes. The Incense Routes do not describe a single road or roads between Arabia and Gaza but a general direction merchants traveled between those two points. According to Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), the routes encompassed 1,200 miles (1,931 km) and took 65 days to travel one way with a stopover at a city, ideally, every night.

The Incense Trade Route was an ancient network of major land and sea trading routes linking the Mediterranean world with eastern and southern sources of incensespices and other luxury goods, stretching from Mediterranean ports across the Levant and Egypt through Northeastern Africa and Arabia to India and beyond. These routes collectively served as channels for the trading of goods such as Arabian frankincense and myrrh;[1] Indian spicesprecious stonespearlsebonysilk and fine textiles;[2] and from the Horn of Africa, rare woods, feathers, animal skins, Somali frankincense, gold, and slaves.[2][3] The incense land trade from South Arabia to the Mediterranean flourished between roughly the 7th century BC and the 2nd century AD.

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum gained fame as the place where Lawrence of Arabia first planned  the attack on Aqaba.

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