GENERAL DATA RE EGYPT - PAGE 1
Elsewhere on this total site, & available through this link, are a number of pages on the subject of Abu Simbel in Egypt. In this page & in any others that later follow, I will feature images & text about the rest of Egypt. A giant subject indeed! But here is a little index of where we are so far.
The Road to the Pyramids 1 (this page) Shepheard's Hotel 2, 3 Old Cairo 4 Camels 5 Philae 6
This first page, then, I shall entitle:
THE ROAD TO THE PYRAMIDS
Since time immemorial, travellers have headed west from the centre of Cairo, to visit the Giza plateau. A sobering thought it is to realise that future generations into a distant time unimaginable to any of us, will be making that very same journey with the very same objective - to see for themselves the great pyramids of Egypt.
The webmaster considers himself fortunate to have made that trip - a couple of times in fact. And while the city of Cairo has today spread from the Nile to the edge of the Giza plateau itself, he found great interest in seeing that very 'Road to the Pyramids' as it was captured by the camera of Bonfils in the 1880s.
And in the following image, clearly somewhere on that very same road, but I think rather closer to the pyramids. I do not show the full image, having cropped some quite faded areas from both the top & right side of the image. It was, I understand, the work of J. P. Sebah & is entitled & credited in the negative "438. Allee des Pyramides". It dates from the 1890s. The image, offered by this vendor, sold on e-Bay in late May, 2003.
Had you been in Cairo in 1835, access to the pyramids would not be as easy as it is today. We must not forget that the Nile would flood each year & that when it did so, the waters would reach very close to the pyramids, to a landing located right beside the Sphinx, in fact. Not convinced? Then read the following words, written in Dec. 1835, by John Lloyd Stephens, an American who travelled extensively in the Middle East. He used these words to describe his first visit to the pyramids. And view the image which follows, another superb Zangaki image taken, surely, very close indeed to the pyramids. The text is from "Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraea, and the Holy Land", published almost 170 year ago, but appearing here courtesy of the text provided by the University of Southern Colorado. However that site has been changed & I have not yet found the text that I wanted to show you in a new location. Hopefully it will be found there soon.
"My old friend from Alexandria had promised to go with me, and joining me at Old Cairo, we crossed over to Ghizeh. Almost from the gates of Cairo the pyramids are constantly in sight, and, after crossing the ferry, we at first rode directly towards them; but the waters were yet so high that we were obliged to diverge from the straight road. In about an hour we separated, my guide taking one route and my friend's another. With my eyes constantly fixed on the pyramids, I was not aware of our separation until I had gone too far to return, and my guide proved to be right. Standing alone. on an elevated mountainous range on the edge of the desert, without any object with which to compare them, the immense size of the pyramids did not strike me with full force. Arrived at the banks of a stream, twenty Arabs, more than half naked, and most of them blind of an eye, came running towards me, dashed through the stream, and pulling, hauling, and scuffling at each other, all laid hold of me to carry me over. All seemed bent upon having something to do with me, even if they carried me over piecemeal; but I selected two of the strongest, with little more than one eye between them, and keeping the rest off as well as I could, was borne over dryshod. Approaching, the three great pyramids and one small one are in view, towering higher and higher above the plain. I thought I was just upon them, and that I could almost touch them; yet I was more than a mile distant. The nearer I approached, the more their gigantic dimensions grew upon me, until, when I actually reached them, rode up to the first layer of stories, and saw how very small I was, and looked up their sloping sides to the lofty summits, they seemed to have grown to the size of mountains."
The road to the pyramids is today a major thoroughfare, 'Sharia el Ahram', a road choked with heavy traffic at most hours of the day. I well remember the time we travelled that road in the early evening, as daylight was beginning to fade. Massed humanity. Solid bumper to bumper traffic in both directions, but moving none the less as the traffic in Cairo, in our experience at least, always seemed to do. To our astonishment, right out into the traffic came a sole camel rider. And behind him were 20 or 30 camels in a group & then a continuous stream of camels for 300 or 400 yards. The traffic stopped of course. The caravan made its road crossing safely, each camel following the one in front of it. We only saw one rider, to control all of those camels in the heavy traffic & the gathering dusk. They were on their way, we believe, to the camel market in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba.
This page will then expand as I introduce additional data that interests me & may well interest you also. But a reminder as always. This page & the pages to which the above links take you, are designed for a 1024 x 768 screen setting.