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Calendar >  Travels With TR –Our Mid-East Adventure– Part 9

Travels With TR –Our Mid-East Adventure– Part 9

By   /  November 4, 2022  /  1 Comment

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Museum of Egyptian Antiquities – Salah El-Din Citadel – Mosque of Muhammad Ali & More

TR Robertson – Our final full day in Egypt, before a long flight home, was another jammed packed day with numerous stops as we explored more sites in Cairo. Our first stop was a quick drive several blocks from the hotel to the oldest museum in Cairo, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. This massive museum was built in 1901, designed by a French architect and built by an Italian construction company. The first museum was built in 1835 in a different location and was moved several times before finally arriving in the large building in Tahir Square in 1901. The facility currently holds 120,000 items, but many of the most significant antiquities are being moved to the new museum called the Grand Museum of Giza on the Giza Plateau. The old museum at one time held the largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world. The new museum will display 100,000 artifacts with 5,000 of those being items from King Tutankhamun’s Valley of the Kings Tomb, all placed in a 516,000 square foot airconditioned museum. Many of King Tuts artifacts have already been moved to the new museum. We were told many of the large sarcophagus from other pharaohs will remain in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities as well as many items put on display that are now in storage locations in the museum.

As we walked through the classically designed older museum the history it holds is overwhelming. We saw artifacts from pharaohs like Khufu, Menkaure, Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Ramesses, Amenemope and a collection of items found in King Tuts tomb, some of which remains at the old museum. We were able to see one of Tuts golden chairs, the large storage chest, one of Tut’s daggers, statues, jewelry, and the canopic jars holding Tuts lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach. The brain was thrown away during the mummification process and the heart placed back in the body. Two of the large gold and jewel inlaid burial masks have been moved to the new museum along with his golden chariot, 100 walking sticks and his golden throne and funerary bed. Tut was 19 years old when he died and had reigned for 10 years. There is still mystery surrounding how he died.

We spent around 2 1/2 hours in the museum before boarding the bus to drive to our luncheon location, Nile City, a large floating restaurant on the Nile River. Once again, the lunch was a typical Egyptian series of dishes including items like rice, chicken, hummus, and pita bread. We ate on the upper deck of the busy restaurant and as we left, I noticed there was a sign for a restaurant located on the lower deck, featuring a red Chile hanging above the lite up Chile’s sign.

Many in our group wanted to stop by a jewelry store to purchase gold or silver cartouches. A cartouche is an oval, found on ancient Egyptian walls, statues and tombs, that contain a royal name inside of the oval. Our guide directed the tour bus to Mamluk Jewelry Shop where many in our group had their names engraved in hieroglyphic on cartouche pendants for necklaces. The jewelry was delivered to our hotel later that evening. The shop had a number of Egyptian, specifically King Tut, reproductions throughout the shop.

From this location we drove to the Salah El-Din Citadel, an ancient medieval Islamic era fortification that has changed uses many times. The Citadel was built by Saladin in 1183 AD. It was the seat of government and residence of rulers for 700 years between the 13th and 19th century. Inside the walls of the Citadel there are also four mosques and four museums. Along with seeing the Citadel, we were at this location to visit the Al-Nasir Muhammed Mosque, built in 1318 for Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammed. This mosque is also known as the Alabaster Mosque. The walls of the mosque were built from limestone taken from the pyramids.

Back on the bus we made our way through the busy Cairo traffic, arriving back at the hotel to begin the task of packing our luggage to fly home tomorrow morning. We also met our group for a farewell dinner at the hotel. It would be an early morning wake-up for us, 2 AM wake-up call for a 3:15 departure to the CAI Cairo International Airport. The airport was a little over an hour away and was very busy early in the morning. It took a while to get boarding passes but going through security was not as difficult as expected. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7 AM, we took off around 7:15, for a 5 hr. 15 min. flight to London, a change of planes at Heathrow for a 11 hr. 10 min. flight to San Diego, where we would go through customs. I don’t sleep on planes, so my flight was at least 5 movies long for the London to San Diego portion of the trip. Several on our trip stayed on for a 3-day extension taking them to Luxor, Karnack, and the Valley of the Kings. Carolyn and I had been fortunate to travel to these locations in 2007. Walking in King Tuts tomb was an amazing experience.

Looking back on our trip, we saw some fantastic places that go back thousands of years and to think you are walking where peoples from these ancient civilizations once walked is a bit incomprehensible. For those that were looking for a religious experience, we certainly were in a portion of the world where many different religions began. This trip definitely clicked a number of places I have always wanted to see. We are not completely sure where our next trips will take us, but you can be sure we will see sights we have not seen before. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our travel experiences and thank you to those that made comments along the way. Keep looking for more Travels With TR articles.

Something to put on your calendars, beginning on January 16th through May 12 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, there will be a high-resolution digital projection experience of King Tutankhamun’s world called “Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience”, using walls, floors, and ceilings where you can walk through nine galleries that chart the life, death and times of King Tut. The National Geographic Society is helping produce the show. Check online or in your papers for more information. I know we are planning on attending.

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  • Published: 3 months ago on November 4, 2022
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  • Last Modified: November 4, 2022 @ 1:40 am
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  1. Loved your story, thank you for sharing your trip with us! Beautiful photos too!

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