Part 8: A Memorable Journey of a Lifetime – the ‘HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE’ 2019
After lunch, we visited the Pharaonic Village, which is one of the Islands on the River Nile. We also visited King Tutankhamun’s tomb. King Tutankhamun ruled Egypt as Pharaoh for nine years and died at the age of 18 in 1325 B.C. He was the youngest ruler, and although he ruled only for nine years, his rule was notable. In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, which was nearly intact.
We were taken on the motorized barges to the Pharaonic village. Visiting the beautiful Pharaonic Village is a historical experience that should not be missed in a lifetime. Hundreds of actresses and actors dressed in traditional attire enacted the life of ancient Egypt. They demonstrated cultivation, animal farming, papyrus making, sculpting etc. for 40 minutes. We also visited the houses belonging to men, both the rich and the poor, in the Pharaonic village. The Pharaonic village is surrounded with extensive papyrus plantation and represents the look of the ancient times. The plantation also acts as a natural sound barrier. The Pharaonic village covers an area of 32 acres where people dressed in clothes of ancient times perform daily tasks such as agriculture, industries, and religious affairs using replicas of tools and instruments of the ancient Egyptians. Dr Abdelsalam Ragab expanded the village to include ten special museums covering various subjects like mummification, medicine, ancient Egyptian boats, pyramid building, arts and beliefs, Coptic history, Islamic civilization, and the life of three former presidents of Egypt. Dr Abdelsalam made the Pharaonic village into an open book in Egyptian history and culture.
Our boat passed through the Nile river, and through the audio, the entire life of ancient Egypt was briefed. Various statues have been erected in the river Nile.
Roman God Nilus
The first statue is of the Roman God Nilus, who is considered the God of the River Nile in Egypt. Nilus is the son of Oceanus and Tethys. The statues of children surrounding him represent new life and fertility.
The plants growing in the water in the river Nile are Papyrus, which was used by ancient Egyptians to make paper. The modern name comes from the name of the flower. Papyrus was abundantly grown during the pharaonic age, especially in the market of Delta, but they gradually disappeared as the new method of manufacturing paper was brought to the country from China. Papyrus is the symbol of lower Egypt and the northern part of the country. The lotus flower is the symbol of upper Egypt and symbolizes the resurrection of ancient Egyptians as the flower opens when the sun rises and closes when the sunsets.
God Osiris is the God of resurrection and the Lord of eternity. He is a green-skinned deity and the first one with the mummy wrap. According to the ancient Egyptian religion, Osiris is the God of fertility, agriculture, resurrection, afterlife, and vegetation. He was the King of Egypt, and his brother Seth murdered him as he was jealous of his popularity. According to ancient Egyptian beliefs, his body was cut into 14 pieces and scattered throughout Egypt. His faithful wife, Isis, searched for his body parts throughout Egypt, retrieved them all and brought him back to life. Later, Isis gave birth to Horus, who took revenge for his father’s murder.
Goddess Isis was the wife of God Osiris. She was worshipped throughout Egypt as the Mother Goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. She played a vital role in the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. It is believed that she helped the dead enter the afterlife and was considered to be the divine mother of the Pharaoh.
Horus, the falcon God, is the most famous among other Gods. He is considered to be the God of the sky and also the protector of the ruler of Egypt. Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis. He fought with Seth, who murdered his father for the throne of Egypt. In the battle, Horus lost one of his eyes. After many years of conflict, Horus finally triumphed. His eye was restored later, and it became the symbol of protection for ancient Egyptians. One of the temples in Edfu, Upper Egypt, is dedicated to Horus.
God Amun is the Ancient Egyptian God of the sun and the air. He is considered to be the most important gods of Ancient Egypt and rose to prominence in Thebes. He became the King of the deities and was nationally worshipped. The largest ancient temple in the world was dedicated to God Amun.
Nilometer was the gauge used by the ancient Egyptians to measure the water level in the river Nile during the annual floods. When there is less water in the Nile, there is less crop, but if the water is too high, it leads to destruction. The Nilometer had been ordered in 715 AD by Usama Zayad, who was in charge of collecting the land tax in Egypt.
Thutmose III was of the greatest Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He ruled Egypt for almost 54 years from the age of 8 and until his death. During the first 22 years of his reign, he shared the rule with his stepmother Hatshepsut. As Pharaoh, he carried out 17 military campaigns in western Asia and extended the Egyptian empire.
Ramses II was one of the longest-reigning kings in ancient Egyptian history as he was the Pharaoh for 67 years. He was the third Pharaoh of the 19th dynasty in Egypt, in the fifth year of his reign, he fought the great battle against the Hittites from Northern Syria. Sixteen years later, Ramses decided to sign a peace treaty with the Hittites to end the conflict making it the first recorded peace treaty in world history.
The Abu Simbel Temples
The most famous Ramses monument is the great temple at Abu Simbel, which is situated in the village in the South of Aswan. This magnificent building, with its famous colossal statue of the King, was cut entirely in rock along with the nearby temple of his favourite queen Nefertari. The two temples moved to higher ground and saved when the Aswan high dam was built in 1960. The two temples were originally carved out of solid rock in the 13th century.
The Discovery of child Moses
Moses’ mother had put him in a basket and sent it floating along the River Nile to prevent him from being killed by Pharaoh’s soldiers. The child was discovered by one of the family members of the Pharaoh and brought up in the Royal Palace. Eventually, he became a prophet to lift the Hebrews out of bondage from Egypt.
God Bes is the ancient Egyptian deity worshipped as a protector of households, particularly of mothers, and childbirth. He is also regarded as the defender of good. Statues depict him holding either a rattlesnake, a sword or a knife. He is considered the patron of pregnant women and children.
As we moved along, Ancient Egypt came alive with actors enacting scenes of agriculture and industries.
In the Garden Pavilion, the scene of a nobleman and his wife enjoying the fresh air is shown. They play the game “Senet” which is still played in Egypt today.
This was the first step to prepare the land for cultivation. Once the field was ploughed, workers would break up the clumps of soil with hoes and sow the rows with seeds.
The Egyptians kept Pigeons for food and used them to also carry messages, especially for the army. The pigeon house is constructed from bricks, creating an artificial mountain topography. The droppings of the pigeons is used as fertilizer. The pigeon house is the national identity of Egyptians.
Shaduf is a hand-operated device to lift water invented in Ancient Egypt to irrigate the land. It consists of a horizontal pole-mounted like a seesaw with a bucket hung on the long pole and a heavy stone acting as a counterweight. To fill the bucket with water the operator pulls the rope which is attached to the pole allowing the heavy stone to raise the bucket.
When grains are tossed into the air, the husks would be blown away by the wind. The grain was then taken for storage in granaries. The ancient Egyptians kept records of all the grains which had been stored. This was important for taxation purposes as there was no money in Egypt during the Pharaonic time.
Honey was used as a sweetener by the ancient Egyptians as there was no sugarcane grown in Egypt in those days. Beehives were made in pottery tubes and in some parts of the country beehives are still made this way. Honey was a treat for Egyptians of all trades. They used honey for food, embalming dead bodies, and healing wounds. Egyptians considered honey bees as sacred.
River Nile is the main highway for communication during the Pharaonic time. Boats were made from bundles of papyrus reeds tied together with ropes. Such boats were used for short journeys and for fishing or hunting. The wood was imported from Lebanon. When the boat is put into the water, the wood expands, and the rope shrinks. Such boats are now seen in the museum.
There are many different kinds of fish in the Nile River, which are a source of good food. Ancient Egyptians were using various techniques for fishing, such as hand nets, drag-nets, baited hooks, and fish baskets.
Egyptians are also famous for mummifying their dead. Mummification is basically dehydration to preserve the body. The internal organs of the body were removed and preserved separately. The body was dried out by being covered with natural salt. The body was then cleaned, embalmed, and wrapped in several layers of linen bandages. Small amulets were also used between the bandages to protect the mummy from harm. The whole process of mummification took 70 days.
Mud bricks Making
The material used to make bricks was the Nile mud mixed with water and chopped-up straw. This mixture formed a thick paste, which was then poured in wooden moulds and kept in the sun to dry. As there is less heavy rain in Egypt, these mud bricks can last for centuries. The houses of ancient Egyptians, even the palaces of Pharaohs, were constructed with sun-dried mud bricks.
Glassmaking in Ancient Egypt
Glassmaking was introduced into Egypt after the military campaign during the reign of Thutmose III about 1450 BC. Glass material was brought from Syria. Glass was used to make jewellery such as beads and pendants.
The Potter in ancient Egypt
Pottery making is one of the oldest crafts in Egypt, dating back to about to 6000 BC. Potters use the pottery wheel to make clay pots. Once the work is completed, they smooth the surface of the pot and colour it. They also use a comb or spatula to decorate it.
We were also briefed about the Painting and Carving, Sculpture, Carpentery, Arsenal, Perfume, Winemaking, Papyrus paper making, and Linen spinning industries.
Tutankhamun – His Tomb and His Treasures
Later, we proceeded towards the Coptic Museum. We also visited the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun who died at the age of 19 and saw the Golden Sublimity of King Tutankhamun’s Coffins. Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. This is the only intact ancient Egyptian Royal tomb and one of the untouched graves by robbers. The walls of the burial chamber are painted with his voyage to the afterworld. The mummy of Tutankhamun’s innermost coffin is made of pure gold weighing 110 kgs. King Tutankhamun’s body is wrapped in linen, and a golden mask is placed on his face.
The following artefacts of King Tutankamun are displayed in the Coptic Museum:
- Bed of the King Tutankamun
- Throne when he ruled at the age of 9
- King Tutankhamun’s Chariot
- Chessboard ‘Senet’
- Canopic chest from the Tomb of Tutankhamun, 14th century BC
Our last part of the Holy land tour in Egypt was the Nile Cruise. After visiting the Coptic museum, we proceeded towards the Nile Crystal for cruise, dinner, and entertainment. Nile Crystal Cruise is one of the elegant restaurants on the Nile river with four banquet rooms. The capacity of the banquet room is 150 to 200 guests at a time. The Nile Crystal Cruise has two cruises namely “Nile Cruise Onyx ” and “Nile Cruise Topaz “.
As soon as we entered the Nile Cruise Onyx, the crew welcomed us, and the in house band performed both western and oriental music. A Belly dancer entertained the tourists with her spectacular dance. It is unforgettable to watch the colourful Tanoura spin and the Egyptian singers. The dinner was awesome, with dessert and cakes. After dinner, we proceeded towards the Hotel Swiss Inn Nile, Cairo, for overnight stay.
The next morning after breakfast, certificates were distributed to every pilgrim in our group. It was time to pack our bags and proceed towards the airport for departure.
We said goodbye to our tour guides Mido Gharbawy and Mina. The bus dropped us to the airport in Cairo. It was a memorable journey of a lifetime every Christian should experience.