As you venture farther into the complex, things get older and crescendo in religious importance. A few still mark their original Egyptian temples, but more decorate the great squares of Europe — taken there through the ages by European conquerors. These were the glory days of the pharaohs. Good. Craftsmen inscribe marble tombstones with verses from the Holy Quran: "The peaceful soul, after a blessed life, will finally rest in heaven." Rick: Anything to make the god happy. As long as things were going reasonably well, the gods were happy — and it was status quo. This urban commotion literally sits upon lots of history. It was Egypt's capital for almost a thousand years, until the Muslims came in the 7th century. It's an easy half-day side trip over one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. This massive granite sarcophagus was slid down the ramp. The neighboring pyramids are likely those of Cheops' son and grandson. Tragically, about 2,000 years ago, that amazing repository of knowledge was burned and destroyed. The towering front wall proclaims the power and greatness of the pharaohs. Smaller text Larger text. Cairo sprawls. Casual family scenes? Home / Blog ; Posted on April 14, 2013 November 26, 2013 by Rick Steves. It was one of eight nesting boxes and coffins that protected the pharaoh's body. So, these are beautiful paintings of the afterlife. According to my abacus, that's 200,000 man-years of hard labor. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Luxor's charming riverfront promenade welcomes strollers enjoying the cool of the early evening. Anywhere on the Nile, I love a felucca ride. Rick: And your kids go to international school? Exploring the Nile Valley from north to south, we see the highlights of Egypt. And most of them lead traditional lives on land made fertile by the river. This is the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut — the greatest woman pharaoh. Hatshepsut claimed to be the daughter of a god, but to prove her strength she had to declare herself "king." The hand stitched canvas sail artfully catches the breeze. Today, fertilizing and irrigating the soil is the work of engineers, rather than the gods. In his new hour-long special debuting this October, Rick Steves explores the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. strong>Rick: Bailhana' walshifa'! Filming on the Nile: Join Me in Egypt! Rick: Stuffed vine leaves… Luxor, straddling the Nile, was for many centuries the capital of ancient Egypt. While I generally avoid the touristy horse carriages in Europe, here, they function as taxis, and feel more authentic. The riverbank is lined with characteristic boats ready to ferry sightseers to a world of ancient sights. How can I take your money? A short venture beyond the famous sights takes us into a timeless Egypt untouched by tourism. The Great Hypostyle Hall, with over 100 columns, is one of the grandest religious structures ever built. But — apart from this ancient Roman theater, which dates from the fourth century — very little survives. In Alexandria, we delve into a vibrant market and smoke a shisha. Rick: Ah good, yeah! Heba: It's easier. Luxor is a standard stop on the tourist's itinerary. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Travel with Rick on this video guide up the Nile River in Egypt and find out what to do on your next trip. Rick: Yeah. Alright. With a little effort, you'll find it can be easy to become part of the scene. What am I eating here? We're riding one farther upstream for a look at the most scenic stretch of the Nile. Somehow, bikers balance rustic racks of bread. Rick: Bailhana'… These days, Aswan is most famous for its massive dam. The riverfront throbs with energy — stately bridges busy with traffic, fancy riverside restaurants, and towering apartment complexes. Home / Blog; Posted on December 6, 2019 by Rick Steves. Download image, Rick at the pyramid complex at Giza, Egypt. The challenges of being a woman politician are nothing new. The many columns of this vast hall once supported a stone ceiling. Egypt's Luxor Museum, made possible and designed by the people who brought us the Louvre in Paris, is the finest museum in the country. A visit to Cairo's Egyptian Museum helps bring the country's many ancient sights to life. The Mediterranean region shares many delicious and similar dishes. In this hour-long special, Rick Steves explores the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. Alexandria is a thriving port town with a busy harbor. The Nile is still the lifeblood of the city, sprawling endlessly on both sides. With about 20 million people in greater Cairo, it's bursting at the seams and pulsing with energy. While Egypt is predominantly Muslim, today about 10 percent of the country is Christian. Climbing this passage, you marvel at the design and the audacity of the project. Cairo's downtown is modern and can feel European. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, sailing beyond Europe this time. While many modern Muslims would prefer a separation of mosque and state, others believe Egypt should be ruled in accordance with a strict interpretation of the Quran. In this hour-long special, Rick Steves explores the wonders of Egypt: cruising on the Nile; the cultural treasures of Cairo, Luxor, and Abu Simbel; and the back lanes of Alexandria. These tombs — buried deep in the folds of this valley — proved to be more secure than the intentionally high-profile pyramids. It's early morning, and these people are heading to work. While the temple may have been dedicated to the gods, it seems all the statues celebrate the great pharaoh, Ramses II. Tarek: So relaxing, comfortable. In Cairo, we greet the Sphinx and marvel at King Tut’s gold. I love to hop in one for a quick joyride. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, Rick climbs to the center of a pyramid, greets the Sphinx and marvels at King Tut's gold. While you can buy just about anything in these thriving and exotic streets, there's also a strong sense of community that naturally comes with such population density. After a timeless felucca cruise on the Nile, we finish at the temple ruins of Abu Simbel. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, Rick climbs to the center of … Queen Cleopatra ruled Egypt from here — when the city rivaled Rome as a cultural and intellectual capital of the Mediterranean world. These are reminders of a pent-up tension in Egyptian society. Long, secret corridors, originally blocked by sliding stones, lead to the tomb chamber deep in the center of each pyramid. Download image, Rick sampling nibbles in the market in Luxor, Egypt. Rick: If I smoke and smoke and smoke, will I get dizzy? The most famous tomb in the valley is of King Tutankhamun — a.k.a. Standing in the middle of the city, it's evocatively floodlit and welcomes visitors in the evening. With 20 million people, greater Cairo pulses with energy. Watch, Read, Listen; Travel Forum; Shop Online; Rick Steves' Europe. Rick: So how do you say — in France, you would say, "bon appétit" — They're eager and enterprising salesmen who artfully tie up to the surging riverboats to display, model, and haggle — selling their souvenirs the hard way. The Nile River flows like a green ribbon from south to north. RICK STEVES EGYPT: YESTERDAY & TODAY sails beyond Europe, exploring the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. The iconic sights of ancient Egypt — four or five thousand years old — are basically buildings and art for dead people. Rick: You can choose, Egyptian or English? Here, two lonely statues herald a long-gone temple. Our finale: Ramesses II's magnificent temple at Abu Simbel. While pharaohs hid their tombs deep in the mountains, they built their memorial temples in public splendor — in the open for all to see, so they'd be remembered and worshipped through the ages. Rick: And Heba, what do you wish for your daughters, to be successful and to be happy? Again and again, pyramids were looted and pharaohs were waking up in heaven with absolutely nothing. The magnificent ruins of Abu Simbel. Rick: That's very difficult. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, we climb to the center of a pyramid, greet the Sphinx, and marvel at King Tut’s gold. Rick: Lovely. Then we explore Alexandria's back lanes and visit the pharaohs' temples and hidden tombs at Luxor. In fact, it's said that many of the stones from the lighthouse were dredged out of the sea to help build it. And it's cheap and easy to simply hire one for a clip-clop joy ride around town. So, what is this one? In Luxor, we revel in the glories of the pharaohs — their temples and their hidden tombs. Tarek grew up as a member here, he met his wife here, and today their children enjoy this privileged environment almost daily. A short walk is filled with cultural serendipity. But the oldest pyramid is actually nearby at Saqqara, the tomb of the king or pharaoh named Zoser. A game changer for Egypt, it tamed the Nile providing electricity and controlling the flow of the once-erratic river. Tarek: Baba ghanoush. Its forest of columns represents papyrus plants — bulging stems and flowering capitals, each elaborately carved and once brightly painted. This structure — which marked his tomb — is a "step pyramid." Rather than the same, predictable idealized features, Akhenaten had his own voluptuous looks — from a strangely curvaceous body to big sensuous lips. Rick: Bailhana'…? After the museum, Cairo's characteristic old quarter is a colorful celebration of today's Egypt. We pass patient fishermen, grazing cattle, farmers at work, children play, villagers do their chores, and minarets call all to prayer as the sun sets. — “Rick Steves Egypt: Yesterday and Today” Join me for my new hour-long special, as we sail beyond Europe and explore the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. But we're heading north, down the Nile to Egypt's second city, which lies on the Mediterranean coast. Daughter: Sometimes on Friday or Thursday we watch on the TV, Netflix — we choose an English movie. Today I’m struggling with a decision: Do I go to Egypt this spring, or put it off? There's fresh bread, very fresh poultry, Olives straight from the desert, and something I noticed everywhere: friendly and inviting people. It's so peaceful, until the tranquility is broken by…pirates?! While most sightseers cross the river on a fleet of touristy shuttles, we're riding on the public ferry with the locals. Never feel sorry for — or obligated to — the merchant. It protected the mummy of the pharaoh. Then we explore Alexandria's back lanes and visit the pharaohs' temples and hidden tombs at Luxor. While Alexandria sits at the delta, where the Nile flows into the Mediterranean, we're heading south, skipping Cairo this time, about 500 miles upstream to Luxor. Dill makes it beautiful. The heart of Cairo is Tahrir Square. Workers dragged over 2 million huge stones up ramps, eventually constructing this 450-foot-high monument. Rick: OK. And then…? In his new hour-long special debuting this October, Rick Steves explores the historic and cultural wonders of Egypt. With ranks of imposing statues of the queen, it's easy to imagine public adulation for centuries after her death. Luxor's other great sight — another magnificent temple complex — is best enjoyed early in the morning — beating the heat and crowds. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, For the pharaoh, the most important treasure was his soul, which needed to be free for the ascent to the afterlife. Tarek: This is Egyptian, from the Mediterranean! That's because in 1922 this tomb was discovered with its treasures intact. This valley was all about protecting royal tombs. Hello! Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Beyond Europe / Egypt - Travel Books; Please sign in to post. Right-click on the download link to save the image. The core of the collection, art from the age of the pharaohs, dates from about 3000 to 1000 BC. I hope the future will be more relaxed, but for now, I splurge for the peace of mind. The sheer size of the complex with its forest of massive columns leading to huge squares is a testimony to Ramses' power to get things done. Watch, Read, Listen; Travel Forum. While a city of about half a million people today, Luxor feels like a tourist town with its riverfront hotels, shops, and the ancient temples gathered along the Nile. And we'll start with dessert. Reliefs show pharaohs wooing the gods with rituals and offerings. While there are a few independent travelers, Egypt favors group travel, and most follow their guides to waiting buses for their west-bank tour. As the sun gets low in the sky we enter the magic hour. Nelly: That's tahini; that's baba ghanoush. …eager to charm you into a little shopping. Download image, Rick in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city. Thank you. With Rick Steves. In Luxor, we … It's famed for its tombs and temples, which were mostly built between 1500 and 1000 BC. Whether you buy anything or not, you can enjoy their entertaining show afternoons on both the port and starboard sides. Everything at Karnak leads to a small chamber that marks the very heart of the temple complex: the Holy of Holies. It had a long ramp, intricately carved and painted, leading to the burial chamber. The hustlers can be intense and annoying — or fun, depending on your approach. After guiding ships from across the Mediterranean safely into port for 15 centuries, in about the year 1300, an earthquake hit, and it tumbled into the sea. Written and hosted by best-selling guidebook author Rick Steves, each half-hour show takes viewers to Europe's most interesting places, from great cities to off-the-beaten-path discoveries. I know about six words of Arabic — but it didn't stop the smiles. Wandering through the colorful market streets here in Cairo's Islamic quarter, you feel that it goes on forever. Cairo is intense. From sprawling Cairo we travel up the Nile to Luxor and then into the ancient Valley of the Kings. These guys are way too fast for me. In Cairo, we greet the Sphinx and marvel at King Tut’s gold. Younger daughter: Family movie! This "seated scribe" recalls the importance of the educated elite in the court of an often-illiterate king. Mark was their first pope and the first in an unbroken line of Coptic popes stretching back nearly 2,000 years. Rick: OK…there we go. In the teeming metropolis of Cairo, Rick climbs to the center of a pyramid, greets the Sphinx and marvels at King Tut's gold. Driving through half an hour of this, we finally reach the desert — and the sight that draws most tourists to Egypt: the Pyramids at Giza, one of the most recognizable scenes in all of tourism. And the coffins were elaborately painted with an inventory of things that, hopefully, would accompany the body, and with prayers — to be sure all went as planned. Rick: A lot of people in the United States, they'd say this would be a "hookah" or a "hubbly-bubbly." Marwa: It is a beautiful piece of the jewelry of Tutankhamun around the year 1300 BC made out gold, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and you can see the beautiful symbolism over here, where you can see the scarab, the sign of existence, as well as the sun disc. Imagine what it took to build all this: They had to design it, quarry the stones, ship 'em, stack 'em, smooth 'em, carve 'em, paint 'em — all for the glory and favor of the gods. Because they [Coptic Christians] worship in an orthodox style, stepping into a Coptic Mass is like going back in time. Determined to assert her authority, her propaganda even showed her dressed as a male ruler. In reliefs from the reign of Akhenaten we see Aten — the sun — shining down on everything. I am also seriously considering a trip to Egypt in 2020, and security is a big concern. While the workers head off, nearby the tourists arrive. Alexandria can feel spirited, young, and progressive. 8:00pm Rick Steves Egypt: Yesterday & Today 9:00pm Rick Steves Iran 10:00pm Rick Steves Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today 11:00pm The Nile: Rivers of Life 12:00am Amanpour and Company 2 FRIDAY 5:00am Suze Orman's Ultimate Retirement Guide 7:00am Country Music: The Rub Pt. Merchant: How are you? Egypt's heritage goes back twice as far as ancient Rome. Rick: [surprised cough] In Alexandria, we wander back lanes and stroll a Mediterranean promenade. Watch "Rick Steves Egypt" — premiering fall 2020 across the US on public television, or streaming (free!) Thanks to a heroic effort, in 1968, this ancient temple was cut into huge blocks and relocated to this spot — high and dry for at least another 3,000 years. In the fabled city of Alexandria, we venture through a market wonderland, smoke a shisha, and stroll a Mediterranean promenade. What country wouldn't want to claim this as their national cuisine? Smaller text Larger text. RICK STEVES EGYPT: YESTERDAY AND TODAY With the Nile now tamed, farming in Egypt is possible throughout the year. It became one of the great cities of antiquity, with a population of several hundred thousand. Can you give me please a tour of this beautiful Egyptian meal? It's a jam-packed city of over 20 million. And gated social clubs in a place like Egypt provide a refuge where the wealthy can live in a parallel world, protected from the gritty reality of the streets. I find that simply venturing a few blocks away from the tourist-friendly bazaar — suddenly, the tourists are gone, and I'm swallowed up in a completely local scene. Mmm! It's easy to relax here. Obelisks symbolically connected earth with the gods. Historically, tourism has been a leading sector in Egypt’s economy. I think you're on the right road. In this shop, a man spins delicate strands of flour that will become a favorite local pastry, kanafeh. The burial chamber walls are remarkably vivid for their age. I hope you've enjoyed our look at Egypt. Rick: Beautiful. Luxor's riverfront is busy with boats, big and small. Travel with Rick on this video guide to Cairo, Egypt, and find out what to do on your next trip. After a timeless felucca cruise on the Nile, we finish at the temple ruins of Abu Simbel. The cobra is wearing the crowns of upper and lower Egypt as well as the ankh, symbol of life. In the fabled city of Alexandria, Rick brings viewers into a wonderland of back lanes and introduces a traditional shisha (hookah) experience. They reveal the challenges Egyptian democracy faces today. If your leader is a god, you question nothing. Back outside, complementing the scene, is the mysterious [Great] Sphinx. The son of Akhenaten was Tutankhamun, perhaps the most famous pharaoh. It was built with Soviet technology and money back in the Cold War. When the gods are happy, the people have food — and you don't change things. What is the fish? Ethiopia: A Development Story - Venturing beyond Europe, and with local experts as his guides, Rick uses Ethiopia as a classroom for understanding global hunger and extreme poverty — and how to beat it. The GEM, as it’s already called, will open in the next year. Today, Alexandria's century-old European grandness is fading. Venturing there to learn and scout for a TV show won’t really help my business directly. You obey the rules. In this first of two half-hour shows on Iran, Rick dodges traffic in Tehran, enjoys the tranquility of a nearby village, and encounters both anti-American propaganda … The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | An ancient garrison town famed for its granite quarries, today it's embraced tourism, taking full advantage of its attractive riverfront. Imagine the lighthouse that stood at the mouth of the harbor. A little shaft was designed into the pyramid to provide an escape passage for the soul of the pharaoh. 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