All posts tagged Egypt

AHMED HASSANEIN PASHA (20th Century CE – 14th Century AH): DIPLOMAT AND LEGENDARY EXPLORER

WWII truck

By Islam El Shazly

If anyone deserves the title of “Legendary Explorer” in our modern times it has to be this man, Ahmed Hassanein Pasha. At the very least he would have to be on the top of a very short list.

In his lifetime he had been many things, a writer, diplomat, Chamberlain and the very reason he’s on this list, an explorer. Just like his predecessors from the golden age of exploration, he was a man of many talents, and these talents and insatiable curiosity to discover the unknown is what led him to leave civilisation behind and embark on a journey that would take him across the unforgiving Sahara, not once, but twice, and with none of the modern day comforts of SUV’s. Read more…

IBN JUBAYR (12th Century CE – 6th Century AH): THE FIRST TRAVEL WRITER

Alhambra Palace

By Islam Elshazly

A week ago–and 823 years in the past– the father of the travelogue genre set out on a two year trip that saw him and a friend travel thousands of miles from Granada and back again, this is a glimpse into that journey and the character of the man from whom countless travellers after him based their writings upon his own. There are thousands of travel blogs and modern travellers on the internet today, many of which – including myself – owe him a debt of gratitude, even if some of us have never heard of him before. Personally, I have done some travelling in the past, while the inclination to write about them never occurred to me at the time, the experience it left me with was — and still is — priceless. The genre of travel writing or the travelogue was born on board a ship in the year 1183 CE, Friday 25 February 1183 CE to be precise (30 Shawwal, 578 AH), at the hands of Ibn Jubayr, on his way on a trip that would take him two years around the same time as one of the most dangerous times in history, the build up to Third Crusade. Read more…

UNSEEN EGYPT: LANTERN SLIDES PLACES WEEK VIII

Deserts have always had a mesmerising, almost terrifying, effect on men. It’s vast, well-nigh endless, and very confusing. It is alien in its features, eerily quiet and when a sound ruptures the silence you would think it is screaming at you from all directions at once.

But they are also magnificently serene, and it is hard to beat a desert’s night sky for its glory.

Read more…

UNSEEN EGYPT: LANTERN SLIDES PLACES WEEK VII

Not all who visited Egypt, whether in ancient or relatively modern times, were impressed with the ancient architecture of the early Egyptians. Some, like Herodotus and Diodorus of Sicilia, didn’t think very highly of the pyramids builders, especially Kheops and Khefren, they thought they were tyrants and heretics. Others, like French writer Pierre Loti who visited Egypt in 1907, thought the sight of the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the surrounding desert, looked apocalyptic, awful, and surreal! Read more…

UNSEEN EGYPT: LANTERN SLIDES PLACES WEEK VI

A confession… Irregularity has become part of the publishing process on this blog, a trend that we’re working hard to reverse! We can blame it all we like on the events taking place in Egypt, and though they can deflate the most enthused of writers, they’re not completely to blame for the randomness of postings. Insha’Allah a noticeable change is on the horizon, so we would like to extend our gratitude for staying with us all this time.

In 1867 One of the greatest literary minds in American history along with a group of Americans toured Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Holy Land (Palestine). The writer is non other than Mark Twain, and the trip was aboard a retired Civil War ship called Quaker City, the trip lasted for five months and his humerus chronicles would eventually be published in 1869. Read more…

FROM HURGHADA TO MASA ALAM ON PEDAL POWER

By El-Qamar
Photography by El-Qamar and Michael Manoly

Back in March we had a couple of excellent guest posts about cycling trips from Hurghada to El Quseir (here and here), now here’s the latest instalment in the series: from Hurghada to Marsa Alam, a 284 km (176.5 mi) road trip on two wheels over two days. Enjoy. Read more…

CRAFT OF THE TWO HANDS

Few arts have been associated with being lady-like as embroidery, crocheting, and cross-stitch. It was considered a sign of refinement. And while there is no decisive evidence of crocheting before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century [source: Wikipedia], embroidery and cross-stitch have been around for a very long time. Embroidery has been dated as early as the 5th century BCE, and Cross-stitch is considered the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world.

In Egypt, as in the rest of the world, these crafts have been traditionally passed down through generations, unfortunately, at some point this tradition almost all but died out, the faster the pace of life become, the less patience younger generations had for learning such delicate arts. Which brings us to the bright point of this post: Coralique, a grandmother/granddaughter team that is reviving this lost art in Egypt. Read more…

UNSEEN EGYPT: LANTERN SLIDES PLACES WEEK V

Long before the relocation of Philae, the temple would get flooded, especially in times of a high inundation levels. Travellers would sail through the temples in boats, which is very evident in their inscriptions high up on some of the columns. The temple and the island of Philae have been a source of wonder for millennia; Philae is mentioned by numerous ancient writers, including Strabo, Diodorus, Prolemy, Seneca, and Pliny the Elder.

They would not be the last of the travellers to marvel at its wonders. Read more…

ON THE ROAD TO EL QUSEIR II

By El-Qamar
Photography by El-Qamar

In November, my cycling mate and I once again cycled to El Quseir. The trip was quiet, the tail wind helped us once more and we arrived at our goal, again, within just about four hours riding. You can read about our first trip right here.

A shower and a bit of relaxation were in order; the camp a very simple one.

I can’t imagine how divers can endure staying here for prolonged periods of time; the facilities are actually rather basic. The accommodation is made up of simple reed huts covered with palm leafs, and the washrooms are shared, but they do have running water. There also seemed to be a power cut when we were there!. There are huts on the beach as well, and I imagine they must be very romantic for couples in love, spending the night in one of them going to sleep to to the sound of the see… as long as mosquitoes can be kept at bay! The location itself is impressive, and the view of the mountains, the desert and the sea are gorgeous. Read more…

ON THE ROAD TO EL QUSEIR I

By El-Qamar
Photography by El-Qamar

Cycling in Egypt has not really kicked in as a recreational activity, even with the rise in some professional cycling shops, it is still something in its infancy. Attempting in the wild and chaotic streets of Cairo and Giza is certainly a challenge best left to the boldest of the bold. But the further you get away from the centre it actually becomes better. Taking it to the next level and doing endurance and long distance cycling is certainly another story, and in on and by itself can be an exhilarating experience.

Recently I was lucky enough and got in touch with a Liechtensteinerin traveller, cyclist, and blogger, who spreads her time between Egypt and Liechtenstein, she will be sharing some of her earlier adventures in Egypt ever then next few guest posts, and hopefully some of her more recent ones when she gets the chance. You can find her bio and links to her German and English blogs right after the post.

Enjoy. Read more…