All posts tagged Heritage

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 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…

UNSEEN EGYPT: LANTERN SLIDES PLACES WEEK I

Lots of reasons prevented any writing in the second half of 2013, mainly the state of affairs in Egypt after the bloody coup of June 30th of that year. Everyone had high hopes for Egypt to emerge trimuphant after the rosey days that followed the Jan25 revolution. But it seems that the people didn’t really understand what freedom is, what it means, and most of all, what it takes to keep it. They failed, and Egypt was lost. Hopefuly the next time the people rise up, they will have learned from their mistakes. Read more…

101 PLACES TO TAKE YOUR FAMILY IN EGYPT: 21–25

By Islam El Shazly and Susan Ryan,

You would be hard pressed to find a tourist in Egypt who hasn’t been to the Pyramids or to Sharm El-Sheikh, but finding the odd tourist who is willing to get off the beaten path and separate from the crowds to discover where the road would take them or what they will find, that’s a totally different matter. Read more…

WEDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES WEEK XVIII

By Islam El Shazly

This week we mark the finale of this series of Wednesday Nostalgia, hopefully we accomplished what we set out to do, which is reconnect the people in Egypt with their past and their heritage. Something that was lost to us for far too long, but now since the thick veil of 60 years of tyranny has been lifted, we are free to dig and find that which has been lost, and relish in the memory of our predecessors and build on it. Read more…

WEDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES WEEK XV

By Islam El Shazly

One of the main reasons for starting this series of Lantern Slides was—and still is—to educate myself and reader about Egyptian heritage, so us as Egyptians would not lose sight of what made up this country, and what can still make it again. So we don’t forget who we are and where we came from.

History was distorted tremendously after the 1952 Coup d’état in favour of the Free Officers Movement that led the coup. Charisma alone would not entrench them in power, they had to demonize the previous era in its entirety. Read more…

WEDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES WEEK XIII

By Islam El Shazly

There’s a long history behind the Suez Canal that goes back to Pharaonic times. Even millennia ago the same logistic nightmare existed: how to bring essential goods and trade from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea?

The only way to do it at the time was dig a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea. Boats laden with goods would come in from the Mediterranean or Red Sea, travel through the canal and the Nile and get out the other side. The ancient Egyptians maintained one for a long time, then it was re-dug by Amro ibn Al-‘Aas, only to be eventually reclaimed by the desert. Read more…

WEDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES WEEK X

By Islam El Shazly

Egypt is a land of contrasts, it is paradoxical and perplexing, and looking at the modern Egyptians, one has to wonder whether their – our, since I too am Egyptian – ancestors were like them! And if they were, how on earth did they manage to start and build a civilisation that would endure for close to 6,000 years?!

There are great differences between between the ones that came before and the ones who came after, but there are also great similarities, the most striking of similarities the simplicity of Egyptians, not simplicity in terms of higher brain functions, but rather simplicity of character. We are fairly uncomplicated. Read more…

WDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES – WEEK VIII

By Islam El Shazly

Egyptian builders over the ages were very ambitious; and their patrons were even more so. Only in recent years has the grandiose gone away and got replaced by mediocre concrete construction attempting to mimic some of the European and North American architecture, with few exceptions of real architectural marvels.

From the early builders Djoser and Imhotep to the Khedive Ismail, they all left monuments as a testament to their vision, some visions were more attainable than others, and some put the country in debt. However their monuments remain as a reminder of the  sheer willpower and imagination they had. And maybe a little bit of ego! Read more…

WDNESDAY NOSTALGIA: LANTERN SLIDES – WEEK VI

 

By Islam El Shazly

What started out as just a nostalgic post about the beauty of Egypt and the sights that are for the most part gone from our lives – some buried under the waters of Lake Nasser and some abroad! – has turned into musings about what could have been and what could be.

The fact is, these amazing, almost magical, stills of a time gone by awakened a sense of belonging Read more…