Friday, August 29, 2014

iCruise Egypt - Vol. 06: Sanctuary Nile Adventurer Cruise, Floating Haven

 Sanctuary Nile Adventurer
An Intimate & Luxurious Haven

The Sanctuary M.S. Nile Adventurer provides the perfect setting for an enchanting cruise along the Nile. An intimate and luxurious haven, this elegant boat has only 32 cabins and offers three and four night cruises.  

The exquisite style of the boat takes its inspiration from thousands of years of both Pharaonic and modern Egyptian culture and heritage. Elegant yet cozy, sophisticated yet homey, the Sanctuary Nile Adventurer will cocoon you in warm splendor as you sail down the Nile on your mystical journey.

Why The Sanctuary Nile Adventurer ?
-  Chic and contemporary decor with a Pharaonic and modern Egyptian influence.
- Choice of three, four and ten night itineraries, led by best Egyptologists.
-  Award-winning chefs.
-  All cabins have a Nile view and are air-conditioned.
-  Recently renovated in 2009.
Video by
Official Website
Sanctuary Nile Adventurer

Thursday, August 28, 2014

News, Luxor: Celebrating Nefertari's tomb discovery to take place in Luxor 15 October

To See More Pictures For
Nefertai Queen
The civil aviation ministry and the tourism authority, in collaboration with Italian Embassy in Egypt, will organize a ceremony in commemoration of the discovery of Nefertari's tomb in Luxor 110 years ago. The celebration will take place between 15-25 October in the Valley of Queens, Luxor.

Several Italian archaeologists, trip organizers, media professionals representing Egypt and Italy will attend. Two photo exhibitions will be held at the  Luxor Exhibition and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Tourism Minister Hesham Zaazou said these events have an important impact on promoting cultural tourism in order to assure stability and security were restored in Egypt.

Nefertari's tomb is one of the most important discoveries in the Valley of the Queens. It was discovered in 1904.

Visitors were allowed access after some damages due to precipitation of salts at the hole leading to the tomb were fixed. Nefertari is one of the most famous Egyptian queens.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

News: Egypt Stops Sale of Priceless Royal Jewellery

On the left is Mohamed Ali, the founder of the dynasty 
and on the right is the last king of Egypt, Farouk
After 18 months of investigations, the Tourism and Antiquities Police (TAP) have succeeded in recovering 264 pieces of jewellery belonging to the former royal family of Egypt, which had been hidden inside a safety deposit box in Bank Misr in Cairo. 

The story of the recovery, said Major General Ahmed Abdel Zaher, Head of the Antiquities Investigations section, started when TAP received information alleging that a man was distributing photographs of a large collection of jewellery to Egyptian, Arab and foreign traders claiming that it had belonged to members of the former royal family of Egypt.

Major General Momtaz Fathi, assistant Minister of the Interior for TAP formed an investigation team who were able to collect the information required concerning the objects on sale and found that the jewellery had been deposited in Bank Misr in the 1970s in return for a loan.

Abdel Zaher said that a detective, disguised as a trader, managed to get copies of these photos to TAP, who then submitted them to the Ministry of Antiquities (MA) to verify their authenticity. MA assigned a committee which validated the authenticity of the jewellery, describing them as illustrious and unique.

It also confirmed that all the jewellery in the photographs belonged to members of family of Mohamed Ali, who was the self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. The dynasty that he established would rule Egypt and Sudan until the Egyptian revolution of 1952. 

TAP took legal procedures to check the bank accounts of the man and his late wife in all branches of Bank Misr.  This inspection revealed that it included 136 authentic pieces of royal jewellery.

Investigations also revealed that the man was about to sell these objects to a Qatari businessman for LE100 million. TAP confiscated the 136 pieces of jewellery and arrested the man who is now under investigation.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Al-Damati said that the objects included necklaces, brooches, earrings, rings, medallions and bracelets. Among the most valuable artefact is a brooch that contains the third largest diamond in the world, weighing 40 carats.

“It is a very important and distinguished collection of jewellery from the former royal family,”  Al-Damati said, adding that the collection could fill a museum on its own.

He explained that these objects will be put back in their original location at the Royal Jewellery museum in Alexandria, where they will be placed in a special display.

Mahmoud Abbas, head of Modern Time Antiquities Section said that the jewellery bears the name and the year of its production. This kind of jewellery was only made for female members of the royal family in Egypt

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cairo Historical Hotels (3): Mena House Palace & Hotel

Mena House Palace & Hotel  
Is one of the most unique hotels in Cairo, with its own rich and colorful history. It is located in the shadows of the Great Pyramid sof Giza in Cairo, surrounded by 40 acres of jasmine-scented gardens. You can gaze upon the magnificence of the pyramids from your rooms at sunrise and sunset.

The palatial Mena House Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1869. This truly 5 star property boasts extensive facilities and services, sumptuous furnishings and décor throughout, luxurious accommodation and a warm Egyptian welcome.

After a full day’s sightseeing and explorations guests can relax in and around the outdoor swimming pool with Poolside Bar, enjoy a workout in the Fitness Centre, a game of tennis or a round of golf on the nearby golf course with its stunning views of the Pyramids.
For dining, enjoy International and Egyptian cuisine in one of the hotel’s 5 food and beverage outlets, followed by cocktails and panoramic views of the Pyramids in the Sultan Lounge. For those with the energy, the Abu Nawas Night Club offer dancing, belly dancing and a range of continental, oriental or asian cuisine.

Monday, August 25, 2014

News, Cairo: British explorer Levison Wood finally in Egypt on his "Walking The Nile" expedition

Levison Wood in Cairo by Tom McShane, FRGS Operations
 Director Secret Compass Ltd
British explorer, writer, and photographer Levison Wood reached Tahrir Square Wednesday before continuing his Walking the Nile adventure as the first person to walk the entire length of the Nile River.

“It is not just about the walk. It is also about experiencing the countries I pass through, seeing the sites, meeting several people, and getting to know more about their daily life and culture,” Wood told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

Wood, 31, former captain in the Parachute Regiment, started his 6,000 km journey from the mountains of Rwanda and travelled through six countries where he experienced the different cultures, landscapes, swathes, wildlife, and the Sahara Desert.

“It has been my lifetime adventure. There are so many ways you can see a country and I feel I am very privileged to be able to walk through six different countries and meet people of different cultures on the way,” Wood told The Cairo Post.

Levison, driven by fascination of Africa, passed through Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and Sudan before crossing the borders into Egypt in July.

Since he began his hike in November 2013, he also encountered some safety issues while “passing through places like South Sudan with civil wars and tribal fighting along with bureaucracy, politics involved. But, finally, I am fine and happy to have made it to Cairo.”  Read More 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

News, Luxor: Foundation deposits found in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings

LONDON, ENGLAND—Four rare deposits of artifacts have been unearthed in the western valley area of the Valley of the Kings.

 “Previously discovered foundation deposits in the Valley of the Kings have always been associated with a nearby tomb,” wrote Afifi Ghonim, of the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities.

In a report cited by Live Science. According to Ghonim, who presented the discovery at the Current Research in Egyptology conference, foundation deposits are placed in front of a tomb or temple when construction begins, and usually include miniature versions of the tools used in the project, miniature offering vessels, and food offerings. These four offerings had been placed in a box shape, but there is usually a fifth placed on the axis of the tomb.

“We found the four deposits that make up the box, but not the fifth. Perhaps it too is there, awaiting discovery in front of the tomb,” Ghonim explained. Precise dates for the deposits could help explain what happened.  


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings | Official Trailer

Exodus: Gods and Kings 
Official Trailer

From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure "Exodus: Gods and Kings," the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

The film's writing credits are: Screen Story by Bill Collage & Adam Cooper, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian.

Friday, August 22, 2014

News: Temporary exhibition to fundraise construction of the Sharm El-Sheikh museum

A temporary archaeological exhibition at Sharm El-Sheikh’s Conference Hall is to be held soon in an attempt to fundraise the planned Sharm El-Sheikh museum

During his inspection tour to examine issues that put construction of a planned Sharm El-Sheikh museum on hold, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damati announced the creation of a temporary archaeological exhibition at Sharm El-Sheikh’s Conference Hall. He explained that the exhibition aims at providing a new tourist destination and to help fund the construction of the Sharm El-Sheikh museum.

El-Damati told Ahram Online that the exhibition is to be open soon and will include a collection of 300 artefacts that give its visitors a vision of the different facets of Egyptian civilisation. The objects on display will be carefully selected from all museums in Egypt, including those obtained from excavations sites in Sinai.

During his visit, El-Damati inspected construction works being carried out at the museum and reviews all the obstacles that stand against the resumption of the work. In fact, the construction work of the Sharm El-Sheikh museum was put on hold in the aftermath of the January 2011 revolution due to financial problems.

The first phase of the museum was completed in 2009 following three years of feasibility studies and construction work. This phase included construction of the museum building and associated administrative structures as well as 26 bazaars and a bookstore.  The second phase, which is to begin soon, was put on hold due to lack of funding after the January 2011 revolution. This phase includes the completion of the museum’s interior and exhibition facilities, along with the installation of the museum’s security system.

Mohamed El-Sheikha, head of the projects section, mentioned that according to the museum’s original plan, the different halls of the museum will exhibit some 7,000 artefacts dating from prehistoric times to the modern era, which have been carefully selected from museums all over Egypt.

Objects unearthed in Sharm El-Sheikh and others that have been retrieved from Israel will also be on display along with 11 authentic Coptic textiles offered by Nagla Riad, who inherited them from her aunt, artist Taheya Halim. The textiles are of different sizes and shapes and are decorated with images of animals, foliage and geometric shapes. 

The museum’s garden will serve as an open-air museum and entertainment area, featuring a cinema, theatre and 1000-seat conference hall. The museum will also feature a cafeteria and a bookstore specialising in history and antiquities.
Source: Ahram Online
  • More information about the city of Sharm El Sheikh CLICK HERE
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

News, Alexandria: Re-opening the Royal Jewellery Museum

In the elegant Alexandria district of Zizinya stands the Royal Jewellery Museum, its exquisite neoclassical architecture relating an important segment of Egypt’s history.

The museum is housed in a sumptuous building originally built as a summer palace for the family of Zeinab Fahmi, wife of a descendant of Mohamed Ali. On her death Fahmi left the palace to her daughter princess Fatemah Al-Zahraa, who added an east wing to it connected to the rest of the building by a corridor. Her maternal uncle, an Italian architect who also designed the Sidi Gaber train station in Alexandria, created the interior design of the palace.

Following the 1952 Revolution, the palace was expropriated by the government, though Al-Zahraa was allowed to live in it during her lifetime. In 1964, she left Alexandria and handed the palace to the government. When she died in 1983 the palace was used briefly as a presidential rest house, and then in 1986 toppled former president Hosni Mubarak issued a decree assigning it as a new museum for the former royal jewellery collection.

The building was reorganised such that it could become a fitting home for the jewellery of the Mohamed Ali family, Egypt’s former royal house.
In 1994 and then again in 2005 the museum was subjected to restoration as time had taken its toll on the building. The restoration work also upgraded its showcases and display areas. New lighting and ventilation systems were installed, along with a new security system connected to CCTV.

The building itself was given a face lift and the walls polished. In October 2010, the museum was reopened to the public. However, it was then closed in 2013 as a result of the disturbances taking place across the country in the aftermath of the 30 June Revolution.

Many of the jewels had been found by chance during a routine inventory at the Central Bank. They were found inside 45 wooden crates that had lain forgotten in the bank’s vaults following their arrival after the 1952 Revolution.
Sharaf said that among the new items were silver chandeliers, sets of Sèvres tableware, plates and rings.

The museum includes some 11,500 artifacts that were once the personal possessions and gifts belonging to the family and descendants of Mohamed Ali. Among them are magnificent pieces owned by Mohamed Ali himself and his son Said Pasha, as well as by members of the family up to King Fouad and his first wife princess Shuvekar.

King Farouk’s mother, Queen Nazli, and his wife, Queen Farida, also owned valuable pieces that are now in the museum, some of it designed and created by the French firm Boucheron.

The collection includes a luxury chess set owned by Mohamed Ali, a coffee set inlaid with silver and embellished with gold, a set of gold glassware decorated with 977 diamonds and a number of medals and decorations. Gold cosmetics boxes and other items engraved with the initials of queen Nazli are also among the jewels created by the French house of Van Cleef and Arpels.

Other notable pieces include a set of jewels owned by the sisters of King Farouk, princess Fawzia, first wife of Reza Pahlavi, the former shah of Iran, and Princess Fayza. There is an Indian-inspired set originally owned by Queen Nariman, the second wife of Farouk. Jewels belonging to Princess Samiha and PRincess Qadriya Hussein Kamel are also on show, as are medallions worn by Prince Youssef Kamal and Prince Mohamed Ali Tawfik.

The interior of the museum is also a work of art. The walls are decorated with portraits of members of the Mohamed Ali family, with brief descriptions of each of them. The ceilings of each room are painted by Egyptian, Italian and French artists and depict tales from Greek mythology, while those on the second floor depict details of famous French and Italian love stories. Even the bathrooms are works of art. These and the corridors leading to them are lined with pieces of white porcelain, while the walls are painted with swimming nymphs, images from the well-known Fables of La Fontaine and fairytales.

The highlight of the museum is the wonderful stained glass panels in the main hall of the first floor, in the stairwell and in the first-floor bathroom. Famous French artists of the time were commissioned to create these masterpieces, which recount more tales from European love stories.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cairo Islamic Attractions (8), Mosques & Minarets: Al-Muizz Street is regaining its Original Allure

After Al-Qahira, the “city victorious,” was built by military commander Gawhar Al-Seqeli in 969 CE on the orders of the Fatimid caliph Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah as Egypt’s new capital, it soon became a place of opulent palaces and the host of the prestigious mosque-university of Al-Azhar.

Of the many broad streets in the new city, Al-Muizz Street between Bab Al-Fotouh and Bab Zuweila was the most magnificent and the main thoroughfare of Fatimid Cairo. Through the centuries that followed Al-Muizz Street maintained its position and encouraged Mameluke, Circassian, Ayyubid and Ottoman rulers to enhance its character by building splendid mosques, sabils (water fountains), kuttabs (Qur’anic schools), houses and wekalas (trade complexes) along its length.

The street was lined with soaring monuments displaying many styles of Islamic architecture and embellished with fine mashrabiya (woodwork) façades and painted mosaic and decorative domes. Among these are the Sultan Qalawun Complex, which consists of a palace, a madrassa (school) and a hospital, the School of Ibn Barquq, the Beit Al-Qadi, the Sultan Al-Saleh Negmeddin dome, the sabil-kuttab of Khesru Pasha, and the Mohamed Ali Pasha sabil.

However, time took its toll on these edifices. Encroachment and misuse by residents caused harm, environmental pollution undermined foundations, and the 1992 earthquake left its mark on the historic zone. In 2000, the government launched a restoration campaign, the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project (HCRP), which aimed to protect and conserve historic Cairo with a view to developing it into an open-air museum. Al-Muizz Street took an important share of the LE850 million project.

The 133 Islamic monuments found along Al-Muizz Street and its neighbouring alleyways were restored to their original condition. Appropriate treatment of road surfaces and street furniture enhanced the full length of the street, and residential houses were given a make-over, bringing them into line with the street’s heritage character. A high-tech drainage system was installed as well as a lighting system.

In 2010, the street was declared a pedestrian zone where people were able to enjoy the magnificent Islamic monuments within their original environment and experience the living traditions and customs of those who lived during the various ages of the Islamic period.

Trading in the street was not allowed from midnight to 7am in order to facilitate the transport of goods into and out of the street.

However, after the 25 January Revolution, when a lack of security overwhelmed the country, Al-Muizz Street and its monumental edifices suffered from negligence, theft and encroachment. Decorative elements from the mosques were stolen, the gates that used to close off the street during the daytime for pedestrians were destroyed,  the street resounded with a cacophony of noise, as traffic, both motorised and horse or donkey-drawn, battled with vendors and pedestrians for right of way.

In response to this situation, last year the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) began a three-phase restoration project to return the street to its condition before the 25 January Revolution in collaboration with Cairo Governorate and the Ministry of Tourism. Garbage  was removed, information panels re-installed, damaged granite tiles replaced with new ones, and the encroachment on the monuments and the graffiti that had appeared on the walls removed.

“Finally, the security forces have taken over the street in order to return it to its previous condition,” Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, head of the project told Al-Ahram Weekly. He said that five gates had been installed to prevent vehicles from going into the street. Side gates had also been installed to block other entrances into it. 

Abdel-Aziz said that the original gates would soon be repaired along with the lighting system at a cost of LE2 million. Periodical inspections would be carried out in order to remove any new encroachments on the street or its monuments.

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim, a great supporter of the restoration work, told the Weekly that the ministry was making every effort to restore the neighbouring Gamaliya district with a view to developing it into an open-air museum of Islamic art and handicrafts.

Now that Al-Muizz Street has been returned to its previous condition, visitors can once again walk freely down it, admiring the splendour of its monuments and the skills of its craftsmen. Sixty-year-old singer Sayed Roushdi is also now once again sitting on his marble bench in front of the Textile Museum singing songs of the late singer Mohamed Roushdi while accompanying himself on the oriental guitar (oud).
 Source: Al-AhramWeekly