Travel Letters

Sightseeing in Cairo

December 22, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Despite the heavy traffic and the early morning smoke and fog, my group’s day of sightseeing in Cairo included several memorable stops.  The Saladin Citadel.  The Muhammad Ali Mosque.  Virgin Mary Coptic Church.  The Ben Ezra Synagogue.  The Egyptian Museum.  Can you guess which one is my favorite?

<--break->The Citadel of Salah al-Din (Saladin) is imposing and dramatic as it overlooks the skyline of the city.  It was built by the Ayyubid ruler and conqueror in the Twelfth Century.  The Mosque of Muhammad Ali dominates the grounds of the citadel.   Built by Pasha Muhammad Ali in the Nineteenth Century, the enormous Ottoman-Turkish style mosque is reminiscent those in Istanbul and Edirne.

Aswan: "Rescuing Abu Simbel"

Aswan, Egypt

10 October 2009

Marhaba,

The recollections of the engineer Medhat Ibrahim are both informative and powerful. He describes the enormous project to save the ancient Nubian monuments from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. I have reprinted his article below.

My best moment at Abu Simbel came when, after strolling past several wall carvings and decoration, I turned the corner of the mountain, looked to my left, and was startled; "There it is!" "There they are!"

 

Luxor and The Nile

Luxor: Temples and Tombs

The guidebook gushes with the following descriptive terms for this 4000 year old city of ancient Thebes: "staggering ancient splendor, extraordinary, compelling, spectacular, massive, and strikingly graceful." * For once I agree 100%.

My first stop, and my favorite, is the Luxor Temple. The temple is filled with wall writings and pictorial carvings and enormous statues of the Pharaohs: Amenhotep III, Tutankhamen, Ramses II, Nectanebo. Even Alexander the Great and various Romans (Marc Anthony?) added their touch.

Cairo and Giza

Cairo: Madrassas and Mosques and Markets

Along the crowded boulevards and then down the side streets and alleyways lie uniquely Egyptian Arabic school buildings and medieval mosques.

In the Al-Hussein district, some of the mosques are almost a thousand years old and still welcome the faithful to prayer. Exterior walls are tan and black granite stripes with cupolas and balconies, columns and arched doorways and stained glass windows Interior ceilings and walls are decorated with multi-colored geometric granite designs or painted ornamentation of gold and blue and yellow.

I love wandering down the noisy narrow streets where traditional craftsman are pounding out copper and steel pottery and religious articles.

Bangkok Photo Walk

Bangkok

Thailand

December 15, 2019

Hello,

Why travel hundreds or thousands of miles away when many interesting things can be found in our own neighborhood?   Just have to look around. 

I was pleased to join the Bangkok Photographers group since we started our tour a short walk from my apartment.

I doubt whether "skyscrapers" is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Bangkok.

Nevertheless, we have our share.

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