Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Baron's Palace

The Baron's Palace

Fables, Legends and Controversies

by Heba Fatteen Bizzari
 Editor's Note : It seems that the Baron 's Palace in Greater Cairo , after the Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza, is subject to other fables , legends and rumors than any other monument in Egypt. I was amazed to hear a guide, which was very serious , the old palace was built on a type of turnstile turn the whole building and its windows were always sunny. Of course , it was urban legend in Cairo, but for many years, building in Heliopolis has ignited the imagination of the local people with all kinds of fables , legends and rumors.Today, the Hindu palace Barons remains countless rumors object. From time to time, new rumors about the monument was abandoned for many years . Its haunted by bats , stray dogs , and others believe in ghosts. And while the place attracts some architects for her wealth, it also seems to have attracted teenagers for their wild parties. They enter the place on weekends , drink beer and smoke hashish . In the late 1990s , the palace was said to be filled with tattooed , devil worshiping young people holding orgies, skinning the cat and write their names in the rat blood on the walls of the palace. Of course, as old houses go, we assume that it could or could not be haunted, but the palace now has two guards who are responsible for ensuring that nothing too special happens inside.

Does it look like Egypt?
The palace was the industrial manufacturer of Belgian origin , General Baron Edouard Louis Joseph Empain (1852-1929) The prodigal son of a school teacher in the village which has become one of the greatest entrepreneurs of colonialist of Europe in the 20th century. Empain had significant business interests in Indonesia and in time became a well-known amateur Egyptologist . He arrived in Egypt in January 1904 , with the intention of saving a project abroad his Belgian company , which was the construction of a railway line connecting Port Said Matariya . This project was in conflict with British interests and he ended up losing to the Britons . Beaten in the railway department, Empain lingered in Egypt , however, instead of cutting his losses and go home . Those who knew him said then that he had fallen madly in love with the desert. Others murmured that despite a long-standing affair in Belgium , which had been blessed with two illegitimate children , he succumbed to the charms of Boghdadli Yvette , one of the finest fashionable Cairo . He then had the idea to acquire land at low cost and use it to build a residential area linked to Cairo rapid transit . He established the Heliopolis Oasis Company the following year. 
Another view of the Palais des Barons in Heliopolis , Egypt
His efforts culminated in 1907 with the construction of the new city of Heliopolis in the desert ten kilometers from the center of Cairo . It was designed as a "city of luxury and leisure " , with broad avenues with monumental panoramic outlook , equipped with all facilities and infrastructure , including water , sewer , electricity, facilities the hotel such as the Palace Hotel and Heliopolis House and leisure facilities including a golf course , racetrack and park. In addition, there was housing for rent , offered in a range of innovative design types targeting specific social classes with detached and terraced villas , apartment buildings, apartment blocks with balcony access and workers' bungalows.

Strange works in stone at the Palais des Barons
The new city has also represented the first large-scale attempt to promote what later came to be called the " modern Arabic style", known in his time as the " Moorish " . However, his own extravagant house , which was built between 1907 and 1910 , dominates the city , he chose an architectural style that was very different.To his own house, he chose a prestigious location in Heliopolis , and ordered Alexander Marcel , a French architect and a member of the prestigious French Institute , build him a Hindu palace . Some say he was supposed to be more or less a copy of the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia he had seen during his travels in the country , while others say it is modeled on the great Hindu temples of Orissa.

More strange stone Baron Palace
Empain best Indonesian artists and sculptors for its construction. They built on an artificial elevation to allow the Baron to watch the sunrise Heliopolis. The palace was striking out under the responsibility of Marcel, who played an eclectic mix of busts, statues , elephants , snakes , Buddha, Krishna and chills . The sophisticated interior was the responsibility of his French partner, Georges- Louis Claude . This team was also responsible for the construction and decoration of the Oriental Pavilion attached to the Royal Palace of Laeken in Belgium.The palace was , of course, built in a very select area . Other noble neighbors , to his left , facing Avenue Baron was the Arabesque palace , which is now the military headquarters but was originally the home of Boghos Nubar Pasha and Mary. It was Pasha who helped Baron Empain in buying 6,000 acres of empty desert to a pound each on which he built Heliopolis. Diagonally opposite resist the former residence of Sultan Hussein Kamel , who ruled Egypt between 1914 and 1917. Today, it is a presidential guest house .Since visitors are not allowed to enter the palace , little is known about its interior today. It consists of two floors with two additional floors underground . The basement contains a mausoleum of the family, a kitchen and a room of the servant. There are two elevators and even a tunnel that connects to the nearby church built by Baron .

Close the door of the palace of Baron Heliopolis , Egypt
Of course , the Baron himself was the first to occupy the palace . He received all hosts marks Egypt including King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium during the pre-war I visit Egypt. Although the decrease in number, there are those who still remember when the landscape surrounding the Hindu palace was a paradise festooned with growing green terraces each with its own set of erotic statues in marble and exotic vegetation. As guests negotiated terraces on their way to the major steps leading into the great hall of the palace, they felt as if some mythical Deus watched from inside the palace. These lyrical pleasure Baron endless .Next to occupy the palace was his playboy son , Baron Jean Empain . He received his guests, either racing or Heliopolis his balls innumerable palaces where he cut a dashing figure with his multiple wives . It was an American cabaret dancer Rozell Rowland aka Goldie who finally nailed to the altar. The "prince" and the showgirl had met in a nightclub in Cairo where she performed all painted gold. The last of the family of Baron to occupy the palace were Janine and Huguette Empain who actually preferred the salons of the fashionable Heliopolis Sporting Club or the roof garden of the former Hotel Semiramis in sepulchral halls of the palace of their great grandfather. The palace was finally sold by its owners in 1957 for two families, and Alexem Reda, who were Saudi-born .

Corner detail from Baron's Palace
Today, the spark of the place is gone. It became an architectural masterpiece that produces incredible stories and rumors, but as these stories and rumors, has no inner beauty. Finished murals Fresco massive golden doors , balustrades , floors , door handles gold , and Belgian mirrors were torn from their sockets. Now he is best known for the bats that live there, and profane the floors with their droppings.The Egyptian government may want to turn the palace into a museum in the desert, or perhaps a large pantheon of Egypt. Unfortunately, they are not the owners of the building and those who are said to have asked for 50 million U.S. dollars prize. This is much more than the annual budget of the Supreme Council of Antiquity. The owners speak to transform the palace into a casino or even a medical center Euro style . Unfortunately for the owners, their options are limited. Act 117 prohibits the sale or purchase of buildings that are considered to be antiques. So for now , it seems , the Palace of the Baron is one of those landmarks that is yet to see the light of the restoration.No doubt incredible stories will continue to leave the palace and lost fortunes. None will be more amazing than that , however, the priceless architectural treasure abandoned and crumble at the sight of all the ministers, VIP, tourism and other passenger air as they motor up the road from the airport on their way in or out of Cairo.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tombs of Ankhtifi and Sobekhotep at El-Moalla

Tombs of Ankhtifi and Sobekhotep at El-Moalla

The province of El Moalla cemetery is located on the cliff of the Eastern Desert of the Bank of the Nile, about 32 km south of Luxor. The site seems desolate and windswept , but two important tombs of several belonging to provincial governors and officials of the Old Kingdom to the First Intermediate Period can be found here .

Tombs in El - Moalla

The tomb of Ankhtifi
A small shrine , first located by French archaeologists in the 1920s , is known to be the tomb of the provincial governor and warlord Ankhtifi , who held power in the region during the dynasty IX. As " Great Overlord of the nomes of Edfu and Hierakonpolis ", " supervisor priests " Ankhtifi was the governor , or " nomarch ' several neighborhoods between Edfu and Armant . Its decorated tomb shows many interesting and important painted scenes that give us insights into the complex political events in the First Intermediate Period obscure .

The tomb of Ankhtifi
One rock-cut tomb chapel is all that remains today the monument Ankhtifi . The entrance leads to a rectangular room that once contained many columns, but most of them are now gone. The irregular plaster walls are not well preserved, but the remaining painted decor is beautiful and much more flexible than the style of Old Kingdom more formal. Inside the door, a fishing and gun scene on the right wall is particularly interesting for its varieties of fish, including the deceased harpoon and reeling in , while his wife holds a bird by the beak . Ankhtifi also supervises butchers while its fleet of boats waiting beyond. The colors are interesting and unusual , with great use of light green paint and patterns of alternating colors. The absence of the papyrus thicket is another type of old conventions of the Kingdom of art .

Fish in the Nile
The opposite wall (east ) shows rows of cattle and other animals in agricultural scenes . Note the braided hair of some cattle and donkeys carrying grain . The wall opposite the entrance probably once contained a false door , and Ankhtifi and his wife are seen sitting at a table with remains poorly preserved banquet scenes beyond. At the end of this wall are depicted men go hunting with bows and arrows and hunting . The tree landfill is located in the center of the tomb at the foot of the false door .
Agricultural and Ankhtifi scenes with his wife
The few remaining columns are decorated illustrating industries, including carpentry, farming, food preparation and brewing . Two square pillars can be seen at the entrance and Ankhtifi is shown in the right column opposite the tomb, with three of his dogs at his side . Two columns in the southern half of the tomb show images and conventional tillage and a chorus of women holding hands .

Industries in the tomb of Ankhtifi
The biographical text is considered the most important inscription in the tomb, and describes a famine at the time in which the deceased Ankhtifi proclaims his own glory in saving his people. " . . dying on the sandbank Apothis . " The text mentions the cities of Hefat and Hor -mer , whose location is not currently known. Ankhtifi tells the food and clothing of the people in the neighboring districts and states. " . . I was like a sheltering mountain. . . the country became like grasshoppers go in search of food, but I never allow anyone in need out of this nome to another. I am the hero without equal . Modest chap ! Famine seems to have haunted the Egyptians periodically and there are many reliefs monuments across the country that show scenes of hunger and misery. Archaeologists suggest that the turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the end of the Old Kingdom was largely due to a prolonged drought when the Nile floods were low and the fields do not produce enough food.

British archaeologists Mark Collier and Bill Manley have recently returned from an exploratory trip to El Moalla to study inscriptions in the tomb of Ankhtifi . The humble tomb carved into the rock , they went on record was found not to be cut into the cliff at all, but turned out to be a burial pyramid (normally reserved for royalty ) . The chapel of the tomb is in a courtyard and has a floor , which could be seen from the mountain top, with a massive necropolis stretches some 5 km away. Interment now appears to be a mountain -shaped autonomous pyramid, which is surrounded by hundreds of other graves , raising hopes that the city lost Hefat Ankhtifi could be located nearby. French archaeologists in the early 20th century had not searched the entrance to the tomb - chapel itself , while Collier and Manley state that the monument seems to have all the characteristics of a good pyramid, even if a natural .
The tomb of Sobekhotep
A few meters north of the tomb is the smallest Ankhtifi tomb-chapel of Sobekhotep , another first official through the period and this is the second tomb decorated el- Moalla . It is rough-hewn and not so well preserved that its neighbor, but there are some interesting scenes .
Septic and scenes in the tomb of Sobekhotep
The tomb is similar to that of Ankhtifi form, but has three burial shafts instead of one . On the walls to the right of the entrance, there are scenes of mourners damaged , with scenes below men taking grain store - house. Sobekhotep is pictured here with his wife and son . On the eastern wall there are the remains of industrial scenes at the bottom with more traditional hunting desert above. Parts of agricultural scenes , showing animals and products can be seen on the back wall , with two rows of men and women at the west end . Sobekhotep and his wife are again represented on the wall left of the entrance, reception offering bearers .How to get there
El- Moalla is only about half an hour by taxi from Luxor and Esna or from the convoy stopped in 2009 , the site is now much easier to visit independently by taxi. On reaching the village , cross the railway line and to seek custody of the graves which the key. There is a strong rise of the hill tombs, but you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view of cultivated land to the Nile .

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Tomb of Akhethotep and Ptahhotep

The Tomb of Akhethotep and Ptahhotep

This is a double tomb located within a group of mastabas on the west side of the pyramid at Saqqara . Akhethotep was "chief judge and vizier " and " Overseer of the Pyramid Towns and inspector of the priests of the pyramid Niuserre , Menkauhor and Djedkare - Isesi ." His son , Ptahhotep , whose tomb is an annex on the south side of his father , was also named as " Chief Justice and Vizier ," " Inspector priests pyramids Menkauhor and Djedkare - Isesi " and " Inspector of Wab - priests of the pyramid Niuserre . " They shall hold office during the reigns of Djedkare - Isesi and Unas , at the end of Dynasty V
False door in the chapel of Akhethotep
The entrance to the tomb is located on the north side and consists of a portico with two columns, leading to a hallway that was decorated incomplete. The remains damaged walls painted with scenes of agriculture and hunting birds, watched by Akhethotep Ptahhotep and his eldest son as a child.
Agricultural scenes in the tomb of Akhethotep
The hallway leads to a large hall with four pillars on the west wall of the room, a narrow door takes us into the chapel Akhethotep , which is a form of an inverted T . Here, the deceased can be seen sitting in front of several registers of scenes showing men making papyrus and birds games boatmen , farmers and fishermen and men making papyrus boats . Above the door there is a scene from the papyrus thicket , with birds flying . On the end wall ( south), there are scenes of carrier offerings and butchers . Only guidelines were drawn on the unfinished walls. On the west wall of the chapel is offering the false door Akhethotep which is surrounded by three legs . Although part of the upper part of the stele is missing , six images of the deceased can be seen on the bottom ( three on each side ) . The chapel has also led to a serdab .
Offering bearers in the tomb of Ptahhotep
On the southwest side of the room four pillars is the entrance through a small vestibule from Ptahhotep the grave. Inside the chapel and partly above the door Ptahhotep can be seen sitting while his servants may take his favorite animals , dogs and monkeys. Before him are eight registers including men bringing offerings and pay their respects . There are musicians , including a harpist and singer , trump jewelry making and scenes of butchery.
On the left wall (east) there are several records of scenes that are often very unusual. They are colorful images carved papyrus collection , children playing games , hunting in the desert , the construction of papyrus boats and make ropes and bird trapping and fishing. Ptahhotep and young son watch over these activities. Many animals are colorful and realistic portrayed in this tomb - leopards and lions , hyenas , antelopes, desert animals and pets and birds. There are even two porcupines , one is eating a cricket .
Reliefs of Ptah- Hotep
On the opposite (west ) wall Ptahhotep two false doors . The south pillar has a double leg is carefully painted and the deceased is represented on the left side being carried in a sedan chair and on the right side sitting in a booth. List of festivals are displayed above the lintel. Between false doors Ptahhotep , wearing an animal skin , sits at a table and the smell of pot of fragrant ointment. It provides lists for the dead, the priests and offer bringers . The north is uninscribed false door .
Block with the name of Ptah-Hotep (provided by another tomb)
The burial chamber contained a Ptahhotep sarcophagus inscribed with their names and titles. Fragments of intrusive burials Dynasties V and VI were also found in the tomb. His tomb-chapel is by far the most interesting part of this mastaba and reliefs are beautiful with well-preserved colors.


The tomb of Akhethotep and Ptahhotep is usually open to visitors on request. Photography is no

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Village of Dendera

The Village of Dendera

The village of Dendera is located 60km north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile , opposite the city of Qena province , where the Nile Valley road branches off the Red Sea city of Hurghada . Its ancient name was Iunet and was known in antiquity as Tentyris . The temple of Hathor is largely a Ptolemaic structure , but the site extends over several periods of dynastic early through Christian .The temple of Hathor
Oriented Nile Temple of Hathor follows the fairly typical in terms of other temples of the Greco- Roman era. It is among the largest and best preserved of the remaining temples because of its construction delay even if there are texts that refer to the holy places prior to the site of the Old Empire. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and mythology about her husband Horus of Edfu. The current building of the temple was started before the reign of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II whose name is in the crypts , pursued by the Ptolemaic kings and was completed in Roman times .

The temple of Hathor at Dendera

The main temple has an imposing facade built as a low screen wall divided by six massive columns Hathor head and a large curved cornice with a winged sun disk at the entrance. This leads directly into the hypostyle hall containing a forest of 18 columns Hathor similar to the facade. The ceiling of the first pillared hall is of particular interest , divided into seven bands well preserved astronomical figures featuring the goddess Nut, vultures and winged sun disk and Roman zodiac signs . The walls are decorated with scenes of Roman emperors as pharaohs involving Hathor.

hypostyle ceiling
The rear wall of the first hypostyle was the original facade of the temple and a door leads to a small known as the " hall of appearances" where the statue of the goddess first appear on his annual trip pillared temple . Six columns support the roof Hathor small admitting light through square openings . The walls here are scenes of the king involved in ritual ceremonies of the foundation, where the cartridges are empty because of the uncertain time period . On each side of this room are three rooms which were the places where the chapels connected with the daily rituals and also on each side , there is access to the stairs leading to the roof .Beyond the second hypostyle is a "hall of offerings" where the daily rituals were performed by priests and priestesses of Hathor. Opposite this room is the "Hall of ennead " or " living cycle of the gods" where the statues of deities were associated assembled holidays. A sanctuary of central boat once contained the shrine where the cult statue Hathor was housed. either side of the door, the king is shown offering a copper mirror , one of the sacred symbols of Hathor, the goddess .

The temple of Hathor
Passage around the sanctuary contains 11 chapels dedicated to various deities and religious symbols. The most important of them is the room directly behind the sanctuary took place a shrine with images and symbols of Hathor. High up in the wall of this room is a niche containing a relief of Hathor and this is a sanctuary of the " ear " on the outside of the temple, where prayers to the goddess was offered.Under the floors of the rooms of worship, there were 14 crypts that stores the treasures of the temple. 11 of them were decorated and painted and it is assumed that some of the most secret rites of the goddess have been associated with these small rooms. The purpose of the largest recorded in the crypts was a cult icon of the ba of Hathor who was taken in the sanctuary of the temple roof at the festival each year. One of the crypts is currently available and it is worth seeing and in quiet time visitors may be allowed to go inside. Beware of bats , though!

The Pure Place
To the right of the sanctuary is a small open courtyard where sacrifices were made ​​during the celebration of the new year. A flight of steps at the end of the courtyard leads to a condition known as " clean place " which has a beautiful ceiling depicting a huge figure of the sky goddess Nut , showing the cycle of birth of the sun whose rays are kiosk shines on Hathor.The western staircase up to the roof in the company of a procession of priests carrying standards and symbols of the goddess, and also illustrates various aspects of the festival of the new year. Note that the priests who ride on the right and down on the left of the staircase that wraps around to cover rooms at different levels. The staircase is dark, lit only by small openings in walls and at the top is a result of known Osiris suite ' rooms . In the interior of the two chambers Isis and Nephthys are shown mourning the death of Osiris, who is on his funeral beir waiting to be resurrected by magical rituals. Again, Isis is magically imbued with the seed of her son Horus as the myth unfolds. Astronomical figures can be seen on the ceiling.A corresponding result on the eastern coast of the roof represents the lunar festival Khoiakh in which a " Osiris bed ' was filled with soil and seeds of grain in an important fertility rite . The walls of the first showroom scenes burial goods of Osiris, including his canopic jars and nut ceiling are again shown with other astronomical figures . On the other half of the ceiling is a plaster copy of the famous Zodiac of Dendera ", the original is in the Louvre in Paris . The inner hall depicts scenes from the myth of Osiris, similar to the western suite, as well as reliefs of cosmic importance . These two bedroom suites are dedicated to the death and resurrection myth of Osiris , which reflect the mysteries of the divine birth of own son of Hathor, Ihy .

Chapel of the disk
In the southwest corner of the roof is a gazebo or chapel with 12 columns Hathor - head known as the " Chapel of the disc. Here, the statue of the goddess was revealed on New Year's morning to meet with the first rays of the sun, the solar disk .The festive procession had left the roof of the east staircase leads down to the lower floor, with his priests descending file .The City TempleA huge wall of mud bricks survives to encircle the temple complex with lots of debris from many years of excavation and clearance scattered around. Originally a stone wall surrounding the temple on three sides with an entrance through a gateway built by Domitian, the rest forming the entrance to the modern temple. If you look inside the lintel of the door a rare sculpture of a beetle can be seen on the underside.On the right, two birthing . The Roman mamissi was built by Augustus with reliefs later by Trajan and Hadrian. The bas-reliefs on the exterior walls are superbly preserved, and portray the divine birth and childhood of the child Horus, celebrated rites legitimize the divine descent of the king. The god Bes , protector of women during childbirth is depicted on the columns of a colonnade. The grotesque appearance of the dwarf god was thought to ward off evil spirits at the time of birth.

Roman Mammisi
A previous mamissi south was built by Nectanebo I and celebrated the birth of the young god Ihy , the son of Hathor and Horus of Edfu. The walls of the wide hall represent the Ptolemaic kings offering to Hathor. A scene on the north wall shows the creator god Khnum shaping the child Hekat the goddess of childbirth seen in the image of a frog.Between the two houses of birth are the remains of a Coptic basilica dating from the 5th century AD . This is currently being excavated with a lot of restoration work.

Beside the ruined church are the remains of a mud brick sanatorium , thought to be the only extant . There were benches along the sides, where the patients sat waiting for cures affected by the priests. An inscription on a statue base found here suggests that water was poured over magical texts on the statues, causing it to become holy and to cure all kinds of diseases and illnesses . Basins used to collect holy water can still be seen at the west end .A rectangular sacred lake in the southwest corner of the temple . It is now empty apart from large trees that grow inside its walls. A flight of steps lead to a terrace on each corner and one flight hidden in the walls would have access to water when it was at a lower level. Beside the lake is a well with steps cut into the rock leading to access to water for daily use in the temple.

sacred lake
Behind the temple of Hathor is a Iseum a small temple dedicated to the goddess Isis from the time of the Roman emperor Augustus. It contains a sanctuary and two side rooms and the rear wall of a niche that once contained a statue of Osiris and a figure in high relief of the god Bes . The walls of the small temple depict scenes of Hathor suckling the child Horus , with representations of Hathor as a cow- goddess of the east and west walls .Finally, the outer rear wall of Hathor temple is noted . Reliefs represent royal figures of Cleopatra with her son Caesarion , who was his co-regent before Roman times . A huge false door at the back of the sanctuary central Hathor inside the temple was placed for pilgrims to submit prayers to the goddess , and you can see how it became worn countless hands rubbing stone . Up on the wall is a scene depicting the festival of " Raising the Sky ' . Water jets lion head that drained water from the roof of the temple can be seen around the tops of the exterior walls.

Hathor and Bes
Back to the front of the temple there are many interesting pieces or blocks and the architecture of the temple buildings , including several heads beautiful Hathor 's and a nice relief for small Bes God instead so important in the complex.nearby monumentsThe site of the Temple of Dendera has a long history and there are many remains of ancient tombs in the United scattered in the desert behind the walls of mud bricks .A temple dating from King Mentuhotep Nebhepetre the Eleventh Dynasty , who had the west side of the temple , was removed from the Cairo Museum .How to get thereA few years ago Dendera Temple was closed to visitors, a cafeteria and a souvenir shop almost abandoned. It is now once again a thriving tourist attraction that is often incorporated into the itinerary of a cruise on the Nile. Alternatively, it can be reached by taxi or bus tour of Luxor. Tickets cost 35 EGP grid .