2011/11/12

EGYPT IN AN ARTIST'S VIEW


  EGYPT IN AN ARTIST'S VIEW  
 




Egypt has been an ideal subject for artists over the last two centuries - from those accompanying Napolean at the end of the 18th century to David Roberts in the late 1830's, and many others since.
The paintings shown here as you scroll down the page are by well-known Australian artist John Rigby, the father of this web site's author. He visited Egypt during in 1995 and his book John Rigby: Art and Life contains reproductions of a few of his Egyptian works, including the market at Shellal shown below.


A market at Shellal south of the Old Aswan Dam where the boats depart for Philae Temple. The shopkeepers waitfor the tourists returning from the temple . Lots of bargains, certainly by Western pricing standards

The Egyptian markets are rich in both products for sale and in characters.
"No cost to look, mister

The West Bank across from Luxor is rich in subject matter. The Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II, is a stark reminder of the transient nature of power. But the memory lingers

The Ramesseum is an ideal place for contemplation as it is not overrun by hoards of tourists 








The Kiosk of Kertassi relocated near the
Aswan High Dam




The Temple Of Philae



The Temple Of Philae


       

The temple of Philae has been a popular draw for tourists since the 19th century. In 1902, the British finished a dam near the First Cataract and the temple of Philae just to its south began to be inundated for much of the year - see more on my page about Philae. These early 20th century postcards from my collection show how the temple suffered. It was dismantled and moved to the nearby island of Agilkai in the late 1970s after the construction of the Aswan High Dam threatened to submerge it forever






 
PHILAE
 
South of the city of Aswan lies the beautiful temple complex of Philae. Its main temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis and its construction was undertaken during the third century B.C. Philae was the last bastion of ancient Egyptian religion and hieroglyphic usage. It is also a superb example of threatened cultural heritage being saved in the face of modern civilization's march to change the environment


The island of Philae and its temples came under threat at the turn of the century when the British erected the Aswan Dam at the First Cataract. Philae began to spend some of its time beneath the backed-up flood waters of the Nile (old Philae postcards).
The Dam was progressively raised in the following decades, but the final nail in the coffin for the island of Philae came with the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s. The temples were destined to disappear forever beneath the river's waters.
Fortunately, Philae was saved from drowning. In 1977, a coffer dam was constructed around the temples and the water was pumped out. Then the temples were carefully dismantled with every block assigned a number and its position noted. A nearby higher island called Agilkai was modified to resemble Philae and the temples were resembled. In 1980, Philae was once again opened to the public





Today, Philae is one of the highlights of any visit to Aswan. To reach it, one can take an organised excursion booked through a travel agent or hotel. Alternatively, take a taxi to the boat landing at Shellal on the east side of the old Aswan Dam. From there, a short boat trip can be arranged to the island.
If time permits, a night visit for the Sound and Light Show is very worthwhile as the temples look stunning under floodlights. Shows are presented in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic. The language and time schedule should be checked before going .

THE GIZA PLATEAU AND PYRAMIDS

THE GIZA PLATEAU AND PYRAMIDS



 

The Giza Plateau has been a popular site with visitors down through the ages, and particularly with tourists since the 19th century. The postcards featured here represent a selection of early 20th century postcards from my personal collection .


PYRAMIDS NOW










GIZA AND PYRAMIDS - EARLY 20TH CENTURY