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Nile valley: how did the ancient Egyptians travel?

The Nile valley is the heart of Egyptian Tourism and Egypt’s biggest attraction is its history, the history of famous pharaohs, especially Ramses II. By exploring the Nile valley you can understand ancient Egyptian culture and get a direct picture of how thousands of years of tradition still leave its mark in many places. This is a compelling reason why you should take Egypt Nile cruises at least once in a lifetime.

The ancient history

Several Nubian lands south of Aswan appeared on the shores of Lake Nasser that resurrected me, in a very special way, the beautiful memories of Charo Lucas. The tiny Nubian chambers preserved in southern Egypt, the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan, its large rivers and trips to distant lands were very important at important times in Professor Lucas’s life. To remember in this respect I would like to provide data and ideas that refer to some travelers who from Ancient Age and until the end of the 19th century visited Egypt, remembering among those who went to the Nile lands of our country. We understand “travel to Egypt” as a cultural fact itself, often related to the beginnings of Egyptology and consolidation as a scientific discipline.

Recall that in Europe, at the beginning of the 19th century, a very receptive attitude towards the heritage of ancient Egypt was accused. This trend has important traditions because since ancient times, obelisks and other objects from Egypt have arrived in Europe and fascinate Westerners who recognize in them the unique aesthetics and power and wisdom of the cultured and cultured societies which in the past have created them . Now, not in all periods of our history Egyptian and Egyptian considerations are favorable.

Egypt has been present in Western memories through several stories narrated in the Bible, stories that emphasize the differences between Egypt and Israel, political entities that appear in biblical texts that are related to each other through networks of political and commercial relations. and ideologically at friendship events, but are often conflicting and always complex. Israel, in the Bible, embodies the truth, while Egypt symbolizes darkness and error, representing all that Israel can overcome with the Exodus, especially paganism or idolatry, but also the past lived by the Israelites in Egypt, the stage “chosen by people” rejects to prevent their memories from polluting Israeli traditions.

Moses, the Hebrew language, is presented in the Bible as the personification of the confrontation and conflict between Israel, truth, and Egypt, falsehood. Moses, the Hebrew, the yoke liberator of Egypt, therefore, for the West, is a symbol of Egyptophobia. The biblical figure that has survived for centuries in Western tradition is a picture of Egypt that is completely contrary to Western ideals, the image of Egypt as a land of despotism, witchcraft, animal worship, animal worship and idol worship.

Classic sources, on the other hand, offer a very different image of Egypt, and even a very different version of Moses. But until the Western Renaissance did not participate in the knowledge of classical writings at the same level as in the Bible. Therefore, the stories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Diodorus of Sicily, Strabo and Plutarch, among others, who spoke to us with admiration for the land of the Nile and the knowledge of ancient Egyptians, had no convincing effect in the West in the first fourteen. centuries in our history. Likewise, Egyptian history was written by Manetón de Sebenitos, an Egyptian priest from the 3rd century BC. for its king, Ptolemy II Filadelfo (284-246 BC), and the version given by Moses, presented as a rebel Egyptian priest who had been the leader of a leprosy colony, could not compete with the Hebrew Moses idea of ​​the biblical text.

Apart from the negative connotations posed by Egypt, traveling to the Nile in many cases was a desirable destination. There are other biblical references, such as flights to Egypt from the Holy Family, narrated in the New Testament (Matthew 2.23) and in other apocryphal texts (Santos Otero, 1991: passim), which made it a destination for Christian pilgrimages since ancient times. When Islam was born, Egypt was visited by many pilgrims from the West, many times from Al-Andalus, traveling to Mecca. Some travelers leave comments in their writings, almost always anecdotal because for those antiques have no special interest, about the splendor of the ruins or the peculiarities of some architectural works, such as the pyramid, which they have the opportunity to see on their way through the land of the Nile.

Travelers from time to time

Since ancient times and throughout the Middle Ages Egypt was visited by travelers from the West on pilgrimages to the Holy Places or to Mecca. From these itineraries are written chronicles which enable us to know the reason and form of the journey (Cannuyer, 1991: 136-140), but also what travelers call attention to their journey. Egypt surprised travelers with its distinctive geography, by some fauna specimens, and by the abundant and large ruins of the past that seemed to disappear, which seemed to be scattered throughout the valley and desert.

Among these first travelers, we must mention Egeria nuns, virgins consecrated to Christian gods in the Galician religious community, who traveled to the Holy Land, northern Egypt, and the Sinai Peninsula in the later years of the fourth century (377-388). ) try to identify the place and city that he has read in the Bible. We know that Lady Egeria visited Alexandria, Memphis, the Giza pyramid, which she observed from a distance and was identified as Joseph’s barn; perhaps the Tanis (Gosyen land) and the Red Sea, as stated in the manuscript Peregrinatio ad loca sancta, were discovered in Italy in 1883 (Gómez Espelosín; Pérez Largacha, 1997: 191).

Since the Middle Ages, we have stories about Christian, Jewish and Muslim travelers who visited Egypt and left descriptions or comments about their journey. They emphasize, inter alia, the story of Cordovan Abu Obaid, in the ninth century, and in the twelfth century that of the Jews Benjamin de Tudela and the Muslims Mohamad Abu Abdala, el-Edrisi, Ceuta; Abu Hamid al-Garnati, from Granada, and Iben Yubair, from Valencia. The latter visited Egypt and the Holy Places on a pilgrimage to Mecca, carried out between 1183 and 1185 (Gómez-Navarro, 2002: 99-103). Upon his return, Iben Yubair wrote a book called Through the East, which described the routes taken and places visited, a work by which a new genre began in Arabic literature, rihla or travel relationships, which It will be widely used by travelers, many times – times to build different pilgrimage paths to the city of the prophet.

From the stories of Christian pen of this period which gave information about the Nile countries, the most famous is entitled The Journey of Sir John Mandelville, gentlemen. This is a travel book that contains major mistakes, but is used as a guide by Western travelers during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Hieroglyphic writing is discussed in it and interpretations, which have been suggested by other writers, about large pyramids such as the biblical Joseph barns (Wortham, 1971: 6) are repeated. In the nineteenth century it was known that John Mandelville never existed and that the true author of the story was a man from Liege (Belgium), Jean d’Outremeuse, who had never left his country and had written his story. , published in 1357, based on the works of older authors.

And many more…

One thing is certain, most of them explore Egypt through the NIL RIVER. From ancient Egyptians to European colonial explorers and modern tourists, including me, exploring the Nile by boat is the main solution.\

Why the Nile?

We know that most ancient cultures were founded on the banks of large rivers and of course the culture of the pharaohs. Ramses II was the greatest of them and there was no other more effective way (to get to know the facts about the great king) than by going along the Nile. Of course you do not need to imitate the people of ancient Egypt or the tourists of medieval Egypt, using a simple boat. You can use various Nile River cruise services that can be tailored to your expectations and budget. This is a modern way to explore ancient Egyptian civilization and find out interesting facts behind it.



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