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Cruising down the Nile (part 3)


In the late afternoon we reach the Ombos temple, or the Crocodile Temple, on the Nile's east bank - that of "life". This is a really beautiful temple with the frieze of the Pharaoh being anointed by Gods with the life giving waters of the Nile. Around the temple are many other friezes of fascinating interest including one that shows a range of medical instruments of the period. Others show the bound prisoners brought up from what is now Sudan in the south after defeat by the conquering Egyptian armies.

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As evening falls, we then head further south and watch the rapid sunset behind the palms and mosque minarets.

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Overnight, the cruise passes through locks and heads further south towards Aswan and the High Dam built between 1960 and 1970 with Soviet aid to the Egyptian government. This massive dam effectively replaced the older "Low Dam" built in 1902 which was much less successful in controlling the flood waters of the Nile.

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On the dam itself is a large and futuristic edifice built by the Soviets as their tribute to the Aswan Dam project. Fanciful and very much 'of the period' it projects itself to the skies and beyond. Close to Aswan we see the first of the temples that were meticulously relocated before the waters of the new dams could flood them. The lovely Philae temple is a wonderful example of the technology of the period in that it was moved in it's entirety, stone by stone, by the Germans to another higher island just some 300 metres away from it's original site.

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Fascinating to see is the graffiti carved into many of the the temple walls which were virtually covered by sand two centuries ago. European travelers on their tours of exploration came across these largely submerged ruins and left their messages in a way that today we would consider a virtual sacrilege but which is now part of the authentic 'history'.

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Ever present were our protectors, in this case Ali and Hassan who will, of course, be delighted to feature in your photos for a few Egyptian Pounds.

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And the tour continues to Aswan... (to be continued)

Part 1 and Part 2 of this adventure appeared on Travel Gumbo recently.


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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller

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