The view was a bizarre juxtaposition. Outside my hotel window was the Pyramid of Khafre, easily 4,500 years old. In between was the hotel swimming pool, traffic roaring on the highway, trailers and a swath of the Sahara Desert. It was enough to do a double-take if I didn’t know where I was. Khafre was a... Continue Reading →
Wonderment on the Giza Plateau (Great Pyramid)
The Great Pyramid has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. What started out as a youngster's obsession with things ancient became a curiosity about the incredible feat of technology, craftsmanship and genius that it took to build it. It rightfully is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the only... Continue Reading →
Splendor among the Ruins: the Pyramid of Teti
The hieroglyphic inscriptions were beautiful when I first saw them, like the most intricate wallpaper. The subterranean walls of the horizontal passage, antechamber and burial chamber were covered with them. They were a complete surprise because the pyramid of Teti is a pile of rubble above ground, thanks to robbers who quarried the stone for... Continue Reading →
What the Hell Happened at Abusir?
The sites of Abusir and Abu Ghurab are located not far from Cairo. Pharaohs of the 5th dynasty built their pyramids and temples there. While the quality of pyramids was quite inferior to Giza's, archaeological finds were important, including papyri that are the oldest ever found. Although not of primary importance to archaeologists (or because... Continue Reading →
The Splendid Temple of Hathor (Dendera)
Calling a woman a cow nowadays is asking for trouble, but the Egyptians of yore depicted Hathor as a cow, a woman with cow's horns or woman with cow's ears. She was one of Egypt's most important deities, a primordial goddess, daughter of Ra and Nut, goddess of joy, female love, sex, destruction and rebirth,... Continue Reading →
The Valley Temple and Osireion: Echoes of a Bygone World Culture?
Seeing is believing. It was deja vu all over again, as a famous American Yogi once said. I gawked at the Valley Temple of Khafre in Giza and the Osireion in Abydos. Though they are in Egypt, they reminded me of monuments I saw in Peru, halfway round the world. Cyclopean blocks of unadorned stone... Continue Reading →
Temple of Karnak (Luxor)
The Temple of Karnak in Luxor rivals an amusement park in size. The grounds are so big that it can easily surround the great cathedrals of Europe: Notre Dame, St. Peter's, Milan and more. Started in the Middle Kingdom and added to over a period of 2,000 years into Ptolemaic times by thirty pharaohs, it... Continue Reading →
Curiosities of the Temple of Seti I (Abydos, Egypt)
The hypostyle halls were the first I saw in Egypt. For that reason, the Temple of Seti I will have a special place in my memory. What for me conjures up ancient Egypt as much as the Giza Plateau are these halls and their towering and beautifully inscribed columns, bathed in mysterious, diffuse light. Seti... Continue Reading →
The Roman Ruins at Volubilis, Morocco
The ancient ruins of Volubilis near Meknes, Morocco, are one of the best preserved of the ancient Roman Empire. Only partially excavated and surrounded by wheat fields, the Romans established a colony on this southeastern edge of the empire before finally being abandoned in the third century.
The Amazing, Colossal Sanctuary of Ollantaytambo
Streets in the old part of Ollantaytambo are narrow, cobble-stoned, inaccessible to cars and trucks. Along one side, water flows in ancient Inca canals, still used today, no more than a foot wide. Quechua is spoken more than Spanish. Life goes on here as it has for centuries. There is no indication that less than... Continue Reading →