Location

ANCIENT SACRED SITES WE WILL EXPERIENCE IN EGYPT


CAIRO



Cairo photo courtesy of National Geographic


Long before the pyramids were built, Egypt's northern and southern territories were ruled separately. It was about 5000 years ago that a young prince by the name of Narmer (Menes) unified the Red (North) and White (South) kingdoms and became Egypt's first Pharaoh. As brilliant a politician as he was a warrior, Narmer chose the site of Memphis as his capital. The city was situated at the then Nile Delta tip, along the North-South border, and about 25 km south of today's downtown Cairo.


For the next 800 years or so, the first Capital of the ancient Egyptians prospered under the rule of Zoser, Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren), Menkaure (Mycerinus), Unas, and others. It became one of the most influential and powerful cities in the world, and housed one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza. Constructed on the Giza plateau, a necropolis of the city of Memphis on the Nile's west bank, the three Great Pyramids are the ultimate manifestation of political stability and power of the ruler during the Third and Fourth Dynasties. Khufu's son built 2 of the Giza pyramids.


GREAT PYRAMID



The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt in Africa, and is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is believed to have been built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (hellenized as Cheops) and constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BCE. The tallest structure in the world for over 3,800 years, it is sometimes called Khufu's Pyramid or the Pyramid of Khufu. Contradictory evidence shows the Giza pyrimads and the Great Sphinx to be much older than currently accepted by Egyptologists.


Cody & Robin Johnson
Founders of The Prophets Conference
Invite you to take your place
during private entry and ceremony
in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid
and within the powerful energy field
between the paws of The Great Sphinx
with
FREDDY SILVA

OLD CAIRO


Market area of Khan al-Khalili
photo by Richard Nowitz
National Geographic/Getty Images
Old Cairo is just opposite of Rhoda Island and below it's southern tip. The area is known to the Egyptians as Masr al-Qadima and stretches down to the sub-area often called Coptic Cairo. Appropriate dress covering the body including shoulders and legs is required for entering both Coptic and Islamic monuments.

Old Cairo is so named because it is the oldest part of Cairo, and in fact, predates what is now Cairo. Some Egyptologists believe that there was a settlement here as far back as the 6th century BC. Later, the Romans built a fortress here and some of these Roman walls still exist. Later, it became a Christian stronghold, with as many as 20 churches built within an area of one square mile. There are only five remaining, but these are certainly a must see when visiting Cairo, along with the earliest Mosque ever built in Egypt.

In addition, after the fall of Jerusalem in about 70 AD, the area also saw an influx of that religion into the area, where the oldest synagogue is also located. Most of Pharaonic Egypt is a relic of one of the Worlds first and grandest religions, including the great Pyramids outside Cairo. And if the modern world can be said to have four major religions consisting of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, then three of those are represented by some of their most ancient relics in this section of Old Cairo, a truly a multi-faith area, where Jewish, Coptic and Islamic monuments all stand next to one other.

SAQQARA


Sakkara or Saqqara, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, featuring the world's oldest standing step pyramid. It is located some 30 km south of modern-day Cairo.


While Memphis was the capital of Ancient Egypt, Saqqara served as its necropolis. Although it was eclipsed as the burial ground of royalty by Giza and later by the Valley of the Kings in Thebes, it remained an important complex for minor burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times. The step pyramid at Saqqara was designed by Imhotep for King Djoser (c.2667-2648 BC). It is the oldest complete hewn-stone building complex known in history.


Although the earliest burials of nobles at Saqqara can be traced back to the First Dynasty, it was not until the Second Dynasty that the first kings were buried there, including Hotepsekhemwy and Nynetjer.


The most striking feature of the necropolis is the Step Pyramid of the Pharaoh Djoser from the third dynasty. In addition to Djoser's, there are another 16 pyramids on the site. That of the fifth-dynasty Pharaoh Unas, located just to the south of the step pyramid and on top of Hotepsekhemwi's tomb, houses the earliest known example of the Pyramid Texts – inscriptions with instructions for the afterlife used to decorate the interior of tombs, the precursor of the New Kingdom Book of the Dead. Saqqara is also home to an impressive number of mastaba tombs. Because the necropolis was lost beneath the sands for much of the past two millennia – even the sizable mortuary complex surrounding Djoser's pyramid was not uncovered until 1924 – many of these have been superbly preserved, with both their structures and lavish internal decorations intact.

ABU SIMBEL

Abu Simbel is among the most magnificent monuments in the world. The temples were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser after the Aswan high dam was constructed. With the UNESCO’s help, the two temples were cut into large blocks and moved to a higher location.

The larger temple is for King Ramses II. The temple’s facade has four colossal statues of the King and is topped with 22 baboons whose arms are raised in the air to worship the rising sun. Ancient Egyptian architects positioned the temple in such a way that the sun’s rays penetrate the sanctuary on October 21 and February 21. These dates are believed to be the king's birthday and coronation date, respectively.

The smaller temple was the first temple ever dedicated to a queen. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Nefertari, Ramses’ most beloved wife. It commemorates Ramses’ victory in the Battle of Kadesh, intimidates his Nubian neighbors, and honors his most beloved wife. The facade is decorated by six colossi, four of Ramses II and two of Nefertari, which are separated by a large gateway.

Entrance to Temple of Nefertari
photo courtesy of Mikey and Lou Samson

ASWAN


Temple of Isis
photo courtesy of Mikey and Lou Samson


Aswan is the ancient city of Swenet, which was in antiquity the frontier town of Egypt to the south. Because the Egyptians oriented towards the south, Aswan was the first town in the country, and Egypt was always conceived to open or begin at Aswan. It stood upon a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, immediately below (north of) the first cataract, which extend to it from Philae. It is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddesses with the same name, the Ilithya of the Greeks, and of which the import is the opener.



Isis's Temple at Philae

Elephantine is an island in the River Nile, located just downstream of the First Cataract and is a part of the modern Egyptian city of Aswan. Known to the Ancient Egyptians as Abu or Yebu, Elephantine stands at the border between Egypt and Nubia. The island was an excellent defensive site for a city and its location made it a natural transshipping point for river trade. According to Egyptian mythology, here was the dwelling place of Khnum, the ram-headed god of the cataracts, who controlled the waters of the Nile from caves beneath the island: he was worshipped here as part of a triad comprising him, his wife Satis, and their daughter Anuket. There are records of a temple to Khnum here as early as the third dynasty, and most of the southern tip of the island is taken up by the ruins of the later temple to him that was completely rebuilt in the Late Period (30th dynasty). In ancient times, the island was an important stone quarry provinding granite materials for monuments.


The island temple at Philae was constructed over a three-century period, by the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty and the Roman Principate. The principal deity of the temple complex was Isis, but other temples and shrines were dedicated to her son Horus and the goddess Hathor. In Ptolemaic times Hathor was associated with Isis, who was in turn associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. For centuries the temple complex was the holiest site for Isis worshippers. The temple was officially closed down in the 6th century A.D. by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. It was the last pagan temple to exist in the Mediterranean world. Philae was a seat of the Christian religion as well as of the ancient Egyptian faith. Ruins of a Christian church were still discovered, and more than one adytum bore traces of having been made to serve at different eras the purposes of a chapel of Osiris and of Christ. The Philae temple was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, until that was closed by Muslim invaders in the 7th century.


EDFU


Inside the temple at Edfu


Edfu, located on the west bank of the River Nile between Esna and Aswan, is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement, Tell Edfu. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple, oriented east to west, facing towards the river. The later structure faces north to south and leaves the ruined remains of the older temple pylon to be seen on the east side of the first court.

The Temple of Edfu, the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak and one of the best preserved, is the largest temple dedicated to Horus and was the center of several festivals sacred to the god. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt.

LUXOR

Luxor temple was one of the most important cult temples in ancient Egypt. Amenhotep III decided to build a whole temple for the god Amon. Later Ramses II added a new open court, a massive façade representing its entrance, a huge pylon, and two seated statues of the king. The name of the temple in ancient Egyptian was "The House of Amon in the southern holy of hollies," or "The southern Harem." Originally two large obelisks stood in front of the pylon. However, now only one remains, while the other one stands in Place de la Concorde, Paris.

KARNAK

The Karnak temple area is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world, and is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It is a group of temples surrounded by one enclosure wall that is dedicated to the god Amon-Ra - the chief god of the Theban Triad, his wife Mut, and their son Khonso. The temple covers an area of about 60 acres. In ancient Egypt, the temple was called "The House of Amon" or "The Most Sacred of Places." In addition to the main sanctuary there are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries located outside the enclosing walls of the four main parts, as well as several avenues of ram-headed sphinxes connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amon-Re and Luxor Temple, and a vast sacred lake, which was used for purification.

The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Construction work began in the 16th century BC. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming.

Osirian colossi at Karnak Temple
photo courtesy of Mikey and Lou Samson

ABYDOS, TEMPLE OF OSIRIS, OSIREION



Ancient carving inside Abydos Temple
photo courtesy of Mikey and Lou Samson


Abydos is one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt. The Egyptian name was Abdju, "the hill of the symbol or reliquary," in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved. The Greeks named it Abydos, like the city on the Hellespont; the modern Arabic name is el-'Araba el Madfuna.


Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, the sacred city of Abydos was the site of many ancient temples, including a royal necropolis where early pharaohs were entombed. Abydos became notable for the Great Temple of Abydos, of Seti I, which contains a tunnel displaying the "Abydos King List": a chronological list showing cartouche names of most dynastic pharaoh of Egypt from the first, Narmer/Menes, until the pharaohs of the last dynasty.


The worship here was of the jackal god Wepwawet, who "opened the way" to the realm of the dead, increasing from the first dynasty to the time of the 12th dynasty and then disappearing after the 18th. Anhur appears in the eleventh dynasty; and Anubis, the god of the western Hades, rises to importance in the Middle Kingdom and then vanishes in the 18th. The worship here of Osiris in his various forms begins in the 12th dynasty and becomes more important in later times, so that at last the whole place was considered as sacred to him.


Osiris is the oldest son of the Earth god, Geb, and the sky goddess, Nut as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son. He is usually depicted as a green-skinned pharaoh wearing the Atef crown, a form of the white crown of upper Egypt with a plume of feathers to either side. Typically he is also depicted holding the crook and flail which signify divine authority in Egyptian kings, but which were originally unique to Osiris and his own origin-gods, and his feet and lower body are wrapped, as though already partly mummified.



Osiris with crook and flail
photo courtesy of Jon Bodsworth



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