The 15th August marks the beginning of a two week holiday in Egypt: wafaa al-Nil or, ‘the flooding of the Nile’. Throughout the centuries, this has been an occasion of the utmost importance for those who live along the banks of the river. Without the annual floods, civilisation could not have flourished in the desert as it has. Far more than just hydrating the land around it, the river bursts its banks each year, to carry minerals and salts from East Africa over the flood plains of the Sahara.
“Suppose I want to drive into the desert and not see another soul for six weeks,” I ask, “could you arrange that?”
“Of course, no problem,” comes the reply that we are all too familiar with from Egyptians.
“Suppose I want to drive from London to Cape Town in record time. Could you get me through the border in less than eight hours?”
“Twenty minutes, no problem”.
In 1160, the leadership of Egypt was in shambles. The power of the last Fatimid caliph, Al-Adid, had waned considerably, so much so that his own vizier, Shawar, was able to take de facto control of the government. To make matters worse, the country was under constant threat from the Crusader States to the Northeast, as well as the Zengids from Syria.
This is the time of year when Cairo is gripped by the summer heat. As temperatures push above 40 degrees, now is the time to get your things and run to the beach. Although not commonly thought of as a beach destination, the city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast can be a great summer getaway. The city is as vibrant and cultural as any in Egypt but a lot calmer and less chaotic than Cairo. As it is so easily accessible from the capital, whether by road or rail, Alexandria can be the ideal weekend destination or daytrip, as well as accommodating for longer stays. With so much to see and do, you can be sure not to run out of activities.
On the 5th of February 969, a great army set out in the direction of what would soon be known as Cairo. This invasion force was phenomenal in size. The troops numbered 100,000 men, both on foot and horseback. They took with them, not just their weapons and supplies, but huge caskets of silver and giant millstones made of gold, to impress their vast wealth on the people of the towns and villages they passed through. At the head of the army, marched Jawhar Al-Siqilli (‘The Sicilian’).
As the new school year approaches, parents around Cairo will be looking to enrol their youngsters in one of the many English speaking schools Maadi and the surrounding areas have to offer. To help choose the school which best suits your needs Maadi Messenger has compiled a list of The Top 6 Schools serving Maadi. Below, are listed six of the best schools, in no particular order, teaching an English, American curriculum or the International Baccalaureate program, and accredited by respected international educational body.
Part 1: Unification
If we talk about Memphis, the oldest capital on earth and the oldest one to be built with stone, we also need to talk about unification between Upper and Lower Egypt. It’s important to realize that before the year 3200 BC. Egypt consisted of two kingdoms. Upper Egypt, in the south, started from where Memphis is now and went all the way to Sudan in the south. It’s confusing that the southern part of Egypt is known as Upper Egypt. This is because it has a higher elevation. That’s why the Nile River flows from south to north. The second kingdom of Egypt was Lower Egypt, which is from where Memphis is now to the north covering the Nile delta and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
For what it cost and for the months of hard work it took these guys to get here I thought the rest of the world might have showed a little more interest. A few women are proudly kissing their men as they climb out of their machines, support crews are grabbing the obligatory pyramid selfies, and the Red Bull PR girls are handing out complimentary ice-cold cans.
As we bid farewell to spring, we remember we do not just bid farewell to the cool evening breeze or the unexpected fluctuations in weather. We also bid farewell to millions of birds that pass through Egypt, en route to their breeding and nesting grounds in Europe and Asia, after spending their winters in the warmer grounds across Africa.
In the last article on Sakkara, I covered part of the funeral complex of King Djoser. Now I will continue to explore this impressive complex.