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Living in Luxor - News in and around Luxor in December 2011


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Merry Christmas


Jazz Night with Ahmed Harfoush, Luxor West Bank

Ahmed Harfoush, jazz vocalist, entertainer and leader of a jazz ensemble, is not only renowned in Egypt, he also performed jazz in Europe. On Monday 2nd of January, 2012, 8 pm he will perform dulcet ballads and oldies at Marsam Hotel. Entrance fee: 10 LE. If you would like to eat before the performance call to reserve a place: Tel. 01003426471.

Marsam Hotel, Luxor West Bank Jazz Singer Ahmed Harfoush

Lecture: The Opening of the Mouth Ceremony, Luxor East Bank

The next lecture at Mummification Museum will be held by Miriam Ayad on Sunday, 1st of January 2011, 7 pm. She will talk about the complex opening of the mouth ritual, that involved up to 75 episodes and served as ensoulment of mummies, statues and even temples.

Papyrus Hunefer with depiction of the Opening of the Mouth CeremonyPeseschkaf - Tool for the Opening of the Mouth CeremonyPainting in Tutankhamun's tomb depicting the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony

Good News for Dolphins off Hurghada's Coast

More precisely for the Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) related to the family of dolphins, which have to share now the south-western corner of the Fanous reef off Hurghada's coast just with divers and snorkelers. The area is closed for vessels since mid-December due to a decree by the reponsible governor on the initiative of HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association). The Dolphin Sanctuary is a first step to protect the sensitive animals and bring back their populations in the northern Red Sea that have been moving further and further south. HEPCA also published a code of conduct for divers, snorkelers and swimmers approaching wild dolphins.

Location of Fanous Reef off Hurghada's coastIndo-pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus)

Botanic Walk in El-Gezira, Luxor West Bank

Always wanted to know which kinds of plants blossom and green in Luxor? Now you will have occasion to extend your knowledge:
On Friday, 30th of December, 2011 Claude Chauvineau and Elvira Grünert will take you to interesting native plants growing in El-Gezira. Claude is a French gardening engineer - rare exotic plants are his hobby. Elvira is a writer and organises German speaking cultural events in Luxor.
Meeting: 2 pm in front of Africa Restaurant. Duration: about 2 hours (1 - 2 km)
Fee: 20 LE for the English, German and French speaking tour including a list of plants with short English descriptions.

Hyphaene thebaica - Doum Palm or Gingerbread Tree Bauhinia variegata - Orchid Tree or Camel's Foot Tree

Opening of the Sphinx Avenue on Occasion of ITB 2012 Berlin, Luxor East Bank

During an inspection tour of Luxor’s archaeological sites, the Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim announced that 150 metres of the Avenue of Sphinxes will be opened to public on 13th of March 2012 at the same time as the opening of the International Tourism Market in Berlin (ITB). In 1966, Egypt was one of five countries which joined the very first ITB and will be the official partner country in 2012.
However, on ITB's website one can read that the market already will take place from 7th to 11th of March 2012 - so let's see when exactly the opening of the Avenue of Sphinxes will take place. And: 150 metres - that's just 5.5% of the 2700 metres long processional way!

Sphinx Avenue at the Luxor Temple, Luxor East Bank  Egypt, official partner country of ITB Berlin

Luxor Times, Issue 7, Now Available

The new issue of Luxor Times is out and avaliable at the known places in Luxor for just 5 LE.

Luxor Times, Issue 7  Luxor Times Logo

Lecture: TT37 Tomb of Harwa, Luxor East Bank

The next Mummification Museum lecture will take place on Monday, 26th of December, 7 pm. Francesco Tiradritti will speak about the huge tomb of Harwa, which is located in el-Asasif and never was open to the public. Tthe Italian Archaeological Mission has carried out excavations in the tomb since 1995. Harwa held the position of the Chief Steward of the Divine Wife. But a shabty discovered in the tomb shows Harwa holding in his hands the characteristic emblems of a pharaonic royalty and gives evidence that he was the actual ruler of the whole of southern Egypt on behalf of the pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty.

El-Asasif - TT37, Tomb of Harwa, ©Harwa 2001 ONLUSTT37, Tomb of Harwa - Plan, ©Harwa 2001 ONLUS

The Ancient Egyptian Tree of Love

It was most popular in Ancient Egypt because of delivering shadow with its dense foliage, for its fruits, which were deemed to reduce the level of sugar in the blood, and for its wood that was used for ships, furniture and coffins of the dead. It was a manifestation of the Goddess Hathor during the Old Kingdom, a personification of the Goddess Nut in the early New Kingdom and is multiply mentioned in the Holy Bible: Ficus sycomorus, called the sycamore fig, the fig-mulberry or sycomore, is an huge 25 m tall tree, which seems never to blossom but brings out a plenty of fruits. It doesn't know seasons - shed leaves whenever it likes. However, the most unusual thing is its partnership with a wasp.
Nowadays, the ancient tree that has been cultivated in Egypt since the third millennium BC is critically endangered - the wasp, which is responsible for the pollination of the tree became already extinct in Egypt. Also making it difficult for the tree to proliferate is the fact that it does not create a proper seed. The only (artificial) way to make sure that the tree will survive is by making cuttings. Hopefully, the tree of love, which used to grow in every village in Egypt, will not be a plant that can just be admired on paintings in the Tombs of the Nobles at Western Thebes.

Sycamore fig © Peter von Sengbusch Sycamore fig - Fruits  TT1, Tomb of Sennedjem - Nut in a sycamore fig

Tomb of Irunefer Reopened, Luxor West Bank

TT1, the tomb of Sennedjem, ist closed from now on. Instead the tomb of Irunefer (TT290) is open to the public, maybe again for a limited period only. It's located in Deir El-Medina, the village of the craftsmen, west of the Temple of Hathor. Irunefer was probably a "Servant in the Place of Truth", i.e. he worked in the Theban Necropolis. His tomb was discovered in 1922.

TT290 Tomb of Irunefer, Deir el Medina, Luxor West BankTT290 Tomb of Irunefer, Deir el Medina, Luxor West BankTT290 Tomb of Irunefer, Deir el Medina, Luxor West Bank

Lectures at Mummification Museum, Luxor East Bank

On 18th of December 2011 the weekly lectures about archaeological projects and discoveries will restart at Mummification Museum. The first lecture will be given by Edwin Brock on the work in the Tomb of Merenptah (KV8) in the Valley of the Kings. Pease pass on: Sunday, 18th of December, 7 pm!

Mummification Museum, Luxor East BankKV8, Tomb of Merenptah, Valley of the KingsKV8, Tomb of Merenptah - Goddess Heh, © Francis Dzikowski

5th National Festival of Sticking, Luxor East Bank

From Saturday 17th to Wednesday 21st of December 2011 you are invited to attend the 5th National Festival of Sticking held from 17 to 21 December 2011 at Abu el-Haggag Square in Luxor. Stick dance with 4 feet long wooden sticks (tahtīb) is a traditional martial art originated in pharaonic Egypt and still popular in modern-day Egypt.

Festival Program:
★ 17/12/2011 Opening Ceremony
from 3 - 5 pm: Sticking players show accompanied by Flute Group
from 7 - 8 pm: Qena Folk Arts Troupe and Luxor Folk Arts Troupe
★ 18/12/2011
from 3 - 5 pm: Sticking players show accompanied by Flute Group
from 7 - 8 pm: Asuit Folk Arts Troupe
★ 19/12/2011
from 3 - 5 pm: Sticking players show accompanied by Flute Group
from 7 - 8 pm: Souhag Folk Arts Troupe
★ 20/12/2011
from 3 - 5 pm: Sticking players show accompanied by Flute Group
from 7 - 8 pm: Asuit Folk Arts Troupe
★ 21/12/2011
Closing Ceremony with several speeches and Final Show of Folk Arts Troupes of Luxor, Quena and Malawy (no starting time mentioned)

5th National Festival of Sticking in Luxor - Poster Stick-fighting Men in the Tomb of Kheruef, El-Asasif, Luxor West Bank 4th National Festival of Sticking in Luxor, © National Festival of Sticking

New Hope for Diabetics by Egyptian Pills?

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia), also called Bitter gourd or Balsam pear is a popular traditional folk remedy in Asia and Africa for a long time. It is used for diabetes, worm attack, bladder stones, fever, and gastric ulcers. Now it is to be turned into tablets that Egyptian scientists hope will provide an alternative to insulin injections.
Bitter melon extract has a chemical structure similar to bovine insulin. Usually, insulin has to be injected because it is broken down by stomach enzymes if taken orally. The researchers succeeded now to extract the active ingredient of the plant by a new method and to turn it into pills with a special coating that prevents stomach enzymes from breaking it down.
Bitter melon belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae and needs hot, sandy locations - no problem at all in Egypt. But critics say it is unlikely that the unmodified bitter melon extract will alone be adequate treatment for full-blown diabetes. Maybe the pills might make a valuable addition to the tool box.

Bitter melon - DrawingBitter melon - Ripe fruit, © H. ZellBitter melon - FruitsBitter melon - Unripe fruits, © H. Zell

Meeting with Luxor's Elected Member of Parliament

At midday today Dr. Abdel Mawgoud Rageh Dardery, candidate of the Freedom & Justice Party (FJP), invited tourists and inhabitants of Luxor to come to Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel and ask questions.
Dr. Abdel Mawgoud Rageh Dardery lived in the United States for a long time. Last he acted as a lecturer for English language at the South Valley University in Luxor. He belongs to the FJP, the political party of the conservative islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which is regardless of name open for women and Christians, too. The group's popularity derives from the fact that they run charity organisations like hospitals and welfare centres, teach the illiterate, organise feeding the poor, and create jobs for the youth. Because the FJP is often mentioned together with the extremist islamist Salafists many questions of the audience refered to the party's approach to tourism. Dr. Abdel Mawgoud Rageh Dardery affirmed that tourism will keep its role as a major revenue source in Egypt as well as that the pharaonic heritage will always be a appreciated part of Egyptian history.

Dr. Abdel Mawgoud Rageh Dardery, FJPAudience at Sofitel Winter Palace HotelInvitation card of the FJP

Balady Music, Luxor West Bank

On Sunday, 11th of December, 8 pm an evening of Balady Music with Ali and his Band will take place at Marsam Hotel. Entrance fee: 10 LE. If you would like to eat before the performance call to reserve a place: Tel. 01003426471.

Marsam Hotel, Luxor West Bank Marsam Hotel, Luxor West Bank

Total Lunar Eclipse, 10th of December, 2011, Luxor

Tomorrow afternoon a total lunar eclipse can be seen in Egypt. It will be the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the first very extraordinary one occured in June 2011.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon. When the moon travels completely into the center of earth’s shadow, one observes a total lunar eclipse with reddened light. It can only happen at full moon.
The partial moon eclipse starts at 02:45 pm. The totality begins at 04:05:42 pm. The mid-eclipse will be at 04:31:49. Totality ends at 04:57:58 pm, partial at 6:18 pm.

Beginning of the Total Lunar Eclipse over Luxor on 15th June, 2011 Moon in Cairo © Reuters

Egyptian Marathon on 27th of January, 2012, Luxor West Bank

On 27th of January, the 19th Egyptian Marathon will take place in Luxor. You may decide between 4 distances: Marathon (42,195 km), Luxor Run (22,289 km), Ramses Run & Walk (12,336 km) - or Kid's Run (5 km). The race will start (7:00 a.m.) and end (1:00 p.m.) beneath Hatshepsut Temple on the West Bank of Luxor. The street there leeds to the actual circular course at the length of almost 10 km (for marathon one run it 4 times).
Also for inline skaters and wheelchair users.
Participation fee: 70 EUR. Dead line: 31st of December, 2011.
Follow the links for more information, application form and race map.

Egyptian Marathon Luxor, Westbank  Luxor Marathon - Runners  Luxor Marathon - Start

5-Year Existence of the Nile Hospital Naqada

In Ancient Egypt Naqada was the main cultic site for the God Seth. Nowadays the town, which is situated about 40 km north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile, has 150,000 inhabitants and is well-known for its Nile Hospital.
The hospital opened in September 2006. Its first-rate reputation is not least based on the fact that annually three Swiss medical specialists spend a couple of months in Naqada and share knowledge with the local Egyptian doctors. Specialists from Cairo and Qena complete the regular team on a daily basis.
The Nile hospital is operated by Egyptian Medical Services (EMES) and supported by a Christian charity called Services along the Nile, based in Switzerland. The association prefers socially and economically low developed rural areas for its supported projects. The funding come from Swiss churches, single donors, and charities but in the meantime the hopsital is able to self-finance 50 per cent.
The Nile Hospital provides primary health care and has available two surgeries, laboratory, radiology, delivery room, intensive-care unit and more than regionally renowned neonatal intensive care unit. The sleep laboratory, in which people with snoring and daytime sleepiness (sleep apnoea) are treated is singular in Upper Egypt.
Hygienics and medical equipments conform to western standards. For stationary care there are 24 beds (including rooms with single bed). Annually 500 patients are hopitalised. In 2009, 15,000 Muslim and Christian persons got outpatient treatment.
In order to get to know when the excellent internist Dr. Hany Abadir and the other specialists are available for consultation in the Nile Hospital call the reception: 096 / 6605-613, -614.

Nile Hospital Naqada - Building, ©Alfred Zahn Nile Hospital Naqada - Foyer, ©Alfred Zahn

Nile Hospital Naqada

Brian Flynn - Art Exhibition, Luxor West Bank

From Friday, 9th of December 2011, the English artist Brian Flynn shows selected paintings at El Nakhil Hotel foyer. A part of his works will be displayed there constantly while others can be seen just during the exhibition opening, which starts at 5 pm. In the course of it the artist will make a speech. Afterwards you will have occasion for dinner on the hotel's roof terrace restaurant.
Flynn lives on Luxor's west bank since 6 years. His impressive, gorgeous, for the most part large-sized paintings (acrylic on canvas and watercolors) show religious motifs as well as daily life scenes.

Brian Flynn: La illaha... Brian Flynn: ...illallah

Brian Flynn: Sesame  Brian Flynn: Naama  Brian Flynn: Ragab

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