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Living in Luxor - News in and around Luxor in May 2013


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Chinese Scribblings at Luxor Temple, Luxor East Bank

While obviously nobody noticed it in Luxor, it created a stir in China and reached the international press then: A Chinese blogger had documented the defacement of an ancient relief in Luxor Temple's sanctuary and spread the evidence photo with the big Chinese letters saying "Ding Jinhao was here". Ding Jinhao, the teenager, who tampered with the temple wall, bitterly regrets his wrongdoing and also his parents hurried to apologise publicly for their obviously bad breeding. In the meantime, the graffito, which was according to Mansour Boraik just superficial, has been removed by Egyptian restoration experts.
Much ado about nothing? Not really. Definitely, it wasn't too bad to raise awareness for a more respectful handling of a milleniums-old cultural heritage, which - mind you - has only survived up to now because it was buried deep in the sand most of the time. I had to witness with my very eyes that (French) tourists scratched the ceiling of the gorgeously decorated tomb chamber of Sennedjem at Deir el Medina with their finger nails - just for fun. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case as you can read in the article Egypt's Monuments in Danger - Current Looting and Decades of Tacky Tourists ...

Chinese graffito at Luxor Temple

Impressions of the Open Day at the International German School, Luxor East Bank

Today, we had the oportunity to learn more about the school system of the International German School in Luxor, which meets German requirements as well as Egyptian. Girls and boys are co-educated.
Currently, the school is placed in a provisional building in the middle of Luxor, which is of limited suitability. Insha'allah there will be a better solution at the beginning of the coming school year. An important advantage of the school are the small classes, which enable an individual support for the students.

International German School Luxor - Building International German School Luxor - First grade

International German School Luxor - Third grade

International German School Luxor International German School Luxor

International German School Luxor - Kindergarten

International German School Luxor - Fifth grade

Opening Ceremony of "The Small Pyramid", Luxor West Bank

The staff of "The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor" has accomplished an stupendous achievement at a record time. In their January newsletter it was said that the fitout of the new building would need 6 months. However, already today, the visitors, among them the Governor of Luxor, Dr. Ezzat Saad, could gaze a nicely equipped bulding with rooms for physiotherapy, consulting, treatment, fitness, needleworks and meetings as well as roofed playgrounds around the house.
How can you support "The Small Pyramid"? The mothers of the supported children make clothes and handicraft for sale. Soon, there will be a offer for women's gym on a regular basis (of which more later). And of course you can donate or sponsor a child. Further information on the website of "The Small Pyramid".

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - New building The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - New building

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Playground

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Fitness room The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Surgery couch

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Sewing room

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Needleworks The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Handmade clothes

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Opening ceremony with the Gouvernor, © Stefan Gerke

Open Day at the International German School, Luxor East Bank

You always wanted to know how a normal day in the kindergarten or the school classes of the International German School in Luxor proceeds? On the Open Day on Thursday, 9 May 2013 you will have occasion to do it from 11 am to 4 pm. Beside that you can talk to the students and get information from the teachers as well as from the principal.
Youssef Hassan Street 10 (begins at Emilio Hotel - yellow in the plan) Luxor

IDS - Logo Site plan of the IDS, © IDS IDS - Students, © IDS

New Building for “The Small Pyramid”, Luxor West Bank

"The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor" is a charity for sick and needy children living in the areas around Luxor, founded in Trier (Germany) in 1998 and financed by donations. Since 2005 “The Small Pyramid” has its own office with a doctor’s surgery practice in Geziret el-Be'irat (Luxor west bank). Already at the beginning of 2007, a centre for children, therapy and education started to work.
The multifarious and growing tasks of the “The Small Pyramid” called for a bigger building. Earlier this year they could purchase a structurally complete 3-storeyed house on a plot with 450 square metres in a quiet backstreet by the Nile. The interior construction developped quickly: The new centre will open its doors the day after tomorrow, on Wednesday 8 May 2013, 10 am, attended by the Governor of Luxor. You are all cordially invited to take part!
To find “The Small Pyramid” enter the small street opposite of Gezira Garden Hotel, turn into the next street on the right and you will be there.

The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor - Logo © The Small Pyramid Organization Luxor

Tuk-Tuks on Luxor's West Bank

"Tuk-Tuk" is a onomatopoeic word that imitates the engine noise of the three-wheeled auto rickshaws. We already knew the cabin cycles, which were imported by the Egyptian firm Ghabbour Auto (GB) from India since about 10 years, from other Egyptian cities. Since the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 they became more popular. According to estimates 500,000 tuk-tuks run on Egypt's streets giving 750,000 mostly young men an income. In July 2012, they were even honoured by the Cairo office of the United Nations Population Fund to help to reduce the mortality rate of pregnant women in Egypt’s countryside because midwives can be transported faster to their bedsides due to the manoeuvrable and off-road vehicles.
Some time ago tuk-tuks found their way into Luxor's west bank. To my great joy (I came back to the west bank with my heavy shopping) they wait for passengers right next to the ferry dock. Today, they were two - brandnew and immediately taken, one by me :-). At the price of a normal taxi (tuk-tuks have to pay taxes like taxis) I was carried home. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable one can sit therein even in the case of roadway damages. Furthermore, a single passenger has an ample space for his/her shopping. In short, tuk-tuks are a wonderful alternative to taxis.

Tuk-Tuks at the ferry dock on Luxor's west bank Tuk-Tuk at the ferry dock on Luxor's west bank

Happy (Coptic) Easter and Sham El-Nessim

Today, on 5 May 2013, after 55 days of eschewal of meat, chicken and fish the Coptic Christians celebrate their Easter feast. Tomorrow, on Easter Monday, both Muslims and Christians welcome the first day of spring. The holiday can be traced back as far as 2700 BC, when "Shemu" was a religious festival celebrated on the vernal equinox by the Ancient Egyptians. On Sham El-Nessīm ("Smelling the Zephyrs = west winds") the wind is believed to have a wonderfully beneficial effect. That's why at the crack of dawn Egyptians meet to spend all day out having a picnic in public gardens, on the Nile, or by the sea. The traditional food eaten on this day consists mainly of ful midammis, fasīch (dried, salted fish), lettuce, scallions and ... coloured boiled eggs :-).
By the way, natural egg colours were also used in Egypt: onion skins for golden brown eggs, curcuma for yellow, maté for lime green, red cabbage for lilac red, hibiscus flowers for red and cacao for brown eggs.

Sham Nessīm - PicnicSham Nessīm - Coloured boiled eggsSniffing the breeze

Let There Be Light! - Information for House Builders and Landlords, Luxor West Bank

A new electrical shop opened in El-Be'irat in the district of Rozqa. Beside all important utensils for a complete electrical installation while building a house (flush-mounted and finishing coat) like sockets, cables, lines etc. the shop keeps in stock

  • wall, ceiling and table lamps,
  • (coloured) bulbs, fluorescent lamps and energy saving bulbs,
  • rooftop dishes and satellite receivers (also with European technology),
  • air conditioners and fans,
  • water pumps, water filter systems for drinking water purification (with 3 and 5 filters), electric water jugs and cooling boxes for drinks,
  • motors for washing machines, food processors, remote controls and much more - the good assortment will steadily increase.

Beside selling there is also a repair service for electric appliances.
Opening hours: daily 8am - 1pm (Fridays 8am - 11:30am) and 3:30pm - 12pm
Directions: Coming from the main street cross the Laqalta Bridge and turn left. Passing a couple of houses the electrical shop is located on the right-hand side right beside the Pharmacy of Dr. Emad (opposite of the Rozqa Bridge).
Further Information: 01226 555 972 (English and Egyptian)

Electrical shop "Nour al-Islam", Rozqa, Luxor West Bank

Electrical shop "Nour al-Islam", Rozqa, Luxor West Bank

Electrical shop "Nour al-Islam", Rozqa, Luxor West Bank Electrical shop "Nour al-Islam", Rozqa, Luxor West Bank

Heracleion - Egyptian Treasures Sunken in the Mediterranean Sea

When in 2010 the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio geolocated the city of Heracleion with newest technological methods 6,5 km off today's Egyptian coastline 10 metres deep in the sea, the city had been vanished without a trace for 1500 years. By then it was only known from ancient texts like Herodot's Iliad that it had really existed and now it was also clear that Heracleion was identical with the ancient Egyptian city of "Thonis".
Here, in the Bay of Aboukir, Goddio discovered settlements, temples and shipwrecks, stelae, jewelry, statues, cult objects and coins - well protected by clay, sand and sediments. Now he was able to reconstruct the city and to create a picture of the everyday life:
Once built on several islands off the Egyptian Mediaterranean coast, Heracleion was an important religious centre and Egypt's main port for the trade with Greece between 550 and 331 BC (so long before the foundation of Alexandria). When in 750 BC a part of the Egyptian coast submerged after several natural catastrophes the gorgeous town along with its artifacts and the legendary Temple of Heracles was lost without trace (Heracles was equated to the Egyptian god Khonsu).
During 13 years of underwater excavations Franck Goddio and his team of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) rediscovered 64 shipwrecks and 700 anchors dating back to the time between the 8th and the 2nd century BC. They salvaged gold coins, bronze weights, small and giant statues, some of them were already displayed in exhibitions in Europe.
PREMIERE: On Saturday 11 May at 8.15 pm the brand-new documentary "Egypt’s Sunken City - A Legend Is Revealed" is to be shown on the German television station ARTE. It provides a fascinating insight into the work of underwater archaeologists and presents the most important discoveries that have been made in Heracleion. It's a must see!

Heracleion: Rekcnstruktion of the city, © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, graphics: Yann Bernard

Heracleion: 5 metre high red granite statue of a pharao with divers, © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, Christoph Gerigk

Heracleion: Colossal statue of red granite (5.4 m) representing the god Hapi, which decorated the temple of Heracleion, © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, Christoph Gerigk Heracleion: Statue of a Ptolemaic Queen (Cleopatra II or III) made from dark stone, dressed as Goddess Isis, © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, Christoph Gerigk

Heracleion: A gold vessel (Phiale) for drinking and pouring libations, © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, Christoph Gerigk

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