No land on earth has been so comprehensively observed as Egypt, which was attracting awestruck travelers back in the days of Herodotus and Julius Caesar. This rich and varied collection brings the diversity and the continuity of Egypt together to give a picture of this country, its many places, its long history, and its people: the pharoahs, sultans, pilgrims to Sinai, Crusaders, and Napoleon, followed by the Grand Tourists of the eighteenth century and those less grand with Thomas Cook in the nineteenth. The range of voices gathered here is dazzling: an ancient myth from a papyrus next to Naguib Mahfouz’s account of Alexandria, Florence Nightingale describing Abu Simbel side by side with Ahdaf Soueif’s description of Sinai. A description of medieval Cairo by Ibn Jubayr walks hand in hand with one of the modern city by the Egyptian thinker Taha Hussein. Lucie Duff-Gordon sails up the Nile, Edward Lane crawls through a sand-filled temple, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel struggles up the cataract above Aswan.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
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Also available by this author
From the Fourth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Sinai has long attracted travelers to its ancient caravan routes and haunting landscapes, and visitors have frequently left written accounts of their experiences. In this wide-ranging anthology, Deborah Manley and Sahar Abdel- Hakim have collected dozens of accounts and observations from travelers who have written about Sinai, its people, its sights, and its historical and biblical landmarks. Starting with Egeria, a fourth-century Christian who relates her visit to Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush, Traveling through Sinai offers a diverse collection of voices over the centuries. Among themare the German friar Felix Fabri, who visited in 1492, and nineteenth-century antiquarian William Flinders Petrie, giving his impressions of the Bedouins of the peninsula. French novelist Alexandre Dumas writes of meeting two monks in the desert carrying a letter signed by Napoleon, while others describe crossing the canal at Suez, the ancient inscriptions of Wadi Mukattab, and the harrowing experiences of desert travel....read more
16 b/w illus.
From the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first CenturyEdited by Deborah Manley
Until late in the nineteenth century, few guidebooks acknowledged the presence of women as travelers—although women had been traveling around the world for centuries. Women’s accounts of their journeys, distinct from those of male travelers, began to appear more frequently in the early nineteenth century, and Egypt was a popular destination. Women had more time to watch and describe; they were more dependent on the Egyptian staff; they spent time both in the harems of Cairo and with the women they met along the Nile. Some of them, like Sarah Belzoni, Sophia Poole, and Ellen Chennells, spoke Arabic. Others wrote engagingly of their experiences as observers of an exotic culture, with special access to some places no man could ever go. From Eliza Fay’s description of arriving in Egypt in 1779 to Rosemary Mahoney’s daring trip down the Nile in a rowboat in 2006, this lively collection of writing by over forty women travelers includes Lady Evelyn Cobbold, Isabella Bird, Winifred Blackman, Norma Lorimer, Harriet Martineau, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Edwards, and Lucie Duff Gordon....read more
20 b/w illus.
Past, Present and Future
Jean-Yves Empereur 8.95
Past, Present and FutureJean-Yves Empereur
During the 1990s the French archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur has conducted a series of remarkable excavations in the ancient city of Alexandria. His discoveries—both under water and on dry land—have considerably increased our knowledge of a city whose splendors and vast population amazed ancient travelers to the eastern Mediterranean. Founded in 331 bc by Alexander the Great, after whom it is named, Alexandria equaled Athens in its sphere of influence and rivaled Rome politically. A major center of Hellenistic, Jewish, and Christian culture, it was famed for its Library, its Mouseion and its magnificent palaces (home to Cleopatra and her ancestors), of which, sadly, no traces remain. However, Jean-Yves Empereur’s underwater excavations have recovered several thousand blocks from the famous lighthouse, which watched over the port from the third century bc until the fourteenth century and was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Meanwhile, the excavations of six further sites on land, including the catacombs at Kom el-Shuqafa and the necropolis at Gabbari, have provided much new information on the architecture, living conditions, religious practices, and artistic life of the city of Alexander and Cleopatra. In this book Empereur describes the methods he used to unearth these exciting and spectacular finds—often under very difficult conditions—and assesses the information they reveal about the life of the ancient city. The book is richly illustrated with dramatic photographs, most of them by Stéphane Compoint....read more
128 color photographs, 28 b/w illus.
Yesterday and Today
Lithographs and diaries by David Roberts, R.A. Text by Fabio Bourbon Photographs by Antonio Attini 24.95
Yesterday and TodayLithographs and diaries byDavid Roberts, R.A.
Text byFabio Bourbon
Photographs byAntonio Attini
David Roberts, one of the most skilled landscape artists of his time, set out for Egypt in 1838, where he made countless sketches of the most remarkable sites and monuments during the course of his eleven-month journey through Egypt, Sinai, and the Levant. Superb lithographs made from his work, first published between 1846 and 1848, are richly reproduced here in resplendent color, along with Roberts’s diary accounts of his travels along the Nile Valley from Alexandria to the fabulous Abu Simbel temples. Each illustration is accompanied by a photograph showing the same view more than 150 years later. Fabio Bourbon’s lucid essay introduces anew this nineteenth-century fine artist and contextualizes his images for the modern reader....read more
252 color illus.
How do Egyptian Muslims celebrate Ramadan? How do Copts—Egyptian Christians—celebrate Easter? What should you expect to find on the table when invited to eat in an Egyptian home? What do you say when an Egyptian colleague sneezes? Exactly what do Egyptians do with a mortar and pestle, a sieve, and a bag of nuts seven days after the birth of a baby? Samia Abdennour, once an outsider from Palestine, now thoroughly at home in Egypt, is here to tell you all about these matters—and many more. In a book that aims to introduce the unfamiliar newcomer or interested foreign reader to the hows, whats, and whys of Egyptians life, the author covers such diverse topics as birth, marriage, and death; religious festivals and fasting; food in the home and on the street; business etiquette and terms of politeness. She describes how some traditions differ between the two religious communities, the Muslims and the Copts, and how some customs are shared by all Egyptians—like the spring festival of Shamm al-Nisim (‘smelling the breezes’) that goes back to pharaonic times. With Egyptian Customs and Festivals, you need never be at a loss in a social situation in Egypt—or fail to understand what your neighbors are up to. Illustrated throughout with color photographs of daily life and special occasions, this fascinating and informative book is a must-have for anyone new to Egyptian culture....read more
20 color illus.
City of SandMaria Golia
Cairo is a 1,400-year old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people’s equanimity to the limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that color and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote, Cairo: City of Sand describes the city’s given circumstances and people’s attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world’s most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition, and bureaucracy in everyday life. The book explores Cairo’s relationship with its ‘others,’ from the French and British occupations to modern influences like tourism and consumerism. Cairo also discusses characteristic styles of communication, and linguistic memes, including slang, grandiloquence, curses, and jokes. Cairo exists by virtue of these interactions, synergies of necessity, creativity, and the presence or absence of power. Cairo, City of Sand reveals a peerless urban balancing act, and transmits the city’s overriding message: the breadth of the human capacity for loss, astonishment, and delight....read more