From the earliest resthouses serving travelers on the Overland Route between Britain and Bombay to the grand Edwardian palaces on the Nile that made Egypt the exotic alternative to wintering on the Riviera, the hotels of Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan were always about far more than just bed and board. As bridgeheads for African exploration, neutral territories for conducting diplomacy, headquarters for armies, providers of home comforts for writers, painters, scholars, and archaeologists in the field, and social hubs for an international elite, more of importance happened in Egypt’s hotels than in any other setting. It was through the hotels that visitors from the west—the earliest adventurers, then the travelers and, finally, the tourists—experienced the Orient. This book tells the stories of Egypt’s historic hotels (including the Cecil, Shepheard’s, the Mena House, Gezira Palace, Semiramis, Winter Palace, and Cataract) and some of the people who stayed in them, from Amelia Edwards, Lucie Duff Gordon and Florence Nightingale to Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, and TE Lawrence.
Grand Hotels of Egypt
In the Golden Age of Travel
21 October 2015
274 illus., including 110 in color
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
Since Antony and Cleopatra honeymooned on the Nile on a gilded barge, visitors to Egypt have taken to the river as the best way to experience the country’s wonders. Early travelers took a dahabiya, an elegant triangular-sailed houseboat, and leisurely meandered from riverside site to site, for three months or more. Then from the late nineteenth century, Thomas Cook of Leicester, England, revolutionized the journey with a fleet of specially built paddle steamers. For the next sixty years these ‘floating palaces,’ with their private cabins, and dining, smoking, and viewing salons, red-uniformed dragoman guides, and organized donkey excursions, carried the aristocratic, moneyed, and adventurous of international society of the time Using period photography, and colorful vintage posters and advertising material, this book tells the story of the people, the places, and the boats, from pioneering Nile travelers like Amelia Edwards and Lucie Duff Gordon, through to famed later passengers, such as Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and, of course, Agatha Christie, whose staging of a death on the Nile only added to the allure....read more
15 May 2015
274 illus., including 110 in color
Past, Present and Future
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.
Egyptian Customs and Festivals
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
1 April 2007
20 color illus.
David Roberts’ Egypt
Lithographs by David Roberts, R.A.
David Roberts, born in 1796 near Edinburgh, was one of the most acclaimed landscape painters of the nineteenth century. In 1838 he left Europe for Egypt, where he drew all the main archaeological sites and Islamic monuments. These superb lithographs taken from his sketches and first published in London between 1842 and 1849 are a fine essay on his virtuosity and represent an unforgettable journey through time along the Nile Valley and across the Sinai peninsula....read more
266 color illus.
Cities, Citadels, and Sights of the Near East
Francis Bedford’s Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, the Levant, and Constantinople
Text by Sophie Gordon Badr El Hage
Francis Bedford’s Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, the Levant, and ConstantinopleText by Sophie Gordon
Badr El Hage
In 1862, the Prince of Wales, eldest son of Britain’s Queen Victoria, embarked on a grand tour of the Middle East, for his education and enlightenment. Accompanying the royal party was Francis Bedford, an accomplished practitioner of the still young art of photography, charged with taking views of the cities and historic places visited on the tour for the royal album. The result is an extraordinary collection of some of the best early photographs of Cairo and the temples of Upper Egypt, Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Lebanon and Damascus, Izmir and Constantinople. From timeless views of the Pyramids, the Dome of the Rock, Baalbek, and Hagia Sophia to scenes from another age of the streets of Cairo or tall ships on the Bosphorus, 120 of Bedford’s most outstanding photographs are showcased here in this fascinating visual tour of ancient lands in royal company....read more
1 October 2014