Faux Control – Edfu

15th May 2006

Another early morning and off to another temple, the temple of Horus at Edfu. This temple is the most intact temple ever found, its enclosure mud brick walls still survive, and its pylons are extremely impressive. It is a Greco-Roman temple and was built over a period of 180 years. Ramez showed us around and pointed out some interesting features of Egyptian temples that I had not previously known about. It was interesting to see that as you moved further and further into the temple, the floor got higher, and the ceiling got lower. Ramez took us right back to the sanctuary, where the cult statue once stood.

I went and found Dad and we went to have a look at the always nearby bazaar. The people at this particular bazaar were especially tricky, one man had this beautiful kaftan out the front and was yelling “Five Egyptian Pounds! Five Egyptian Pounds!” I thought that was fantastic and went in the store where I tried one on and then the man said, “Two Hundred Egyptian Pounds”, I’ve been had, I thought. I tried to walk out but the man would not let me, and he and another man blocked my way out of the shanty looking shop. Suddenly an arm reached in and grabbed me. It was Dad. Surprisingly he didn’t tell me off and just laughed.

At about 4pm, I got dressed for our next outing. The boat had docked at our next stop, a place called Kom Ombo, of which I had virtually no knowledge. There was another Greco-Roman Temple here, to Sobek and also to Horus.

It was very close to where we had docked so we got to walk there. Ramez told us all about this place, which although rather close to Edfu, seemed completely different. We stood in front of the temple and Ramez asked us what was different about it, I managed to get it right and say that the temple had no pylon at its entrance. Ramez told us that this temple had been used for centuries as a quarry by the locals and that was why it was less intact that the temple at Edfu.

Me at Kom Ombo Temple
Kom Ombo Temple

Ramez, showed us around the temple, which had been used as a hospital as the Egyptian god Sobek was associated with the Greek god of medicine and healing, Asklepious. He showed us the places where people would touch for luck and also outlines of footprints drawn on the ground, actual traces of the real people I had studied. Ramez showed us the sanctuary of Horus and pointed out a gap in the wall where the priests would stand and pretend to be the voice of the god when the Romans came to ask his advice. It was funny to think that although Rome thought they controlled the Egyptians, in this small way it was in fact the Egyptians who controlled Rome. He showed us a headless statue of a Roman Emperor and told us that many attempts had been made to find out who indeed this person was, still no one knew.

I wandered around some more and bought some earrings for the Galabaya Party that night, the people who sold them to me were Nubians I found out, the old enemies of the ancient Egyptians, now a displaced people with no country of their own. They truly were lovely and I barely had to haggle with them at all.

I wandered around some more and bought some earrings for the Galabaya Party that night, the people who sold them to me were Nubians I found out, the old enemies of the ancient Egyptians, now a displaced people with no country of their own. They truly were lovely and I barely had to haggle with them at all. All the people here seemed quite happy to chat to me without trying to get money out of me. I headed back to the ship, along the way I walked past a blue iron fence with many locals behind it, most of them hawking souvenirs, I tried not to look at them as this only seemed to encourage them. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a small Egyptian boy with a baby donkey, who was the same height as he was and thought that, right there, is truly priceless, I asked a policeman with a big machine gun to take a picture of me with the boy and the donkey and then gave the policeman a tip. I then offered a five Egyptian Pound tip to the boy’s nearby parents and was surprised when they pointed at the boy, I happily gave him the money.

I keep walking and people yelled at me from behind the fence “Pretty Girl, Pretty Girl, You Buy, You Buy” I completely ignored them but smiled to myself. I noticed that one man was selling the scarves I had wanted the day before from the people in the boats. He was yelling at me “Pretty Girl only fifty Egyptian Pounds!” then when he received no response, “Forty! No No! Thirty” I still gave no response and thought, I think I’m getting the hang of this, then “Twenty! Twenty!” “Twenty?” I said and walked up to him, “Pretty Girl you twist my arm” he said with a laugh as I bought two scarves for forty Egyptian pounds. As I boarded the ship, I wished I had bought more.

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