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The Step Pyramid of Djoser, located just 19 miles outside of Giza, is the oldest pyramid in Egypt. Though there are a couple of other competitors, it may also be the oldest known cut-stone building complex in the world. Today it is the centerpiece of the necropolis of Saqqara, a large cemetery that served the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis for more than 3,000 years. The Great Pyramids of Egypt were also a necropolis, though they were reserved solely for the burial of Pharaohs. In comparison, the...

The post PHOTO: Step Pyramid of Djoser is the Oldest Known Pyramid in Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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I’d long wanted to visit the Egyptian pyramids, but kept putting it off due to scheduling and concerns over safety in the region. Last fall, I finally made it. One of the biggest surprises for most travelers is the location of the pyramids. Photos show them surrounded by sand, as if they are solitary structures far out in the desert. In truth, they are located on the opposite side of a busy street that fronts the archeological park in Giza, the city located just across the river from...

The post PHOTO: Great Pyramid of Giza, also Known as Pyramid of Khufu appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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When our traditional dahabiya stopped for a visit in the small village of El Kab, Egypt, children flocked to the dock to sell their handmade baskets. This little girl, however, was more interested in drawing on a nearby stone wall with a piece of charcoal. Extracting myself from the fray, I wandered over to see what she was doing. With no shared language, we couldn’t communicate, but I tried to convey that I liked her creations with sign language and smiles. She flashed a shy smile of appreciation,...

The post PHOTO: Young Artist in the Village of El Kab, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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Kom Ombo Temple may be the most unique temple in Egypt, as it is the only one dedicated to two gods. Beyond the double entry are two separate but connected Hypostyle halls where reliefs of the gods have been carved into massive sandstone columns. The falcon-headed god Horus commands on the left side, while the right side is the domain of the crocodile god, Sobek. Beyond the entry hall, symmetrical sanctuaries, halls, and courts lie on either side of the center line, equal in everything but the deity...

The post PHOTO: Kom Ombo Temple in Upper Egypt Was Dedicated to Two Gods appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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A fat bumble bee lumbered across the stern of our boat. He circled a few times before realizing the yellow rope and orange life preserver weren’t flowers, then turned and headed back to the island where we were anchored. A black and white Kingfisher crossed his path, gliding impossibly close to the blue-green water of the Nile. With each flap, the tips of his wings barely grazed the water. Rather than scattering the schools of silver fishes below, the disturbance caused them to jump. To their death. There...

The post Rebirth on the Nile: Sailing on a Traditional Dahabiya with Nour El Nil appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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Sailing the Nile River with Nour El Nil in a recreated traditional Dahabiya boat allowed us to put in at smaller sites that cannot be accessed by larger vessels. El Kab, a small village south of Luxor, Egypt, was one such site. In addition to visiting the ancient city of Nekheb, which is located a short distance behind the present day village of El Keb, we enjoyed bartering to buy these baskets that local kids make from candy wrappers. Disclosure: My Nile River Cruise was partially hosted by...

The post PHOTO: Children Sell Baskets Made of Candy Wrappers in El Kab, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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Interior of the Tomb of Sennedjem at Temple of the Artisans at Deir el Medina in Luxor, Egypt. Though every one of the tombs has a prominent sign saying “no photos,” in many cases an Egyptian guide would follow me inside and allow photos in return for baksheesh (a bribe). In most instances I declined, but this particular tomb was so beautiful that I did pay for the privilege of taking a photo. Of course, all my photos are taken without flash, so I was not guilty of...

The post PHOTO: Tomb of Sennedjem, Temple of the Artisans in Luxor, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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I looked up from my yogurt and fresh fruit just as a wonderfully strange bird landed on the low wall around the rooftop of Beit Sabee Guest House. The Hoopoe is a fairly common bird in Egypt, but I’d never seen anything like it. His red-crested head swept backward to a perfect point, while his long stiletto beak arced downward – two ends of a double-tipped javelin. One beady black eye peered at me with curiosity. Slowly, I picked up my camera and snapped a photo. Seconds later...

The post Surviving the Touts at the Temples and Tombs of Luxor, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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On my way to the ancient tombs and temples in Luxor, Egypt, this woman invited me into her home to see her Egyptian traditional bread oven. The delicious smell of fresh-baked bread stopped me in my tracks as I wandered past her house. Lined up in a row on a stone bench were a dozen or so loaves of the flatbread that is so popular in Egypt. She spoke no English and I spoke not a word of Arabic, but somehow we made a connection and before I...

The post PHOTO: Egyptian Traditional Bread Oven in Luxor, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt is the second largest ancient religious site in the world, after the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Construction at the massive site began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom (between 2050 BC and 1710 BC), when the city was still known as Thebes, and continued into the times of the Ptolemaic Kingdom (around 305 BC). The site was revered by more than 30 different pharoaohs and each one added something more to the complex. The photo above...

The post PHOTO: The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.

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