Exploring Cairo and Memphis Egypt

Guest Post: Ruth Elayne Kongaika

I never in my lifetime imagined I would find myself in Cairo, Egypt, but it has happened. My husband, my 86-year-old father and myself traveled to Northern Africa to be with our son and his family who are stationed there.

Egypt is a mysterious country we read about in the Bible and listen to news bytes about on the nightly news (and not always in a positive light). Self absorbed Pharoahs have left colossal monuments to themselves, which have made them unforgettable.

The extensive Nile River seems to defy nature by flowing northward towards the Mediterranean and giving life to a stretch of parched sandy covered Sahara. Gliding on a falucca guided by a toothless navigator up and down the Nile stands out as one of the favorite things we did in Egypt. The city lights of Cairo belied the impoverished state of much of the massive capital. Over 12 million people call it their home making it the most populated city in Africa.Sailing the Nile near Cairo, Egypt 2013

My son attempted to educate us on Egyptian history and culture by filling our days with trips to museums, citadels, mosques, pyramids, temples, as well as cities of the living and dead. It was like having a whole textbook full of Egypt stuffed into one week.

We had begun training for our trip to the land of sphinxes by biking and walking as often as we could, but nothing could have prepared us for the intense heat of the noonday sun in April. Unless you have very thick hair, you might want to don a hat to avoid getting sunburned on your bald spot like my husband did. There are only two seasons in Egypt with November through March usually cooler than the rest of the year. Warm winds from the desert whip fine dust around which clouds the air.

Our family live in a suburb of Cairo where many expats live. Bougainvilleas and palm trees colorize the monochromatic landscape.

One of the first places we visited was The Triad of Memphis. This is the ancient capital of Lower Egypt. I thought Memphis was only in Tennessee, but I was wrong. Few ruins of what used to be a prosperous dynasty still remain. The prophet Jeremiah had prophesied that Memphis would be desolate. Prepare your baggage for exile, daughter living in Egypt, for Memphis will become a desolate place. It will become a ruin without inhabitant. Jeremiah 46:19. 

Ramses II at Memphis, Egypt Copyright REK

And here we were! I wondered if I was at risk, since many people had expressed their concern before I left, knowing I was headed for Egypt. Fortunately, we had a great tour guide who was a good friend to my son. We learned that many chariot factories were anciently located in Memphis as well as richly decorated edifices adorned with gold and precious stones.Head of Goddess Hathor, Memphis, Egypt (Limestone) Copyright REK

The temple of Ptah, where many pharaohs were crowned, was built by Seti and remnants are in Memphis. Colossal statues of Ramses II once stood in front of the temple, two of which still exist. We were fortunate enough to see one of them. It now lays horizontally inside a protective building where you can look down on it. The statue has a cartouche (emblem identifying the image) engraved on the right shoulder, on the belt and on the breast.

Not too far from Ramses II is a sphinx carved from a single block of alabaster weighing eight tons. It is believed to have flanked the entryway to the temple of Ptah.Sphinx at Memphis, Egypt


I plan to write much more about our amazing trip to Egypt, so stay tuned.


Ruth Elayne Kongaika was raised in the mainland, USA, and has been living in the South Pacific for the past forty years. She enjoys trying to capture the beauty of the islands through her photography, painting and writing. She has a blog which shares some of her art and favorite subjects at:


email: kongaikr@byuh.edu


Traveling to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and The Holy Lands

 Traveling to Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco and the Holy Lands offer everything from stunning natural scenery to world-class cities to some of the planet’s most important cultural and historical landmarks. From the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to the amazing sights of Istanbul, this region offers a dizzying array of incredible places to see and interesting things to do.


The Sphinx and Pyramid in EgyptThe cradle of the Ancient Egyptian civilization and some of the world’s most historic landmarks, Egypt is both fascinating and exhilarating. Travelers will find many exciting Egypt Tours availble. Cairo boasts a wealth of world-renowned museums and historic sites to explore such as the famed Egyptian Museum, Tahrir Square and the Giza Zoo while the beautiful city of Alexandria boasts attractions like the Library of Alexandria, the Citadel of Qaitbay and the Alexandria National Museum. Other must-see landmarks and destinations in Egypt include the iconic Giza Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the Ancient Egyptian ruins of Saqqara and Memphis.


Ancient roman columns and paved streets in Jerash, JordonAn ancient and beautiful land, Jordan is home to some of the world’s most important cultural sites and stunning natural scenery all around. The archeological ruins of Petra are nothing short of astounding and are among the country’s premier attractions while the capital city of Amman plays host to fascinating Ancient Roman ruins and the must-see National Archeological Museum.


The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey.Turkey boasts wondrous landscapes, ancient ruins to explore and some of the world’s greatest cities. Istanbul holds nearly 2,000 years of history and culture to discover as well as architectural treasures like Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. It also boasts interesting historical sites such as the Galata Tower and the Old City Walls and a wide array of world-renowned museums like the Museum of Archeology. Another top destination in Turkey is the city of Antalya, known for its beautiful beaches and dramatic seaside scenery. Other top attractions and destinations in Turkey include Mount Nemrut, the ancient ruins of Ephesus and Ani, the breathtaking Mediterranean coastline and the bustling capital city of Ankara.


Ksar Ait Benhaddou in Souss-Massa-Dral along the Ouarzazate River. Morocco.This North African nation offers much to see and do as well. A leading destination is the famous city of Casablanca, renowned for its cafes, shops, galleries and historic sites like Old Medina. The historic city of Fez is known for its stunning medieval and ancient architecture while the capital city of Rabat hosts great museums like the National Archeological Museum and sites of interest like the stunning Royal Palace, Old Medina and the ruins of Chellah. Outside of its major cities, Morocco sports top destinations like the elegant beaches of Agadir and the ancient coastal town of Essaouira.

Holy Land

Saint Town JerusalemThe Holy Land offers a wealth of fascinating sites for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Jerusalem in particular offers amazing attractions like the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the fascinating Israel Museum. Other premier destinations and attractions in the Holy Land region include the stunning Mount Sinai, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the beautiful Sea of Galilee.

Interested in visiting these and many other cultural and historical landmarks in the area? Travelers will find many Egypt travel packages are available to fit any budget.

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