The Ancient Egyptians had very definite ideas about which buildings had to last for all eternity, and which ones did not. Obviously, the temples and tombs and chapels were meant to last for, as they put it themselves, Millions of Years. And so most of these were built in stone, and the remains we still have today are testimony to their building prowess. A million years may not be guaranteed, but they have certainly lasted several millennia! When you think of that, doesnt it blow the mind?
The daily dwellings of the ancients, however, were not as lucky. Not considered as important, they were usually built out of mud brick, and so have not stood the test of time as well as the stone monuments. Only where they were built close to the desert and so were preserved somewhat thanks to the dryness and heat of those places, can we catch a glimpse of ancient daily life. The village of Deir el Medina (see our Amazingly Wonderful Tiny Temples, Tombs and Shrines excursion) is one such place, and gives us a fascinating insight into how the people whose talented hands were responsible for the incredible tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived.
The other ruins that give us a tantalizing insight into an aspect of ancient daily life, and the only ones of their kind, are the outstretched remains of Amenhotep IIIs palace at Malqata. The walls, standing no more than a metre high now, still hold traces of the glorious colours that once adorned them and made this a place fit for a king (and his harem and other dependents). There are mounds and mounds of sand still left from the area he excavated there to make a huge artificial lake, and these mounds we can climb in search of some ancient pottery, and to enjoy the amazing view. The site is literally strewn with pottery bits, and some of them even still bear their original colours! It is an amazing feeling to hold one of these bits and realized that they were a part of an amphora a king used to hold his wine Okay, its a hopelessly romantic idea, but also quite true! :-)
As our exploration of this site will not take up the whole morning or afternoon, we will add another site, to be chosen together from the many wonders tucked away in the Theban hills and villages.
45 euros per person
Includes: set-up, transport, explanation, tickets
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