Wednesday, December 06, 2023

A Thousand Miles up the Nile: A Journey Through Ancient Egypt and Its Timeless Wonders

My book for November was A Thousand Miles up the Nile: A Journey Through Ancient Egypt and Its Timeless Wonders by Amelia B. Edwards. The Egyptian Viking tour guide recommended while we were on our trip in October.

The book is a travelogue that offers a fascinating glimpse into 19th-century Egypt. Edwards, a skilled writer and keen observer, recounts her journey up the Nile River, describing the ancient monuments, landscapes, and people she encounters along the way. The book is rich in historical detail, archaeological insights, and personal anecdotes.

Edwards visited a number of sites that we visited including: the Edfu Temple; Philae; the Kom Ombo Temple; Abel Simbel; the Temple of Ensa; the Valley of the Kings; the Dendera Temple; Karnak; the Luxor Temple; the Sakkara Step Pyramid; the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx. When she visited, many of the places, particularly the smaller temples, were partially covered with sand.

Amelia Edwards's trip up the Nile lasted approximately three to four months. It began in December 1873 and ended sometime in March or April 1874. As result, she visited a lot of more places than we did. I have started a list of some of the more interesting ones. I am not sure that we will ever go back to Egypt, but I can see us taking one or more grandkids to Cairo and Petra. I am still interested in seeing the Grand Egyption Museum when it finally opens.

I enjoyed the book. I found the section of the book exploring the Nile past the first cataract at Aswan particularly interesting. This section of the Nile has been flooded by Lake Nassar. Edwards went as far as the second cataract that existed in North Sudan prior to the Aswan High Dam. It is hard to believe that Lake Nassar is roughly 300 miles long.

It's important to note that Edwards' book is written from a colonialist perspective, reflecting the attitudes and biases of her time. I recommend the book, but only as a supplement to a trip to Egypt and a Nile cruise.

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