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Bringing Egyptian Heritage to Life

Bringing Egyptian Heritage to Life

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Bringing Egyptian Heritage to Life
Tarek In Historic Cairo   Low

Tarek Swelim with the group in Historic Cairo

Picture Cairo during the most important Eid of the year. Weddings at the hotel every night. Brightly lit party boats cruising the Nile. Light traffic (if you can imagine it) in Garden City. Cool mornings and warm afternoons greeted us each day along with sounds of celebration and leisure each evening.

We enjoyed the best tour ever this past November as 13 intrepid travels from across the U.S. came together to experience Egypt through the lens of ARCE preservation initiatives. Designed for first-time (and it was suggested second-time or third-time) travelers to see the iconic, must-see sites of Giza and the Egyptian Museum, Egyptians on holiday outnumbered tourists by a 10-to-1 ratio, offering a true glimpse of Cairenes at play.

The crowds in Cairo were light as we navigated the streets during the Eid Al-Adha. While the Khan el Khalili was at less than half the normal crowd level and vendors were intent on making the sale, they were still friendly. Many of our group became great negotiators, learning the dance, and giving in a bit at the end. After all, these are hard economic times for many there.

Nov 9 St  Anthony S   Low

St. Anthony's Monastery

Our focus was on the less often visited jewels in Historic Cairo and Old Cairo before heading south to St. Anthony’s Monastery along the Red Sea. Then we traveled by bus from Sohag, home of the Red and White Monasteries, to the Seti I temple at Abydos, and Dendera before settling in Luxor for a few days. From there, we continued south to Aswan and Abu Simbel following the Nile.

Our group was varied by every measure, but became a community as they shared their stories and experienced Egypt together. The weather in November can still be hot, but for us it was perfect, warming in the afternoon and cooling again each evening.

Jocelyn Gohary teamed up with Tarek Swelim, Michael Jones, and John Shearman to provide an excellent basis for understanding the sites and the modern contexts they inhabit — among the people for whom the social and economic impacts of cultural heritage preservation are real and pressing.

EXCERPTS FROM OUR TRAVELERS


Nubian Museum   Low

Outside the Nubian Museum

"The November ARCE trip to Egypt was a fantastic cultural experience and I was thrilled to be on the trip. The ARCE staff and Egyptologists who were with us throughout our two and a half weeks in Egypt did a great job of bringing Egyptian heritage to life by sharing their knowledge and expertise with our group."

"The opportunity to see so many Egyptian treasures, ARCE conservation projects, and behind the scenes work of Egyptologists was an incredible learning experience. I encourage anyone  who has an opportunity to visit Egypt to do so and I hope ARCE will do more tours such as ours in the future."

"ARCE's tour of Egypt in November was of the highest quality.  The well planned itinerary allowed us to maximize our time and energy seeing the major monuments of Egypt's glorious Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic past while absorbing the scale and focus of ARCE's conservation and preservation projects.  We observed conservators at work, learned about problems and procedures for restoration, and visited laboratories for specialized analysis of building and decorating materials."

"We experienced the relationships ARCE has created over the years with the Egyptian people who are dedicated to preserving their ancient monuments. Egyptian guards and guides who had been through ARCE training programs on seeing our ARCE leaders, Michael Jones and Jocelyn Gohary, would come up to them with greetings of honor and appreciation and then often open an area closed to the public for our group to see.  It was Michael and Jocelyn's continual sharing with us from their wealth of art historical knowledge and cultural experiences in Egypt that really made the trip exceptional.  They were able to impart some of the flavor and soul of the country as well as its grand heritage.  It was like an on-site, in-depth dip into three ancient worlds one at a time, yet one after another and one on top of another.  And we were there!"

"Hotel accommodations were first class so that relaxing in the evening to prepare for the next day was easy and comfortable."

VISIT EGYPT WITH ARCE

No matter how many public lectures ARCE gives in the United States or elsewhere, it is difficult to convey a real sense of place and purpose without actually experiencing our work sites. Traveling with ARCE offers a unique chance to share in our commitment to Egypt, its people and their heritage. If you would like to consider joining our next ARCE Tour in 2013, please email Dina Aboul Saad at email: development@arce.org.

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