Monday, May 4, 2015

Mons Claudianus – a trip to the Roman quarries

The Arabian Desert between the Red Sea and the Nile is not only rich in sand but also in gems, gold, minerals and stones. Appreciated by the old Egyptians, the quarries supplied them with pillars, sarcophagus and other building material for the pyramids and temples and with gems for all the jewellery and decoration we still can admire.

The Romans as well resorted to these treasures and improved the art of quarrying. In Wadi Hammamat, between el Quesir and Quena, lies Mons Claudianus, allegedly the best preserved Roman settlement amongst several quarries.

No matter whether you’re standing aloft the fort or inside: whatever the visitor gets to see is simply fascinating: In the middle of the mountains, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nothing and under the unforgiving blazing sun lie the ruins of the settlement. Apparently, Mons Claudianus was not just a simple temporary dwelling, but rather a luxurious home for well-paid craftsmen, who lacked for nothing. The one, who takes his time for a stroll between the laneways, will marvel even more: walls made by perfectly piled up stone slabs and well preserved mud bricks, water basins and bathtubs with steps, alcoves and water channels. Thousands of shards lie about – what was once stored inside?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Redsea Mountains in winter

It was very cold. It was stormy. It was an unusual opportunity, to go to the Redsea Mountains. I was allowed to join a group.

Robbyguided us to a small hidden oasis and I betook myself. I walked over debris and rocks, upwards, across and headed away… away from the people, out into seclusion and silence. It was not completely silent, however; the wind sang, danced over the rocks and whirled up the sand. Not a sandstorm yet, but rather stormy it was.

Upon my return to the oasis, I was brought back to the here and now: the others were hungry! So, off we went to find a somehow protected place for a barbecue. A barbecue in that stormy wind? Robby made the impossible possible. Yet the sunset afterwards did not happen; mountains, sky and desert blurred into an indefinite grey. Since we had departed way too late (the others wanted it that way), we ran out of time; gazing at the starlit sky far away from the light pollution was out of question. We had to get out of the desert.

I will never forget the next two and half hours: the two light beams of Robby’s jeep shone into the dark night, over car tracks whose sand grains had already been swirled up by the storm. We crossed tracks, guessed skylines of mountains, discovered a lost star. I was wondering about my fellows’ thoughts. Doubts? Fear? No idea… I trusted Robby. Indeed: at the same moment as I recognised a wall of rock in the twilight, Robby asked me, whether I knew where we were. This was a fantastic performance; this man really knows “his” desert.

I hope I will soon have another chance…

Here are some impressions:

Bedouin's cemetry

Sunday, January 25, 2015

25 January 2015 – 4th anniversary

Instead of repeating again what has gone wrong, I would like to publish a photo:

It shows the uproar of 25th January 2011, the demand for bread, freedom and justice. I discovered this copper plate during my visit at The Urban Centre forWomen in Luxor.

Many have lost all hope; some continue fighting for their basic human rights.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The shepherd

Someone is sitting there alone next to a handful of sheep which are grazing on the single green patch outside a hotel in Hurghada.

Shall I stop by or not? Tact or curiosity? I hesitated this morning for some instants, the wind had cost me some energy, however, the shepherd’s friendly waving encouraged me. I cycled back, put my bike down on the sand and greeted the stranger.

He rose, surprised. The man in the green caftan might be in his early thirties although his sun tanned face is already wrinkled. His eyes gaze emotionlessly, his smile shows discoloured teeth which is typical for the poor here; they never ever see a toothbrush throughout their lives.

I asked politely whether I may take a photo of him and the sheep? Sure, he said, but… he wanted money! Where he was living, where is family stayed, I asked?
In Qena and he was poor. Well, I did see that. Has tourism corrupted him as well? Or is he so desperate that he resorts to begging? This, however, I supposedly will never get to know.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A coin recounts

Following the present homicidal events in Palestine, we can hardly imagine that once upon a time, there was unity - even in politics. The coin here is a proof:

Yet how far away are we from those days!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Who is the owner of the holy land?

Here's a video, that shows in a sarcastic way who became the rulers of Palestine and how he reached that position:

I found this on: Free Arabs