Ancient Near East
I know things are a little hot there right now, but if you ever get the chance I recommend a visit to the cradle of ancient civilization. Mesopotamia. Including the ancient states of Sumer, Akkad and Babylon. Modern Iraq. Significant expeditions have been led over the years by various institutions and artifacts are on display at major art museums throughout the world. A good alternative given the political situation there now.
- University Museum.Philadelphia. http://www.penn.museum/long-term-exhibits/iraq-s-ancient-past.html date accessed 11/12/13
- University of Cincinnati. Department of Classics
- University of Chicago. Oriental Institute. http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/as/as6.html date accessed 11/12/13
- Louvre, Paris: Standard of Ur, Stele of Narum-sin, Law code of Hamurabi, Sargon of Akkad
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Ashurnasirpal II
- British Museum, London: Layard excevator of Nineveh and Nimrud, Assysia, Leonard Woolley
- Berlin Museum: Ishtar Gate of Babylon
- Ancient Near East 101: Akkadian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Near East 101: Ancient Egyptian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/meru/hd_meru.htm date accessed 9/18/14
- http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/diyala-project date accessed 9/18/4
What is your favorite travel destination? Please share your travel experiences.
Who is your favorite painter?
Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day?
Berlin and Istanbul are both considered divided cities, but in a different way. Explain.
We are on the third week of our honeymoon. We crossed the Allenby bridge over the Jordan River to enter Israel. The customs was intense. They even took our shoes and magazines. They gave the shoes back, but kept the magazines. Our destination was the ancient city of Jerusalem. Israel is a country of 8,500 sq mi. The climate here is low 70’s and dry in June. Some places have air conditioning.
We found a nice hotel with a nice patio porch outside the Damascus gate. They had a nice breakfast. The food situation is still Middle Eastern, but with a twist. Many restaurants are small, privately held with three or four tables only. We are staying near the Arab quarter.
I will relate two coincidences. We met a man, who had a nephew who owned the Falafel House a restaurant in Clifton in Cincinnati. I met this man and talked to him before our trip. We also met an Armenian at a souvenir shop in the old city. He told us his name Karagesian meant black eyebrows. Bedukian a famous flavor chemist is also Armenian.
We know some Karagesians, he said they were related. The old city is divided into four quarters Armenian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim. The language of Israel is Ivrit or modern Hebrew. Arabic and English are also widely spoken. Known as Palestine it was a British mandate and before that part of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Sacked by Roman general, later emperor, Titus in 70 ad, destroying the second temple. Site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On medieval maps Jerusalem was considered the center of the earth.
Six churches share custody of the Christian relics.
- Armenian http://youtu.be/BsFtF8aTL1c
- Abyssinian http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/encyc01.html?term=Abyssinia%20and%20the%20Abyssinian%20Church
- Coptic https://sites.google.com/site/copticorthodoxjerusalem/our-church-in-jerusalem
- Assyrian-Syriac Chaldean
- The Russians and protestants got there too late
There are many religious sites in Jerusalem including the Mount of olives, site of the Last supper(Cenacle), Golden Gate, Solomon’s stables, Absalom’s tomb and the Western Wall.
We followed the Stations of the cross. Culminating at the church of the Holy sepulchre on Golgotha. The Aedicule shows the place of the burial of Christ.
Way of sorrows via Dolorosa we had trouble finding the sixth station. A man had to show us were it was. I t was hidden inside of the Ethiopian church
Here are some things we bought, an olive wood creche. A bible with an olive wood cover. A book form the British & Foreign Bible Society describing 900 languages, one of my favorite books. We went to the Hadassah medical center at Mount Scopus to see the Chagall windows. We couldn’t get in, unlike Peru they weren’t friendly at all. If you missed it by ten minutes that’s just tough, come back tomorrow.
Dome of the rock is one the Temple mount. Also the Al-Aqsa mosque site of the assassination of Abdullah the grandfather of the King of Jordan in 1951.
Stopped for a Gin tonic at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was so good after walking in the hot sun all day. We had two, even at $3.00. Worth every penny. It even had ice and a whole bottle of tonic, apiece. Next time we’re definitely staying here.
We visited the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron. The burial site of Sarah, Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac. We also saw Rachel’s tomb it is right by a bus sop in Jerusalem.
Bethlehem The birthplace of Jesus. We met a man outside the Church of the Nativity. He showed me a hand illuminated bible written in Syriac ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ and told us the sad history of his church. He invited us to come back and visit him in the winter at Christmas. The start of the Crimean was over custody of the keys to this church. The entrance to the church is a half-door to keep the Turkish from riding their horses into the church.
Milk Grotto, this is where Mary and Joseph are said to have stopped during the Flight to Egypt. Quite a day for an old Sunday school teacher/ http://www.syrianchurch.org/
It is impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. It was warm enough for me to go swimming, however. The Dead sea is 400 m below sea level. En gedi and Bersheba are near by. http://www.bibleplaces.com/engedi.htm
We spent the night at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv TLV, before returning home in the morning. We weren’t allowed to leave the airport because of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, which started that day June, 6 1982. We had to sleep on the chairs in the airport. This is the airport serving Israel.
- How many languages are spoken on Earth?
- What is you favorite book of the Bible?
- When is the last time you went to Church?
Jordan al ‘Urdan اَلأُرْدُنّ Al-ʾUrdunn
- Do you like to travel?
- What is your favorite country in the Middle East?
- Do you know any other languages?
- Does the current political situation make you afraid to travel there?
- Amman, Jordan (myconnectedworld.wordpress.com)
Cairo is a fascinating city it reminds me of Istanbul in a way. It is not my first time to an Arab country, that would be Morocco. Egypt was under the rule of the Mamluks in the 13th century. Occupied by Napoleon and the French for a short time, in the nineteenth century it was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The Maghreb begins to the west of Egypt.
Mohammed ‘Ali was an Albanian governor of Egypt, not the boxer of course. There is a Mosque (masjid) near downtown named for him. He is revered as the founder of modern Egypt. In the early twentieth Egypt was a British protectorate. The Suez canal was built in the 19th century with British and French financing. It shorted the trip to India considerably. For a short time Egypt was an independent kingdom. Cairo is the most populous city in Africa. The most populous country in Africa is Nigeria. The continent of Africa is larger than North America.
In Egypt Cairo is known as misr, the Arabic name for Egypt itself. For as any Cairene will tell you’ Egypt is Cairo and Cairo is Egypt. Cairo is the center of the Arab film and music industry. It is the media center of the Arab world. Oum Kulthoum was a very famous classical Egyptian singer known as the star of the East.
Climate Cairo is a desert. I have known two Egyptians.
Jumping off the Bus. We have started riding the bus. Well the curious thing is there aren’t any real bus stops here. When you get close to where you want to go you just pull the cord and the bus sort of slows down and you jump off. One time we ended up in the middle of a traffic circle. I think cabs might be safer.
No one will ever give you the price for anything here. Ask for the price and the answer will be, as you like. Then the haggling begins.
The Khan al Khalili خان الخليلي is the famous souk or market. It is truly remarkable. The sell everything from gold to shoes, clothes and spices from all over the world. The Egyptian cotton is especially nice. I bought an inlay tile box there.
We went to the Ramses train station to buy tickets for Luxor, ancient Thebes. The train is overnight deluxe first class with little amenities like an airplane, but of course you can lie down and walk around. The staion was very crowded. We met an Islamic woman and her husband at the station. The had a small booth selling books and appliances. They were very friendly and anxious to talk to us. Curious about what we were doing in Cairo, the United States, did we have children and things like that. I think they had met few Americans. They especially wanted to look in KT’s purse. She wore a bright green jilaba with a white lining and a hijab. He husband was dressed in a dark suit with no tie. http://travelingmama.net/to-jilaba-or-not-to-jilaba/
I reached out my hand to shake hers. She drew it back. She wasn’t allowed to touch another man. We bought a green copy of the Koran, القرآن al-quran. I still have that. They invited us to the back of their store to watch Egyptian tv and drink tea. It was a small B&W version. They had never met an American who had studied Arabic.
Giza Great sphinx
The great Pyramids are what everyone wants to see. They are truly awesome. We didn’t go inside or even ride a camel. It was just too hot. We did meet an interesting man, however. He waned to give me a haircut. His name was Mohammed Jesus. He Even had a testimonial letter in English. Mohammed Jesus has been my barber for fifteen years he has occasionally done a good job. Even the newspaper al-Ahram means the pyramids.
Saqqara step pyramid
The Saqqara step pyramid is another group of pyramids outside of Cairo. They date to the third dynasty and are much older than the pyramids of Giza. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/egypt/saqqara-step-pyramid-of-djoser
When we told people we were recently married they predicted One year one baby boy, two years two baby boy . . . . One man offered me 100,000 camels for my wife. That’s a big compliment. One thousand is considered an infinite number. Blondes are not common here. They wanted to touch Katie’s hair. I brought a beautiful Irish Catholic girl to Cairo.