Full of ancient history
Two barrage bridges straddle the Nile at this point: one built by the British in 1906, and the "Electricity Bridge" built in the 1990s. Navigation, particularly, Nile cruisers ferrying tourists from Luxor to Aswan 155 km further upstream, can be held up for hours while vessels negotiate their way through the lock system.The two main points of...more
Our Cruise ship crossed Esna ( Isna) Lock gate before dawn. It started at around 4.00 AM and continued till 5.00 AM . We were the second ship to cross the gate, so besides ours we also watched the ship before us to cross.We were told the night before that we shall be crossing the Esna Lock gate around four in the morning, so we all got up grabbed...more
We passed through the lock at Isna in the early morning before the sunrise.Our boat had to go through a narrow and shallow lock in Isna. Facing the lock there must have been dozens of boats, each waiting for its turn.We have been told that it normally takes about 45 minutes to complete this rather complicated process because only 2 cruisers can...more
By its epigraphy, this minaret, built in 1081, is attributed to Fakhr al-Mulk Sa'd al-Dawla Sar Takin, a high-ranking Fatimid official. Not only is this epigraphy important for its unprecedented use of the word mi'dhana (the place from which the call to prayer was given), but it sheds considerable light on our understanding of the nature of...more
A veritable forest of ornate columns hit you as you walk into the Hall, ornate, carved, decorously coloured (although some are defaced by early Christians). The images on the main shafts of the columns (24 in total) are from the three main festivals of the town - the creation of the universe by Neith, the raising of the sky by Khnum and Khnum's...more
The scale of the Hypostyle Hall and the uneven ground runnind round it provides easy access to get incredibly close to the deeply etched reliefs. The exterior walls provide some of the best reliefs, although this is in part due to the fact that natural light makes them visible! (The interior is dark and dingy and some of the more spectacular...more
Khnum was originally the ram-headed god who created man on a potter's wheel and the guardian of the source of the Nile. He was later demoted to a mere underling to Amun-Re.Many are disappointed with the Temple of Khnum as it sits in a hole in the ground, with only the Hypostyle Hall having been excavated. This is mainly due to the fact that the...more
If you arrive by boat, you can hardly miss it as the boat berths alongside the Corniche. It's a pretty busy spot - mainly due the fact that this is the point to pass through the Nile locks. Some don't even land and wait patiently for hours before going through the lock. But its still busy enough for boats to dock 2 or 3 deep and, to disembark, you...more
Buried for centuries in the sand, the Temple of Isna was relatively recently excavated. The sand and water table has done some damage, as well as the soot from past armies' (like Napoleon's and British) camp fires have blackened the paintings on the ceiling. But none the less, the temple is being renovated and is worth the visit.more
I enjoyed the food and desserts I ate in Egypt, but the traditional desserts definitely lacked chocolate!! I saw quite a few desserts on our buffets and in restaurants and didn't see an ounce of chocolate! A good way to remedy this is to stop at one of the many ice cream stands along the roads in any town. This particular stand was seen as we...more
Our boat has sailed off from Luxor at 17.30. According to the cruise program the following stop should be in Edfu (Idfu) which was situated on the distance of 110 kilometers from Luxor. We have been told that it would be at 9.00 in the next morning. It meant that we should sail along the distance of 110 kilometers for 15 hours and a half. That...more
We saw many Egyptian ferrymen during our cruise. Traditionally river crossings have been the domain of several ferry services.The single fare (April 2007) of the so-called 'local ferry' (also known as the 'National Ferry') is 1 LE - one Egyptian Pound - per passenger for foreigners.Alternatively motorboats line the East Bank of the Nile all day...more
On a way to Idfu we should pass through a sluice (a lock) in Isna. Throughput of this sluice is very small. Therefore the excursion boats usually stand in a queue during several hours to pass through the sluice. There are 55 kilometers from Luxor to Isna. I think, we have arrived to the sluice about 22.00, but I was already deeply asleep at that...more
We only had an hour or two to go ashore in Esna....so what better thing to do than to go shopping!!!
The Esna souq (markets) were located only a couple of minutes walk from where we were docked, and there were plenty of shops to tempt us tourists.
I had a really great time here doing plenty of bartering and buying a few local wares.
The best thing about the market here was that it wasn't too crowded, and I didn't get hassled too much, even though I spent most of the time shopping by myself.
What to pay: Don't pay what they ask - bargain hard!!
One of the things you will notice about Isna is that there are much fewer advancements in this town. The town is dominated by horse driven carriages, and by mules carrying grain. Here is a photo of a local farmer still utilizing the mule to pull his crop through Isna.more
Egypt is guarding her tourists very well! As a tourist you can't go anywhere on your own. Don't misunderstand! You can go where ever you like! But in some places you need police or army guidance. That is not a trouble if you know the way. Al ham du lillah/Thank God, I have friends in Egypt who know the way. When in Esna and you like to go intown,...more
There are no cranes in Middle Egypt, so construction teams here rely on the old fashioned way of bringing bricks to the roof. There is a person at the top, who controls a chain that pulls a full wheelbarrow full of bricks up to the top of the building!This looked a little shady though, so watch out when you are walking past!more
The journey between Esna and Luxor is only 50 or so kms on the Nile, but it's an extraordinary trip - the land immediately beyond the banks on both sides is fairly desolate and bleak, small villages where little has changed in hundreds (if not thousands) of years sit close to the river.more
If you want to see a genuine part of Egypt you must try and go to see this one.You will have to pay the police guard on entering the souk a baksheesh, that will allow you to entry. If you want to go further in town; ask the police man for advice and guidance. It will cost you baksheesh! But a real of the beaten path experience!more
Even if there wouldn’t any sights on its banks, and I wouldn’t see Pyramids and Temples, the cruise over the Nile would have a great sense for me. It is difficult to express the feeling covering you when, being on an upper deck, you understand, that the Great and Powerful Nile stretches in front of you. This feeling was one of the strongest among...more
Early awakening at 5.00 (though Moscow time was already 7.00) has helped me to watch Isna from the main deck of our boat even still before the sunrise. The city and the Nile were in pre-dawn twilight. It was wonderful! However I could examine a dam, a sluice, a quay and a Mosque towering above the city. Unfortunately, I have not seen the Khnum...more
As an excursion to Isna is not stipulated by the program of the cruise I have tried to study this city by means of Internet, having been already at home. Isna is known for the Ptolemic temple of Khnum, the god with the Ram's head. The town's Greek name was Latopolis. Its second sight is the Isna Dam and Lock. But today, Isna is a somewhat sleepy if...more