We temporarily got off the felucca at Kom Ombo to visit a temple known as a “mirror” temple for its symmetrical architecture: one side of the building perfectly reflects the other. Facing the temple (1st pic below), you will notice that the left side looks similar to the right – it’s the same on the inside.
This temple is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god, and to Horus as well. There used to be crocodiles in these parts so Ancient Egyptians prayed to Sobek to protect them from these predators. Kom Ombo was also a place of healing where everyone went to receive treatment from the priests & priestesses – it served as a hospital.
There are engraved images of what is thought to be the first representation of medical instruments for performing surgery including scalpels, forceps, scissors and medicine bottles.
After our Temple of Kom Ombo visit, we had our last nite on the felucca. In the morning we were driven to Luxor where we boarded an overnight train to Cairo.
Note: if you ever plan to take an overnight train in Egypt, bring a sleeping bag. It gets frigid!
Once back in Cairo, two girls and I decided to fill our day with a visit to the Egyptian Museum and a trip to the Khan el-Khalili market.
Egyptian Museum highlights included King Tutankhamun’s very large and magnificent jewelry collection and the other artifacts that were buried with him in his tomb. We also had the chance to see some real mummies – kind of creepy, but fascinating. On some of them, you could clearly see facial features. I’ll have to admit that the Egyptian museum lacked in the labeling department, so I had no idea what I was looking at some of the time. Hopefully the new Egyptian Museum (being built to house the artifacts that didn’t all fit in the 1st museum) will have everything labelled.
Khan el-Khalili is a major souk/market in the Islamic district of Cairo. The bazaar district is one of Cairo’s main attractions for tourists. Expect to see the typical souvenir stores, food stands, and coffee shops when you go.
My Khan el-Khalili adventure was interesting because we got lost and ended up on the side where local Egyptians shopped.
The side we were aiming to explore has your typical tourist souvenirs (papyrus, toy camels, scarves), more-expensive-than-usual prices at restaurants, and touts who never leave you alone. Where we were, there were undergarments, rugs, and things that you wouldn’t normally buy as a tourist.
After wandering through maze-like alleyways, a really nice mosque tour guide pointed us in the right direction and we, so to say, got “un-lost”. Without his help, I’d still probably be in that maze.
That night, some people from our tour group were leaving so we had a goodbye dinner on a Nile cruise boat where there was bellydancing entertainment and a whirling dervish.
What’s a whirling dervish, you ask?
This isn’t my video, but I figured it would do the job in showing you what a whirling dervish does….spin, spin, and spin…with objects too! I have no idea how they can spin for so long and how they keep their balance, so I’m going to have to attribute it to talent.