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Category: Egypt

Pharaoh’s Obelisk – Secrets of the Lost Empire

Discover how ancient Egyptians used nautical experience, ingenuity, and unwavering faith to raise massive 500-ton granite monoliths that have stood for thousands of years in tribute to their unparalleled early civilization.

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(Video hosted on Youtube & PBS)
Secrets of the Lost Empire / Pharaoh’s Obelisk

he soaring stone monuments known as obelisks were the Egyptian pharaohs’ way of capturing a ray of revered sunlight in stone. In this section, follow NOVA’s ultimately successful attempts to raise an obelisk of its own. Also, learn where ancient Egypt’s obelisks have ended up today, explore other Egyptian monuments using QuickTime VR, and more. Before the NOVA crew attempts to erect an obelisk, they will try to move a big stone. Modern-day builders would employ a crane and a flatbed truck to move a heavy stone like this one. But an ancient Egyptian relief painting shows long lines of men pulling a monumental stone across land.

The NOVA team, committed to raising an obelisk as the early Egyptians might have, rely heavily on the same energy the pharaoh’s engineers employed: the collective power of human muscle.

Form: PBS

The Long Way Down

Adventurer Charley Boorman sets off for the Long Way Down, a television series, book and DVD documenting a motorcycle journey undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, on which they rode south through 18 countries from John o’ Groats in Scotland to Cape Agulhas in South Africa via Europe and Africa in 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip of 2004, when the pair rode east from London to New York via Eurasia and North America.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)
“The Long Way Down”
Charley Boorman & Ewan McGregor

ong Way Down is the most recent motorbike adventure with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Leaving on 12 May 2007, they travelled through Europe, and then Africa – from Tunisia to South Africa, via countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia – a total of 15,000 miles. The team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on 4 August 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip in 2004, where the pair rode their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling east across Europe, Russia and the United States. As on Long Way Round, they were accompanied by Executive Producers/Directors Russ Malkin and David Alexanian.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are best mates, and passionate motorcyclists. As well as undertaking Long Way Round and Long Way Down, they ran a motorcross team together for years, and Charley took on the Dakar Rally in 2006. Ewan and Charley supported UNICEF on Long Way Round and continued to do so on Long Way Down. They visited various UNICEF projects along the way, and are raising money for the charity on the Long Way Down production website.

The team travelled from their base in Olympia, London to John o’ Groats at the northern tip of Scotland to begin their journey. The start was almost delayed after Boorman, frustrated by an official at London Gatwick Airport, made an off-the-cuff comment related to terrorism, and was detained for questioning by local police. After being released without charge, Boorman took a later flight to Inverness and the journey was able to begin as scheduled. The team took four days to ride from John o’ Groats back to London, via the McGregor family home in Crieff and the Silverstone racetrack, where they camped in the middle of the circuit. They took the Eurotunnel to France, and rode south to Italy. The European leg of the journey ended in Sicily, where they caught a ferry to Tunisia.

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In Tunisia, McGregor and Boorman visited the set of Star Wars (McGregor was not recognised despite the fact there were pictures of him) and from there they rode into Libya. However, American producer David Alexanian and cameraman Jimmy Simak were unable to obtain the necessary entry visas and were forced to fly from Tunisia to Egypt where they rejoined the team. After visiting the pyramids they boarded a ferry and travelled to Sudan, continued into Ethiopia and then into Kenya, where they crossed the equator. (Cheeky Kenyans didn’t miss the opportunity to trick another stranger with their Coriolis Effect misconception show.) From Kenya they rode to Uganda and then Rwanda, where they had an audience with President Paul Kagame. They went from there to Tanzania, and then into Malawi, where they were joined by Ewan McGregor’s wife Eve. The final leg of the trip took them through Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and finally into South Africa. The journey ended at Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point on the continent, to where they were accompanied from Cape Town by a phalanx of bikers, similar to their arrival in New York on the Long Way Round journey.

Temples of Doom

The gift of the Nile. Egypt owes its very existence to the waters of the great river, which for thousands of years has made barren land fertile, given life to one of history’s great civilisations, and sustained a population now approaching 80 million people.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)

et those same waters are now threatening some of the world’s most spectacular monuments. The ancient temples of Luxor and Karnak, and several others in southern Egypt, are in real danger from rising ground water in the Nile Valley. However the temples are not only being threatened by damage from salt water and the environment; their survival is also being compromised by an ever-expanding army of tourists. Egypt currently receives eight million tourists a year, most of them attracted to the ancient sites of the pyramids, the valley of the kings, and Luxor. The Egyptian government recently announced plans to double the number of visitors to the country within the next decade, to 16 million by the year 2016. Temples of Doom examines the real concern that Egypt’s ancient sites simply cannot cope with this volume of traffic. The antiquities of ancient Egypt have survived for more than four millennia, but if they are to be preserved for future generations, drastic action is required across the region – and time is running out.

The Karnak temple complex, universally known only as Karnak, describes a vast conglomeration of ruined temples, chapels, pylons and other buildings. It is located near Luxor in Egypt. This was ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut (“The Most Selected of Places”), the main place of worship of the Theban Triad with Amun as its head, in the monumental city of Thebes. The complex retrieves its current name from the nearby and partly surrounding modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5km north of Luxor.

Luxor (in Arabic: al-Uq?ur) is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. Its population numbers 376,022 (1999 survey), and its area is about 416 square kilometres (161 sq mi). As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the “world’s greatest open air museum”, the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor standing within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the Nile River, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Thousands of international tourists arrive annually to visit these monuments, contributing a large part towards the economy for the modern city.

(From: Al Jazeera.)

Who built the pyramids?

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(Video hosted on Google.)

he great Egyptian Pyramids of Giza have inspired awe and wonder and, quite likely, fierce speculation from the moment they were built. In fact, even the date of their construction has become a topic of debate. Explorer, survival expert, and Digging for the Truth host Josh Bernstein takes a hard look at the competing theories as to who really built the pyramids?and when. Archaeologists say it was the ancient Egyptians; others argue for an even older civilization. Josh examines the evidence, explores secret chambers in the heart of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, visits the first pyramid ever built, and tries his hand at ancient stone-quarrying techniques. It’s a hard-won perspective, but, with the discovery of a mysterious flooded chamber deep beneath the Sphinx, Josh learns what appears to be the final truth. Josh Bernstein (born February 24, 1971) is an American explorer, author, survival expert, and TV host best known as the host of Digging for the Truth. He now appears as the host of the Discovery Channel’s Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein. Digging for the Truth was a History Channel adventure-archaeology series that explored ancient mysteries around the world. The series premiered with Bernstein as host in January, 2005 and quickly became the highest-rated series in the history of The History Channel. Season 3 premiered on January 22, 2007, again setting a record for the network with the highest-rated series/season premiere to date (over 2.1 million viewers). The April 16, 2007 episode marked Bernstein’s final appearance as host of Digging for the Truth. The series continued for a 4th season without Bernstein before it was removed from primetime and then cancelled. Digging for the Truth: One Man’s Epic Adventure Exploring the World’s Greatest Archaeological Mysteries is a print companion to the television series, authored by Bernstein, that reveals much more of the personal trials and challenges he faced making the series. It received critical acclaim and was released in hardcover in Winter 2006, and paperback in the Fall, 2007

Sneferu – The King Of Pyramids

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(Video hosted on Google.)

neferu was an Egyptian king (reigned 2575-2551 BC), the first king of the 4th dynasty, also known as the Memphite dynasty. Sneferu is the earliest warrior king for whom extensive documents have been found; he led military adventures in Nubia, Libya, and the Sinai. Sneferu is thought to have built the first true pyramid, at Dashur. His son Khufu (Cheops) later oversaw the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

King Sneferu built the first true pyramid with smooth sides at the beginning of the 4th Dynasty (2575 bc–2467 bc), and Egyptian kings continued to use pyramids for burial through the 12th Dynasty. The best-known pyramids were built on the Giza plateau for three 4th Dynasty kings: Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. Each pyramid is just one element in a line of structures that form a burial complex. The complex begins at the east, with a temple on a harbor at the edge of the cultivated land in the Nile Valley. From this valley temple, where the king’s body was first brought by boat, a long, covered causeway runs west into the desert to a pyramid temple. To the west of the temple is the pyramid itself, inside of which the king’s body was placed. Inside the temple, rituals performed for the king included the offering of food and drink to nourish his ka-spirit (life force).

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  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead."
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