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Egypt: A Note on Medinet Habu

January 4, 2013

A twenty-minute ride from the west bank of the Nile brought us to the temple complex of Medinet Habu, yet another of Ramses II’s exercises in megalomania.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Facade at Medinet Habu

This temple was pretty much in ruins.  I read later that the stones of the sanctuary had been pilfered over the millennia for newer, more profane construction sites, like nearly every other important structure from ancient Egypt.  You could bet this sort of thing still went on under the cover of darkness.  Pre-cut building stones were surely worth hard cash in a country as dirt-poor as Egypt.

We walked around for time, kicking the sand at the base of the fallen columns, not saying much.   I climbed up one of the ruined walls and sat there, sipping mineral water and watching the sun disappear over the cliffs to the west.

I watched as the sun went down.  It seemed to hover over the cliffs of the Valley of the Kings forever, then suddenly plunge into the underworld, just as the ancient peoples intuited and dreamed.

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