Egypt Tour 2: Southern (Upper) Egypt
This tour comes next because under the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom, kings often used Thebes, "the city of the chariots" as their capital and during the remainder of the time, it often served as their royal burial place. However, this tour ends at Memphis after a bit of a river journey. Besides giving you some time to see the South, it gives me the chance to make some really dreadful puns and jokes about the south, the river, etc. Until the Middle Kingdom, Egypt didn't venture much into Africa. With the Middle Kingdom, they extended their rule through conquest, trade, and colonization until today's northern Sudanese became effectively "Egyptianized." By its turn, Aswan served as border post, colonial capital, and trade depot. Ideally, a tour should follow the path from Thebes, the central city of the Upper Kingdom and go south, their path. Unfortunately, the river goes in the direction. Rather than "fighting the current," this tour starts as Aswan and moves north.
Until recently, a set of rapids, the "First Cataract," formed a barrior to southern Egyptian expansion. Eventually, the Egyptians moved into the south. Sucessive dynasties built upon Aswan as their trade and command center. At the cities height, during the New Dynasty, the local governor enjoy equal status with the viceroys of Upper and Lower Egypt. When the Egyptian moved down south, they conquered the local African peoples, known aas "Nubians." The Nubians learned from the Egyptians. Eventually, from their capital at Meroe, in present-day Northern Sudan, they struck for their freedom and then invaded and conquered Egypt. Unfortunately, their sucessive went to their heads, and they attacked the Assyrians, who drove them back out of Egypt. Their city at Meroe outlasted the Egyptians. When Nasser became president of Egypt, after a coup, he decided to build a massive dam on the Nile. A very controversial project, to say the least, the finished dam did give the Egyptian real control over the Nile's flooding as well as generating electricity. It also created Lake Nasser. As a consequence, the ancient land of Nubia lies under water. The Egyptian government resettled the population within Egypt. The Nubians and Upper Egyptians look far more African than do the peoples of the north, due to long generation of migration and intermarriage. The World Bank raised funds to try to move some of the monuments threatened by the creation of Lake Nasser.
Related Eyptian Tours: Back to Tour 1: The Sakkara and Memphis