“Egypt is one of the two wings of the world, and the excellences of which it can boast are countless. Its metropolis is the dome of Islam, its river the most splendid of rivers." —al-Muqaddasi, c. 1000 To travelers, Egypt is a place of dreams: a country whose lifeblood is a mighty river, flowing from the heart of Africa. Along the fertile fringe of its banks an astonishing civilization raised spectacular monuments that our modern minds can hardly encompass. For centuries this past dominated travelers’ minds—yet the present and its great buildings too engaged their interest and admiration and gave them pleasure. The experience of Egypt has over the centuries inspired travelers to write of what they saw and tried to understand. These travelers’ observations are part of the history of modern Egypt, for seeing ourselves through others’ eyes helps us to understand ourselves. The compilers of this anthology have selected records of travelers from many countries and cultures over many centuries, and, mainly using the Nile for a pathway, here offer these travelers’ observations on the many facets of Egypt. The collection includes extracts from the writings of Herodotus, Strabo, Ibn Hawkal, al-Muqaddasi, Pierre Loti, Rudyard Kipling, Florence Nightingale, and many more.
Subjects: Middle East Studies, History
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