The story

Russian Divers Discover Ancient Roman Sea Fortress at Tartus

Russian Divers Discover Ancient Roman Sea Fortress at Tartus

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Dmitry Tatarkov, director of the Institute of Social Sciences and International Relations, recently told Almasdar News that Russian scientists from Sevastopol State University have made a series of remarkable discoveries off the coast of the Syrian coast at Tartus. Not only have they found three ancient naval structures, but a full blown ancient port and a Roman sea fortress that were previously “unknown to science.”

Ṭarṭūs, or Tartus, is a city located in the County of Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast of Syria representing the country’s second largest city port city after Latakia. The port currently holds a small Russian naval facility and it has a long history of military usage. According to UNESCO, Tartus, which was called Tortosa by the crusaders, is regarded as an exceptional and representative model of the Syrian-Palestinian medieval town occupied by crusaders over two centuries.

Underwater divers have discovered naval structures, an ancient port and a Roman sea fortress off the coast of Syria at Tartus. ( Sevastopol State University )

Diving among the Ruins of Ancient Roman Fortress

Tartus city lies on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea bordered by the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range to the east, and Arwad, the only inhabited island on the Syrian coast is located only a few kilometers off the shore. The researchers said the ancient port was discovered in the territorial waters of Syria during the second field season of the Russian-Syrian Archaeological Mission that was launched on the Mediterranean coast on October 20 2019. The subsea expedition was organized by the Center for Marine Research and Technology of Sevastopol State University with the support of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences .

  • Ancient Greek Shipwreck Is Now Protected By Underwater AI Robots
  • Classis Ravennas and the Defense of the Roman Empire
  • War Limits Study of Roman Syrian Sites, but One Has Yielded Priceless Treasures of the Past

Part of the submerged Roman sea fortress off the coast of Tartus in Syria. ( Sevastopol State University )

Putting the discovery in historical context, Dr. Tatarkov said the structure was “a sea fortress from the 1st century AD.” This conclusion was reached after the divers found ancient “hydraulic structures, a lighthouse and four marble columns,” which together represent “a major finding,” added Tatarkov. The team archaeological divers first examined the sea floor using guided underwater vehicles. Besides the principal discovery of the ancient port, “three previously unknown berths from the ancient period were discovered, as well as the remains of ancient hydraulic structures : breakwaters and quay walls.”

More remains of the structures. ( Sevastopol State University )

Mapping Seemingly Insignificant Artifacts

Among the large architectural and hydraulic features that the divers recovered were hundreds of tiny fragments of ancient Greek amphorae (liquid holding containers), Phoenician pots, Egyptian vases, and household artifacts made of Roman stones. While these items might at first sound insignificant compared with the grandeur of the greater discovery, they are of huge archaeological significance.

Not only will these finds be jigsawed together by scientists to determine the life cycle of the ports that existed at the time, but they will also be used to help map the origins of the clay fragments. Knowing where the pottery fragments came from will allow the researchers to rebuild a map of the ancient maritime trade routes that connected this ancient port with the greater Mediterranean economy.

Originating before the Neolithic period, pottery and ceramics (fired pottery) are among the oldest of all human inventions, used in practical day to day life for storing food and drinks and in death rituals where clay pots were used to hold the cremated remains of the deceased. Pottery vessels were discovered in Jiangxi, China, dating back to 18,000 BC, and they survived this long because clay and other ceramic materials were fired at high temperatures to give them hard and durable forms.

Because ceramics have withstood the tests of time, this is why the archaeological names used to define ancient and prehistoric periods is taken from the type of pottery they produced. All Chinese, Cretan, Greek, Persian, Mayan, Japanese, and Korean cultures, as well as the modern Western cultures call their ancient cultures after pottery manufacturing styles.

“The ceramic materials that were found off the coast of Syria are now being processed in the Department of Antiquities of Tartous,” said Tatarkov Almasdar News . And it is expected that very soon the researchers will have completed an ancient ceramics map that will essentially lift the new discoveries from relative obscurity and will put the ancient port and Roman sea fortress “on the map.”

A Vampire in New Orleans? The Mysterious Case of Jacque and the Comte de St. Germain

If vampires existed in our modern age, it would be easy to imagine them in New Orleans, creeping from the shadows of the crypts in the St. Louis Cemetery or prowling for victims in the unlit alleys of the French Quarter. In the Crescent City, beauty and darkness go hand in hand and history steps forward to make itself known in the present day. Ancient legends of these immortal creatures made their way to America along with immigrants and adapted to their new land. One of New Orleans’s most enduring vampiric legends has its roots in old European folklore.

According to the stories, sometime in the early 1900s a mysterious man arrived in New Orleans under the name Jacque St. Germain. Handsome, elegant, wealthy, entertaining, extravagant, mysterious, and a bit curious, his reputation preceded him, and he was soon a hit in New Orleans society.

Golden Eagle Sculpture Unearthed in Aztec Temple

According to a statement released by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), archaeologists led by Rodolfo Aguilar Tapia have uncovered a bas-relief sculpture of a golden eagle in the floor of the Aztec chapel dedicated to Huitzilopochtli at the Templo Mayor.

The well-preserved floor surface was covered during an expansion of the temple before the arrival of the Spanish in Tenochtitlan in the sixteenth century, Tapia explained.

“From what we have seen through photographs, it is a very beautiful piece that shows the great secrets that the Templo Mayor of Mexico Tenochtitlan has yet to reveal to us. I want to extend my appreciation to the INAH archaeologists who collaborate in this space, since, thanks to their effort and dedication, we can continue to recover our history and our memory.

Due to the health contingency, the fieldwork has had to be postponed, however, it is clear that there is also an important work of research and academic reflection that has not stopped “, said the Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, about this notable finding.

Although it was in February 2020 when a multidisciplinary team concluded the release and cleaning of this itzcuauhtli , a Nahua voice that means “obsidian eagle”, and with which the Mexica referred to the golden eagle ( Aquila chrysaetos canadensis ), it is now, when his investigation in the cabinet has been deepened, the finding is made known.

Carved on red tezontle and with dimensions of 1.06 meters long by 70 centimetres wide, this bas-relief is the largest in a set of 67 similar elements found so far in the Templo Mayor.

According to specialists, the relevance of the sculpture is denoted not only by its size and finish but also by its location, at the foot of the most important building for the Mexica and in the central axis that crosses the ‘chapel’ of Huitzilopochtli and the monumental sculpture of the goddess Coyolxauhqui. It is also close to Cuauhxicalco, a circular building whose name translates as “place of the eagle’s gourd”, where, according to 16th-century documents, the ritual cremations of the Tenochca rulers were carried out.

At 1.06 meters long and 70 centimeters wide, it is the largest of the set of similar sculptural pieces found so far. It was located at the foot of the Templo Mayor, in the central axis of the ‘chapel’ dedicated to Huitzilopochtli would correspond to the government of Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina (1440-1469 AD)

Regarding the discovery of the bas-relief, the archaeologist assigned to the PTM, Rodolfo Aguilar Tapia, who investigated the piece together with the interns in archaeology Mary Laidy Hernández Ramírez and Karina López Hernández and in physical anthropology, Jacqueline Castro Irineo, from the National School of Anthropology and History, reported that it was verified during the ninth field season of the PTM.

This season, directed by the head of the Project, the archaeologist Leonardo López Luján, has focused on exploring under the ‘liga bridge’ that connects the streets of Guatemala and Argentina, wherein pre-Hispanic times the west plaza of the Sacred Precinct was located of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. The sculptural carving was part of a floor of that space, which would have been in use during the government of Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina, between the years 1440 and 1469 of our era.

“This floor is unique in the entire Templo Mayor as it contains bas-reliefs that allude to the dual conception of the building. On the south side, where we are exploring, there are elements like this eagle, linked to the mythical cycle of the birth of Huitzilopochtli while to the north, the bas-reliefs located earlier —the first in 1900 by Leopoldo Batres, and the later by the PTM and the Urban Archeology Program (PAU) – contain representations associated with Tláloc, the water cycle and the regeneration of corn “.

Aguilar Tapia specifies that thanks to the work carried out by archaeologists Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Leonardo López Luján, today there is a defined stratigraphic correspondence, which allows researchers to know in which construction stage of the Templo Mayor the findings are located, and at what time belong the same.

Thus, he exemplifies, when the exploration at the aforementioned intersection began, the floor that the archaeologists saw was from Stage VI of the Templo Mayor, corresponding to the government of Ahuítzotl between 1486 and 1502, while now, after meticulous excavations, specialists have managed to reach Stage IV-a, that is, they have gone back in time to the 1440s and to the period of government of Motecuhzoma I.

The aforementioned plaza floor was covered since pre-Hispanic times during the expansion of the Templo Mayor. “That is why it has a good state of conservation,” says the researcher, noting that “it is an element that was never seen by the Spanish.”

The symbolism of the golden eagle

The pause in the fieldwork that the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it, allowed the PTM researchers to carry out the investigation of various elements, including the bas-relief. Among other aspects, the iconographic representations that exist of the golden eagle in historical sources such as the codices were studied, in order to correlate them with the sculpture discovered at the foot of the Templo Mayor.

One of those representations, Aguilar Tapia points out, is in Plate 50 of the Codex Borgia, where a golden eagle is shown posing on top of a mesquite tree, a tree that rises from a stark deity. “The interesting thing is that this image is iconographically very similar to the bas-relief that we find in the field, in both representations the feathers end in the shape of sacrificial knives, which allude to the Nahua name of the bird: obsidian eagle.”

For the Mexica, this bird of prey was closely related to war and sacrifice, while it was considered a nahual of the sun and, therefore, also of its tutelary god, Huitzilopochtli.

In the incoming seasons of the PTM field, the researcher concludes, the actions will focus on completing the exploration of the floor where the bas-relief is located to look for more others and then, with extreme care, temporarily remove them and be able to investigate under them in search of offerings or other architectural elements. “After all this exploratory process, with the support of restoration specialists, we will place each bas-relief in its precise place”, he concludes.

Similar elements could also be found when the excavations around Cuauhxicalco are resumed. The intention of the PTM is that, after its investigation, the bas-reliefs can be shown to the public in their original position: at the west foot of the Templo Mayor.

Nautical Archaeology Thread

Hopefully more to come on this one. The link to the Russian University website in the article doesn't provide any additional info (or useful photos).

'An ancient port believed to date back to the Roman-era has been discovered off the Syrian coast of Tartus, according to an announcement by Dmitry Tatarkov, the director of the Centre for Marine Research and Technology at Russia's Sevastopol State University (SSU).

"It may not have even been a port, but it is a sea fortress from the 1st century AD. Remains of hydraulic structures, a lighthouse, and four marble columns have been found. Accompanying ceramic materials will allow for a more detailed dating of the piece. This is a major finding," said Tatarkov.

"These are the remains of ancient Greek amphorae, Phoenician pots, Egyptian vases, and household items made of Roman stone. These materials will allow us to rebuild the maritime trade routes linking this region with the major Mediterranean regions. We will be able to determine the life cycle of the ports that existed at the time," he explained.

'The ruins are thought to belong to the ancient Arvad Island which was originally settled by the Phoenicians in the early 2nd millennium BC. They were found during the second field season by a Russian-Syrian archaeological mission launched in 2019 by SSU with the support of Russia's Ministry of Defence and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy Sciences.

'The expedition was carried out as part of an agreement between the university and Syria's Ministry of Culture and includes both Russian and Syrian specialists. According to the Russian university's website, one of the objectives of the expedition will be the advanced training of Syrian specialists and students from Damascus University and the University of Latakia.'

Russia scientists discover ancient Roman port off Syria coast



Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

Items found at a shipwreck site off Wellfleet. (Image Credit: Whydah Pirate Museum)

'The skeletal remains of at least six pirates were discovered at the site of a shipwreck that happened off Wellfleet in 1717.

'An investigative team from the Whydah Pirate Museum announced the discovery on Wednesday.

'Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy was the captain of The Whydah.

'The skeletons were identified in several large concretions, the museum said. The remains will now be examined by underwater explorer Barry Clifford, a team of archeologists, and other experts.

“We hope that modern, cutting-edge technology will help us identify these pirates and reunite them with any descendants who could be out there,” Clifford said.

'The team has previously obtained Bellamy’s DNA through a relative in England. It is being tested against a human bone found in the wreck.

“That bone was identified as a human male with general ties to the Eastern Mediterranean area,” said Sherman. “These newly found skeletal remains may finally lead us to Bellamy as we now have his DNA.”

Remains Of At Least 6 Pirates Found At Whydah Shipwreck Site Off Cape Cod


Video about HMS Medway, the Medina Class Gunboat

Arrse's very own bartender imparting wisdom, wit and all things boozey.

Crime & Punishment in Colonial Kenya: Bibliography Thread



'The remains of a ship that sank many years ago in Lake Van in eastern Turkey emerged Wednesday as its water level recedes due to global warming.

'Noting that Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, Akkus said it has always been a frequent destination for civilizations throughout history and a crossing point between East and West.

'He said three enormous ships were built by the Russians in the early 1900s, and one of them, known as Akdamar, was previously discovered in the lake.

'The latest ship that came to light also has similar characteristics to the Akdamar, said Akkus.

“We see that the shape, construction and riveting technique is the same. Divers had the chance to view it underwater before, but the ship surfaced with the receding of the lake water."

Sunken ship comes to light in massive Turkish lake


Hopefully photos to follow.

'Workers dredging muck from the Savannah harbor unexpectedly scooped up three cannons that likely predate the Civil War, officials said Friday.

'The Army Corps of Engineers said a hinged clamshell dredge that was preparing a section of the Savannah River for deepening in late February unearthed five artifacts from the riverbed.

'In addition to the cannons, workers discovered a ship's anchor and a large piece of wood with flat sides shaped by tools, such as a beam or a plank.

“It looks pre-Civil War from what we can see of it," said Billy Birdwell, spokesman for the Army Corps' Savannah District. "Of course, it’s totally encrusted in stuff.”

'Birdwell said archaeologists are looking for clues to the artifacts' origins and are almost certain they're not related to the sunken Confederate gunship CSS Georgia, which was excavated by divers in the harbor in 2015.'


Something else to look forward to once lockdown ends.

'A shipwreck uncovered on the Suffolk coast could be "really, really rare", experts have said. A wooden boat section was found at Thorpeness beach, but cannot be investigated yet due to Covid-19. Coastal archaeologists are not allowed to visit it, or a second shipwreck near Southwold, under current restrictions.

'Mr Sherman, from the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN), said it was "very difficult to successfully identify specific wrecks". But under current restrictions, the task was even harder, as CITiZAN has had to rely on its volunteers. He said photographs of the latest finds showed two "carvel-constructed timber boats", a common construction method in the 16th to 19th Centuries. The wreck at Thorpeness appeared to be held together with wooden "treenails", or pins, a technique that dates from the 13th Century to the 19th Century, Mr Sherman said.

But an unusual construction technique could pinpoint it to a 150-year period from the late 16th Century through to the 17th Century. "It's difficult to tell from the photographs but this section of wreck appears to have double hull planking, which could be really exciting," he said. "This makes the vessel slightly more buoyant on one side and is really, really rare [to find]. Although the technique is known from historical writings there is only one well-known example in the UK archaeological record."

'Archaeologist Mark Horton, professor of cultural heritage at the Royal Agricultural University, was one of the experts who took part after examining the photographs. He believes the piece is more likely to be from an 18th Century cargo vessel called a collier, whose best-known example is Captain Cook's HMS Endeavour. No colliers have survived so if this was the case "it's more than just old timbers on the beach, it could be a fascinating piece of Suffolk maritime history", the professor said.

'Mike Tupper, managing director of the International Boatbuilding Training College at Lowestoft in Suffolk, has been to Thorpeness to see the wreckage and said "the sheer size of it blew my mind". He thinks the oak timbers formed the topside of a ship that was 100-150ft (30m-45m) long. "If we can identify the species of oak, we'll have a good idea of where it was made because back-in-the day, trees of this size - at least 150 years-old - would not have been moved far as they were so heavy."


During Catherine's imprisonment more than 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius' wife, Valeria Maximilla all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. [12] The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but, at her touch, it shattered. [13] Maxentius ordered her to be beheaded. Catherine herself ordered the execution to commence. A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck. [14]

Although it is commonly known as Saint Catherine's, the monastery's full official name is the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai. [ citation needed ] The patronal feast of the monastery is the Feast of the Transfiguration. The monastery has become a favorite site of pilgrimage. [ citation needed ]

The oldest record of monastic life at Mount Sinai comes from the travel journal written in Latin by a pilgrim woman named Egeria (Etheria St Sylvia of Aquitaine) about 381/2–386. [15] [16]

The monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527–565), enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush (also known as "Saint Helen's Chapel") ordered to be built by Empress Consort Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush. [17] The living bush on the grounds is purportedly the one seen by Moses. [18] Structurally the monastery's king post truss is the oldest known surviving roof truss in the world. [19] The site is sacred to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. [20]

A mosque was created by converting an existing chapel during the Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171), which was in regular use until the era of the Mamluk Sultanate in the 13th century and is still in use today on special occasions. During the Ottoman Empire, the mosque was in desolate condition it was restored in the early 20th century. [21]

During the seventh century, the isolated Christian anchorites of the Sinai were eliminated: only the fortified monastery remained. The monastery is still surrounded by the massive fortifications that have preserved it. Until the twentieth century, access was through a door high in the outer walls. From the time of the First Crusade, the presence of Crusaders in the Sinai until 1270 spurred the interest of European Christians and increased the number of intrepid pilgrims who visited the monastery. The monastery was supported by its dependencies in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Crete, Cyprus and Constantinople.

The monastery, along with several dependencies in the area, constitute the entire Church of Sinai, which is headed by an archbishop, who is also the abbot of the monastery. The exact administrative status of the church within the Eastern Orthodox Church is ambiguous: by some, including the church itself, [22] it is considered autocephalous, [23] [24] by others an autonomous church under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. [25] The archbishop is traditionally consecrated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem in recent centuries he has usually resided in Cairo. During the period of the Crusades which was marked by bitterness between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the monastery was patronized by both the Byzantine emperors and the rulers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and their respective courts.

On April 18, 2017, an attack by the Islamic State group at a checkpoint near the Monastery killed one policeman and injured three police officers. [26]

The library, founded sometime between 548 and 565, is the oldest continuously operating library in the world. [27] The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. [28] It contains Greek, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Syriac, Georgian, Arabic, Ethiopic/Ge‘ez, Latin, Armenian, Church Slavonic, and Caucasian Albanian [29] manuscripts and books, and very rare Hebrew Language, [30] some Coptic books. [7]

In May 1844 and February 1859, Constantin von Tischendorf visited the monastery for research and discovered the Codex Sinaiticus, dating from the 4th century, at the time the oldest almost completely preserved manuscript of the Bible. The finding from 1859 left the monastery for Russia, in circumstances that had been long disputed. But in 2003 Russian scholars discovered the donation act for the manuscript signed by the Council of Cairo Metochion and Archbishop Callistratus on 13 November 1869. The monastery received 9000 rubles as a gift from Tsar Alexander II of Russia. [31] The Codex was sold by Stalin in 1933 to the British Museum and is now in the British Library, London, where it is on public display. Prior to September 1, 2009, a previously unseen fragment of Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in the monastery's library, [32] [33] as well as among the New Finds of 1975. [34] [7] On other visits (1855, 1859) Constantin von Tischendorf also amassed there more valuable manuscripts (Greek, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Georgian, Syriac) and took them with him to St Petersburg and Leipzig, where they are stored today. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

In February 1892, Agnes S. Lewis discovered an old Syriac Sinaiticus, a Gospel palimpsest manuscript in St Catherine Monastery's library that became known as the Syriac Sinaiticus and is still in the its possession. [42] Agnes S. Lewis and her sister Margaret D. Gibson returned in 1893 with a Cambridge team of scholars that included Robert L. Bensly, Francis C. Burkitt, both with their wives, and J. Rendel Harris to photograph and transcribe the manuscript in its entirety, as well as to prepare the first catalogues of the Arabic and Syriac manuscripts. [43] [44] [45] Only among the New Finds two additional palimpsest manuscripts came to light containing additional passages of the Old Syriac Gosples. [46]

The Monastery also has a copy of the Ashtiname of Muhammad, in which the Islamic prophet Muhammad is claimed to have bestowed his protection upon the monastery. [47]

Additionally, the monastery houses a copy of Mok'c'evay K'art'lisay, a collection of supplementary books of the Kartlis Cxovreba, dating from the 9th century. [48]

The most important manuscripts have since been filmed or digitized, and so are accessible to scholars. With planning assistance from Ligatus, a research center of the University of the Arts London, the library was extensively renovated, reopening at the end of 2017. [49] [50] [7]

Sinai Palimpsests Project Edit

Since 2011, a team of imaging scientists [51] [7] and experienced scholars in the decipherment of palimpsest manuscripts [52] [7] from the U.S. and Europe have photographed, digitized, and studied the library's collection of palimpsests during the international Sinai palimpsests project. [53] [7] [17] [54]

Palimpsests are notable for having been reused one or more times over the centuries. Since parchment was expensive and time-consuming to produce, monks would erase certain texts with orange juice or scrape them off and write over them. [55] [7] Though the original texts were once assumed to be lost, [56] the imaging scientists used narrowband multispectral imaging techniques and technologies to reveal features that were difficult to see with the human eye, including ink residues and small grooves in the parchment. [17] [28] Each page took approximately eight minutes to scan completely. [28] These images have subsequently been digitized and are now freely available for research at the UCLA Online Library for scholarly use. [7]

As of June 2018, at least more than 160 palimpsests were identified, with over 6,800 pages of texts recovered. [7] The newer finds were discovered in a secluded storage area of the St George Tower in 1975. [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] Highlights include "108 pages of previously unknown Greek poems and the oldest-known recipe attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates" additional folios for the transmission of the Old Syriac Gospels [46] two unattested witnesses of an early Christian apocryphal text the Dormition of Mary (Transitus Mariae) of which most of the Greek text is lost [63] a previously unknown martyrdom of Patriklos of Caesarea (Palestine), one of the eleven followers of Pamphilus of Caesarea as well as insight into dead languages such as the previously hardly attested Caucasian Albanian and Christian Palestinian Aramaic, the local dialect of the early Byzantine period, with many unparalleled text witnesses. [7]

The complex houses irreplaceable works of art: mosaics, the best collection of early icons in the world, many in encaustic, as well as liturgical objects, chalices and reliquaries, and church buildings. The large icon collection begins with a few dating to the 5th (possibly) and 6th centuries, which are unique survivals the monastery having been untouched by Byzantine iconoclasm, and never sacked. The oldest icon on an Old Testament theme is also preserved there. A project to catalogue the collections has been ongoing since the 1960s. The monastery was an important centre for the development of the hybrid style of Crusader art, and still retains over 120 icons created in the style, by far the largest collection in existence. Many were evidently created by Latins, probably monks, based in or around the monastery in the 13th century. [64]

Icon of the enthroned Virgin and Child with saints and angels, 6th century

Madonna and Child, 13th century

13th century Byzantine icon of Saint Michael the Archangel

Transfiguration, 12th century

The monastery, 18th century

The Saint Catherine's Foundation is a UK-based non-profit organization that aims to preserve the monastery. The conservation of its architectural structures, paintings, and books comprise much of the Foundation's purpose. The Saint Catherine's Foundation works with its academic partner, the Ligatus Research Center at the University of the Arts, London, to raise awareness of the monastery's unique cultural significance via lectures, books and articles. [65] Founded on November 2, 2007 at the Royal Geographical Society in London needs new funds for the conservation workshop, digitization studio and full complement of conservation boxes designed to protect the most vulnerable manuscripts of the monastery. About 2000 manuscripts should be stored in boxes.

  1. ^ Evans, Helen C. (2004). Saint Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, Egypt: A Photographic Essay. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN978-1-58839-109-4 .
  2. ^
  3. "Saint Catherine's Monastery | Location, History, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica . Retrieved 2021-01-23 .
  4. ^
  5. Georgiou, Aristos (December 20, 2017). "These spectacular ancient texts were lost for centuries, and now they can be viewed online". International Business Times. Archived from the original on July 2, 2018.
  6. ^
  7. "Visit Saint Catherine Monastery, Egypt". . Retrieved 2020-09-25 .
  8. ^ Din, Mursi Saad El et al.. Sinai: The Site & The History: Essays. New York: New York University Press, 1998. 80. 0814722032
  9. ^
  10. Jules Leroy Peter Collin (2004). Monks and Monasteries of the Near East. Gorgias Press. pp. 93–94. ISBN978-1-59333-276-1 .
  11. ^ abcdefghijk
  12. ^ Damianós, Archiepískopos Sinâ, "Εἰσήγησις ἐπι τῶν νεωστὶ εὐρεθέντων παλαιῶν χειρογάθων ἐν τῇ Ἱερᾴ μονῇ Σινᾶ," in XVI. Internationaler Byzantinistenkongress, Wien, 4.-9. Oktober 1981. Akten, edited by Herbert Hunger. 11/4, pp. 105-116, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik, 32/4, Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1982.
  13. ^
  14. Schrope, Mark (June 1, 2015). "Medicine's Hidden Roots in an Ancient Manuscript". The New York Times . Retrieved June 1, 2015 .
  15. ^ Sebastian P. Brock, Two Hitherto Unattested Passages of the Old Syriac Gospels in Palimpsests from St Catherie’s Monastery, Sinai, Δελτίο Βιβλικῶν Μελετῶν 31A, 2016, pp. 7–18.
  16. ^ Sinai Palimpsest Project.
  17. ^
  18. "Saint Catherine of Alexandria". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 2010-10-29 .
  19. ^Clugnet 1908. sfn error: no target: CITEREFClugnet1908 (help)
  20. ^Morton 1841, p. 133. sfn error: no target: CITEREFMorton1841 (help)
  21. ^ John Wilkinson (2015), Egeria’s travels (Oxford: Oxbow Books). 978-0-85668-710-5
  22. ^Pilgrimage of Etheria text at
  23. ^ abc
  24. Schrope, Mark (September 6, 2012). "In the Sinai, a global team is revolutionizing the preservation of ancient manuscripts". The Washington Post. ISSN0190-8286 . Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  25. ^
  26. "Is the Burning Bush Still Burning?". Friends of Mount Sinai Monastery . Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  27. ^ Feilden, Bernard M.. Conservation of historic buildings. 3rd ed. Oxford: Architectural Press, 2003. 51. 0750658630
  28. ^
  29. "The Monastery". St-Katherine-net . Retrieved 23 October 2014 .
  30. ^
  31. "Saint Catherine Area".
  32. ^ The official Website describes the Church as "διοικητικά "αδούλωτος, ασύδοτος, ακαταπάτητος, πάντη και παντός ελευθέρα, αυτοκέφαλος" or "administratively 'free, loose, untresspassable, free from anyone at any time, autocephalous'" (see link below)
  33. ^ Weitzmann, Kurt, in: Galey, John Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine, p. 14, Doubleday, New York (1980) 0-385-17110-2
  34. ^
  35. Ware, Kallistos (Timothy) (1964). "Part I: History". The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books . Retrieved 2007-07-14 . Under Introduction Bishop Kallistos says that Sinai is "autocephalous" under The twentieth century, Greeks and Arabs he states that "There is some disagreement about whether the monastery should be termed an 'autocephalous' or merely an 'autonomous' Church."
  36. ^The Orthodox Church of Mount SinaiCNEWA Canada, "A papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support" Archived May 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  37. ^
  38. "Deadly attack near Egypt's old monastery". BBC News. April 19, 2017 . Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  39. ^
  40. Esparza, Daniel. "The library of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai has never closed its doors" . Retrieved 11 August 2020 .
  41. ^ abc
  42. Macdonald, Fleur (June 13, 2018). "Hidden writing in ancient manuscripts". BBC News. Archived from the original on July 2, 2018.
  43. ^ Jost Gippert, The Creation of the Caucasian Alphabets as Phenomenon of Cultural History, in Referate des Internationalen Symposiums (Wien, 1.-4. Dezember 2005), ed. by Werner Seibt, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, pp. 39-50, Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 2011.
  44. ^ Bo Isaksson, "The Monastery of St. Catherine and the New Finds," in Built on Solid Rock: Studies in Honour of Professor Ebbe Egede Knudsen on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday April 11th 1997, edited by Elie Wardini, pp. 128–140, Oslo: Novus forlag, 1997.
  45. ^The History of the acquisition of the Sinai Bible by the Russian Government in the context of recent findings in Russian archives (english Internetedition). The article from A.V. Zakharova was first published in Montfaucon. Études de paléographie, de codicologie et de diplomatique, Moscow–St.Petersburg, 2007, pp. 209–66) see also Alexander Schick, Tischendorf und die älteste Bibel der Welt. Die Entdeckung des Codex Sinaiticus im Katharinenkloster (Tischendorf and the oldest Bible in the world – The discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus in St. Catherine's Monastery), Muldenhammer 2015, pp. 123–28, 145–55.
  46. ^ "Fragment from world's oldest Bible found hidden in Egyptian monastery". The Independent, 2 Sept, 2009,
  47. ^ "Oldest known Bible to go online". BBC News, 3 August 2005.
  48. ^ David C. Parker (2010), CODEX SINAITICUS: The Story of the World’s Oldest Bible. London. British Library, p. 18. 9780712358033
  49. ^ M. F. Brosset (1858), Note sur un manuscrit géorgien de la Bibliothèque Impériale publique et provenant de M. Tischendorf, Mélanges Asiatiques 3, pp. 264-280.
  50. ^ N. Pigoulewsky (1934), Fragments syro-palestiniens des Psaumes CXXIII-IV, Revue Biblique 43, pp. 519–527.
  51. ^ N. Pigoulewski (1937), Manuscrits syriaques bibliques de Léningrad, Revue Biblique 46, pp. 83–92 N. Pigoulewski, Manuscrits syriaques bibliques de Léningrad (suite), Revue Biblique 46, 1937, pp. 225–230 556–562.
  52. ^ Julius Assfalg (1963), Georgische Handschriften (= Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, III) (Wiesbaden) Julius Assfalg (1965), Syrische Handschriften (= Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, V) (Wiesbaden).
  53. ^ Sebastian P. Brock (2012), Sinai: a Meeting Point of Georgian with Syriac and Christian Palestinian Aramaic, in The Caucasus between East & West (Tbilisi), pp. 482–494.
  54. ^ Grigory Kessel (2016), Membra Disjecta Sinaitica I: A Reconstitution of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, in André Binggili et al. (eds.), Manuscripta Graeca et Orientalia: Mélanges monastiques et patristiques en l’honneur de Paul Géhin (Louvain: Peeters), pp. 469–498.
  55. ^ Paul Géhin (2017), Les manuscrits syriaques de parchemin du Sinaï et leur membra disjecta, CSCO 665 / Subsidia 136 (Louvain: Peeters).
  56. ^ The text was deciphered by Francis C Burkitt and Robert L. Bensly, see
  57. Gibson, Margaret Dunlop (1893). How the Codex was Found. Cambridge: Macmillan & Bowes. pp. 36–38.
  58. ^
  59. Gibson, Margaret Dunlop (1893). How the Codex was Found. Cambridge: Macmillan & Bowes. pp. 60–67.
  60. ^ Agnes Smith Lewis (1894), Catalogue of the Syriac MSS. in the Convent of S. Catharine on Mount Sinai, Studia Sinaitica, I (London: C. J. Clay and Sons).
  61. ^ Margaret Dunlop Gibson (1894), Catalogue of the Arabic mss. in the Convent of Saint Catharine on Mount Sinai. Studia Sinaitica, III (London: C. J. Clay and Sons).
  62. ^ ab Sebastian P. Brock, Two Hitherto Unattested Passages of the Old Syriac Gospels in Palimpsests from St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Δελτίο βιβλικῶν Μελετῶν 31, 2016, pp. 7–18.
  63. ^ Brandie Ratliff, "The monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai and the Christian communities of the Caliphate." Sinaiticus. The bulletin of the Saint Catherine Foundation (2008)Archived 2015-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  64. ^
  65. Kavtaradze, Giorgi (2001). "THE GEORGIAN CHRONICLES AND THE RAISON D'ÈTRE OF THE IBERIAN KINGDOM". Journal of Historical Geography of the Ancient World.
  66. ^Retrieved 20 May 2018
  67. ^
  68. "Egypt Reopens Ancient Library at St. Catherine Monastery". Voice of America . Retrieved 2019-11-23 .
  69. ^ Keith Knox (Chief Science Advisor, EMEL, USA) Roger Easton (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester, USA) William Christens-Barry (Chief Scientist, Equipoise Imaging, LCC, MD, USA) David Kelbe (Centre for Space Science Technology, Alexandra, New Zealand)
  70. ^ Zaza Aleksidze (Tbilisi, Georgia) André Binggili (Paris, France) Sebastian Brock (Oxford, UK) Michelle Brown (London, UK) Guglielmo Cavallo (Rome, Italy) Steve Delamarter (Portland, OR, USA) Alain J. Desreumaux (Paris, France) David Ganz (Cambridge, UK) Paul Géhin (Paris, France) Jost Gippert (Frankfurt, Germany) Sidney Griffeth (Washignton DC, USA) Getachew Haile (Minnesota New York, USA) Dieter Harlfinger (Hamburg, Germany) Hikmat Kashouh (Metn, Lebanon) Vasilios Karsaros (Thessaloniki, Greece) Grigory Kessel (Vienna, Austria) Daniela Mairhofer (Princeton, NJ, USA) Heinz Miklas (Vienna, Austria) Christa Müller-Kessler (University of Jena, Germany) Panayotis Nikopolous (Athens, Greece) Pasquale Orsini (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Central Institute for Archives, Italy) Bernard Outtier (Paris, France) Claudia Rapp (Vienna, Austria) Giulia Rossetto (Viennna, Austria) Alexander Treiger (Nova Scotia, Canada) Agammenon Tselikas (Athens, Greece) Nigel Wilson (Oxford, UK).
  71. ^ The project's original heads were the professor of Byzantine studies Claudia Rapp of the University of Vienna and Michael Phelps of the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library (EMEL), Los Angeles.
  72. ^
  73. Hsing, Crystal (April 15, 2011). "Scholars use tech tools to reveal texts". Daily Bruin . Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  74. ^ Revel Netz and William Noel (2008), The Archimedes Codex: Revealing the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Palimpsest (London: Phoenix), pp. 120–124.
  75. ^
  76. Marchant, Jo (December 11, 2017). "Archaeologists Are Only Just Beginning to Reveal the Secrets Hidden in These Ancient Manuscripts". Smithsonian . Retrieved July 2, 2018 .
  77. ^ Ioannis E. Meïmaris (1985), Κατάλογος τῶν νέων ἀραβικῶν χειρογράφων τῆς ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης τοῦ Ὄρους Σινᾶ, Ἱερὰ Μονὴ Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης (Athens).
  78. ^ Ioannis C. Tarnanidis (1988), The Slavonic Manuscripts Discovered in 1975 at St Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai (Thessaloniki).
  79. ^ Sebastian P. Brock (1995), Catalogue of the “New Finds” in St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai (Athens).
  80. ^ Panayotis G. Nicolopoulos (1999), The New Finds. Holy Monastery and Archdiocese of Sinai (Athens).
  81. ^ Zaza Alekzidse, M. Shanidze, L. Khevsuriani, M. Kavtaria (2005), The New Finds of Sinai. Catalogue of Georgian Manuscripts Discovered in 1975 at Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai (Athens).
  82. ^ Philothee du Sinaï (2008), Nouveaux manuscrits syriaques du Sinaï (Athens).
  83. ^ Christa Müller-Kessler, Three Early Witnesses of the «Dormition of Mary» in Christian Palestinian Aramaic. Palimpsests from the Cairo Genizah (Taylor-Schechter Collection) and the New Finds in St Catherine’s Monastery, Apocrypha 29, 2018, pp. 69–95.
  84. ^Kurt Weitzmann in The Icon, Evans Brothers Ltd, London (1982), pp. 201–07 (trans. of Le Icone, Montadori 1981), 0-237-45645-1
  85. ^
  86. "St Catherine Monastery – United Kingdom – Saint Catherine Foundation". St Catherine Monastery – United Kingdom – Saint Catherine Foundation.

Elena Ene D-Vasilescu, “The Monastery of St. Catherine, Sinai and the Romanians”, Revue des Études Sud-Est Européennes/ Journal of South-East European studies, XLVII, 1–4, 2009, pp. 75–87

Russian Divers Discover Ancient Roman Sea Fortress at Tartus - History

Did you know? Egypt has Seven UNESCO Heritage sites spanning through the nation from Cairo all the way brings down south to Upper Egypt as far as Luxor and Aswan.
The Pharaonic period lasted an incredible amount of time all the way from of 32 nd century BC as far as 332 BC, it of course has its own biblical history concerning Moses.
Over time, Egypt has had many rulers from several different faiths and beliefs including Christianity, Greco Roman and Islamic. However, in today’s society the predominant religion is Islam with a smaller percentage of Coptic Christians across the country of whom all interact into society.

Besides the historical aspect of Egypt’s ancient wonders, many tourists and locals choose to opt for an Egyptian experience which can offer them the ‘best of both worlds’, that of the beautiful calm waters of the Red Sea and North Coast with all it has to offer, along with a combination of Egypt’s historic locations.

There are many different options to choose from in terms of resorts along both sides of the Red Sea. The two most popular resorts along Egypt’s Red Sea coasts are Sharm El Sheik on the east coast and Hurghada on the west coast with Mersa Matruh on the North coast.
A very large percentage of tourists are drawn to the beautiful and idyllic resorts of the Red Sea which is known for its spectacular diving spots on both east and west sides where divers can experience incredible corals, species of fish and sea mammals. The benefits of staying in either of these locations on the Red Sea are numerous.
Sharm El Sheik has a reputation for being a more upmarket and luxurious resort with numerous excellent diving schools to explore the glorious underwater sea life and local attractions such as Ras Muhamed National Park and pretty islands easily reachable by local boat excursions. Being located on the eastern side of the Red Sea means that it has access to some fascinating ancient sites which include the beautiful and ancient Saint Catherine’s Monastery which sits at the base of Mount Sinai, one of the most scenic and breathtaking hikers paradise known as Mount Moses andsaid to be the setting where Moses received the ten commandments from God and pointed to the Promised Land after crossing the Red Sea.On the western side of the Red Sea is the main resort of Hurghada, once a small fishing village which is a now a very large resort with more than enough activities for all ages. Amongst its many options besides diving and visiting superb local islands by boat, Hurghada has a very large shopping district, a Marina with excellent restaurants and access via a reliable bus service to either Cairo or Luxor. Tours and excursions can take visitors to the important sites such as the large Mosque El Mina, situated right on the coast near the Marina.
Nearby are the resorts of Marsa Alam, and Sal Hasheesh and the very large resort within a resort known as El Gouna with apartments, villas and houses for rent or sale and has themed areas with its own shopping centres, restaurants, marina and beach.

Pharaonic Egypt – Cairo, Luxor and Aswan


Most tourists across the world have the desire to visit Egypt at least once in their lifetime. The main reason? To explore the Unesco heritage sites most famous in Egypt. Archaeologists have been digging ancient sites for centuries and even to this day, are still discovering hidden secrets such as burial sites, old cities and more.
Cairo and Giza are usually the first place that visitors arrive at due to the Great Pyramids of Giza and plenty of other historical sites to explore.
Cairo itself is a bustling and fascinating city with ancient history and the scenic Nile River flowing through. You will discover ruins and heritage of the oldest civilization on earth., admire the example of ancient Egypt’s architectural marvels, and home to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The 3 Great Pyramids of Giza and the Pyramid of Cheops being the largest Pyramid in the world. The other two pyramids on the Giza Plateau Pyramids are that of Chephren and Mykerinos sitting alongside Cheops. Other sites at this location are the Boat Museum, hosting an original boat that was discovered, unearthed, then reconstructed and proved to be a boat that was used for sailing the Nile from Upper Egypt to bury a Pharaoh or dignitary for their resting place at Giza.
Overlooking the Great Pyramids is the greatest monument ever built, the Great Sphinx of Giza, a colossal marvel with the body of a lion and head of the Pharaoh Khafre.
Another important site is that of the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara,the legacy of Egypt’s oldest pyramid in Egypt built for the ambitious King Djoser- the first king of the Third Dynasty of Egypt.
Close by is also the ancient City of Memphis, the first Capital of Egypt under the rule of the first Pharaohs. Known as the ‘open air museum’, Memphis has many important relics such as the giant Statue of Ramesses II is made of red granite at an amazing 3,200-year-old and found in 1820 at the Great Temple of Ptah nearby Memphis, Egypt.
No visit to Cairo would be complete without a visit to the world-renowned Egyptian Museum featuring thousands of artifacts from the Pharaonic period. The museum displays a rare collection totalling 5000 years of art which is considered the largest most precious collection of Egyptian art in the world. Over 250,000 genuine artifacts are presented, including an exhibit dedicated to Tutankhamun collection of treasure, gold and jewelry including the stunning precious gold mask of Tutankhamun which was enclosed in his tomb for over 3,500 years before it was discovered in the 1920s when his tomb was excavated.
Another important history of Egypt was the emergence of the Islamic period from the advance of the Ottoman Turk invasion. The glorious Salah El din Citadel is a important reminder of this period which hosts the lavish Mohamed Ali Alabaeter Mosque designed by the architect Yousif Boushnaq, a Turkish man who travelled from Istanbul, Turkey especially for the purpose of building this great mosque for Mohamed Ali, the then ruler of Egypt (1805-1849) who ruled for over 45 years.
Another important reminder of past history in Egypt, is the area of the city known as ‘Old Cairo’ which is still home to the original Coptic Christian community and ancient Mosques, Christian rock churches, and old Khan Khalili bazaar.
Downtown Cairo is in comparison, much more modern with districts home to local Egyptians, ex patriots from around the world, immigrants from war torn countries and home to Embassy’s, modern cafes and restaurants, and original buildings with a distinct English colonial look from the past history of English settlements in Cairo. The River Nile runs straight through the centre of the city with distinctive landmarks such as Cairo Tower, the 6 th of October Bridge named after the 6 th October 1973 when Egypt defeated Israel in the war of 1973 and one of the most important bridges in the Capital transporting over 500,00 people on average every day to several districts across the City. Along with this, many large 5 star hotels sitting along the corniche.

Upper Egypt – Luxor and Aswan

Nobody needs to be told what Luxor is famous for. Home to the renowned Valley of the Kings and its most famous discovery of the Tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun. Unearthed by the English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
Located on the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor, the Valley of the Kings was home to many important sites such as the Colossi of Memnon, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and over 63 tombs discovered with the possibility of yet more to be unearthed.
On the East Bank of Luxor, are the important Luxor and Karnak Temples.
Originally known as the city of Thebes in ancient times, and often described by archaeologists as ‘the world’s greatest open air museum’, Luxor has an immense history and was originally the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom of 1570C – 1069BC
Luxor Temple was under the rein of several Pharaohs and Kings and Karnak Temple under the rule of Senusret on the East Bank next to Luxor City will be an eye opening opportunity to see two of the first ever temples to be constructed in Upper Egypt. Luxor City sits right next to Luxor Temple and has a really interesting Souk with an abundance of souvenirs, traditional coffee shops and restaurants and well worth exploring.

Aswan and Nile Temples:

7 Days Egypt Tour | Cairo, Nile Cruise

Most trips to Aswan are via sailing along the Nile from Luxor on a relaxing Nile Cruise, enabling the opportunity for pure relaxation with the lovely views along the Nile delta and Temples to stop at on route.
Near to the lock at Esna, is the important Temple of Edfu, known as the God Horus, representative of a falcon built during the Hellenistic period and completed in 57BC meaning it was during the Greek rein of Ptomely XII Auletes.
Further along the Nile isKom Ombo Temple, the crocodile God Sobek, also constructed during the Hellenistic period and worshipped as a twin temple along with Horus at Edfu.

Aswan City:
A most beautiful City, famous for the Nubian people from the African continent who were forced to move to Egypt after serious floods further along the Nile before the Aswan Dam was constructed. Their colourful homes often built from mud brick are very welcoming to visitors on the West Bank of Aswan.
Aswan city has a very large and lively souk for strolling and browsing their traditional goods with many stalls of spices and herbs. It is also famous for several important sites such as the Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan Dam (built to prevent the Nile from flooding in to Upper Egypt) and Philae Temple, located on Agilika Island.Sailing along the Nile from Aswan, you will pass under the beautifully constructed Aswan Bridge. Directly opposite the City on the West Bank, are the large limestone rocks which are home to the burial chambers known as the Tombs of the Nobles from the 1 st Dynasty.

Lake Nasser:

When travelling to Aswan, it is essential that you do not miss the opportunity to visit one of the greatest and largest temples in Egypt. Perched on the edge of Lake Nasser is the mind blowing temple known as Abu Simbel, built in honour of Egypt’s great Pharaoh Ramesses II. It has a lot of history, including the mammoth task of completely moving the whole temple due to flooding of Lake Nasser in order to preserve it. This was amazingly achieved thanks to a Polish archaeologist and his team and completed in 1968.
It is said that the temple was positioned in a certain way as to allow the sun to enter the chamber and shine on several sculpted figures, whilst avoiding the God of the dead, Ptah. This takes place on two days of the year, October 22 nd and February 22 nd which is a massive draw for tourists and historians alike.

A totally different experience awaits you in the beautiful Oasis town of Siwa, a hidden gem famed for the route of the old Silk Road and originally a Berber settlement.
Over time, it became home to many people passing through from the Silk Road. It has many attractions such as the Temple of the Oracle Amun, the Spring of Juba known as Cleopatra’s pool, the Shali Fortress and original mud built homes which give the city it’s unusual look. Along with its calming oasis, it is the most relaxing place to unwind and have the experience of a traditional style. With traditional style accommodations, local cuisines and friendly people who have their own dialect, it is an unmissable opportunity to see the history of Siwa and learn about the Oracle which told Alexander the Great as he passed through, that he would become a great leader and King.

Mersa Matruh:

A popular North Sea resort known as Mersa Matruh, very much visited by Egyptian families during their annual vacations. In the heart of the City is the local souk to explore and all it has to offer. Also, very calming and relaxing beaches for a spot of sunbathing. Known as the place where Field Marshall Rommel stayed and organised his German troops and tanks for battle across the Egyptian desert at El Alamein, even having a Hotel named after him which is still there to this day.

travelling along the North coast is the very historical site of El Alamein. Home to the incredible vast site of the War Graves which is the resting place of soldiers and airmen from the fierce battle of El Alamein during the 2 nd World War which ended in the Egyptian western desert October 1942. A total of 7,240 graves are spread across a wide area with graves of men from a wide range of countries as far as Australia.

Rommel’s Cave Museum:

Just a quick drive from Mersa Matruh is the Rommel Cave Museum. In recall of Rommel’s extreme efforts, the Egyptian and German governments work together to open a Museum in 1977 at the Cave where Rommel executed his plans for attacks on the British and other militaries. Located close to the City, it was an ultimate location on the coast for his top-secret plans. Several places in Mersa Matruh are nominated after Rommel including a Hotel, overpass, and an Island.

The old capital city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great, known to be the greatest leader through the Greco- Roman period. The city hosts numerous sites dating back to this period including the extraordinary ancient Roman Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, dating back to the early Roman period. These catacombs were used to intern the dead for over 200 years. The architecture and traditions were influenced by Egyptian, Greek and Roman styles. Today the Catacombs standout as evidence of an age when three cultures, three arts, and three religions co-existed on Egyptian Soil.
On the waterfront sits the Citadel of Quatbay, located at the entrance to Alexandria’s eastern harbour. Built-in the 14th century to defend the city from the advances of the immense Ottoman Empire.
The enormous Alexandria Library was once was the centre of learning in the ancient world and lost in time yet recreated to modern-day architecture and learning and is still a modern-day Library of learning and frequented by students on a daily basis. Sadly, the original library was all but burnt down with its old important manuscripts by ancient scholars from an attack by Julius Caesar’s army. There is also a large Pompey’s Pillar along with ruins of a roman amphitheatre still visible amongst the cities buildings.

Rosetta (Rashid) City:

Lying at the tip of Egypt directly on the Mediterranean Sea, the City of Rosetta was originally built in the Ptolemaic period and has had several name changes over time due to the different religious changes and rulers. In later years during Islamic rule, the city was renamed Rashid and has stuck with this name ever since.
However, during the French campaign lead by Napoleon Bonaparte, the City was named by the French who landed nearby at Fort Julien in 1799 after discovering the original Rosetta Stone, hence the name Rosetta (meaning beautiful rose in French).
It was during the 19 th century, that Rosetta became a popular tourist attraction for British visitors due to the unique style of homes designed like Ottoman mansions, pretty citrus trees and groves along with a reputation for cleanliness.

So, whether it is a holiday to Egypt is for pure relaxation on the sun drenched beaches of Egypt, or excitedly exploring the ancient civilisations of this unique land of the Pharaohs or even a twin centre adventure to discover both, look no further!

We can offer many different tours ranging from full day, half day, 2 days or more, twin centre holidays, multi country holidays, ranging from Hotel stays to Nile Cruises or traditional Bedouin style accommodations. We have it all.

As a reputable company, we like to be able to offer our clients a multitude of tour options to ensure your holiday of a lifetime.

Adventure tourism is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, therefore we do our utmost to provide ‘off the beaten track’ excursions, offering a brand new experience of often unknown regions and cultures in Egypt.

All our tours are with a qualified and experienced Tour Guide who can able to communicate your language. He/ she will be with you from your pickup point until drop off at the end of your journey.
So, what are you waiting for a look at our superb trips and see what thrilling selections are on offer to fit your perfect vacation? Welcome home to Egypt!

Russian Divers Discover Ancient Roman Sea Fortress at Tartus - History

Posted on 04/21/2020 3:43:53 PM PDT by SunkenCiv

Five major ancient shipwrecks that carried amphorae and an anchor pole pointing to a large sea vessel are among the amazing finds found by archaeologists during underwater searches at the bottom of Levitha, a small island in the Aegean Sea, between Amorgos and Leros.

The shipwreck at Knidos had a trove including amphorae, dating back to the same period, while three more shipwrecks with cargoes of Cone or pseudo-Cone amphorae were found (2nd and 1st centuries BC) and the 2nd century AD), a shipwreck with amphorae cargo from the North Aegean of the 1st century BC, a shipwreck with cargo of amphorae of the 1st century BC. and finally, a shipwreck with amphorae dating back to the early Christian period.

Of particular interest is a granite anchor pole, lifted from a depth of 45 meters, weighing 400 kg. It is probably dated to the 6th century BC. and is the largest stone pillar of the Archaic period, which has been found to this day in the Aegean. It was most likely used by a colossal sized ship.

The discoveries are the fruits of the first mission of the underwater archaeological research overseen by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities on the island of Levitha, which took place from 15 to 29 June under the direction of archaeologist Dr. George Koutsouflakis.

The underwater archaeological research is being conducted over a three-year period (2019-2021), with the aim of identifying and documenting ancient shipwrecks in the coastal zone in the cluster of four isolated islands (Levitha, Mavria, Glaros and Chinaros), which appears to have played a key role in ancient and modern navigation.

    [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2020] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2019] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2018] [2017] [2017] [2017] [2017] [2017] [2017] [2017] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2016] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2015] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2014] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2013] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2012] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2011] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2010] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2009] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2008] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2007] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2006] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2005] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2004] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2003] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2002] [2001] [2001] [2001]

and finally, a shipwreck with amphorae dating back to the early Christian period.

I wonder where they were heading.

What always fascinates me is that in all these different eras, these people thought their civilization and even their generation were the be all and end all. when it was really a moment in time.


The original name of the city is attested as Antheia (Ἄνθεια in Greek) [2] but was soon renamed to Apollonia (Ἀπολλωνία). At various times, Apollonia was known as Apollonia Pontica (Ἀπολλωνία ἡ Ποντική, that is, "Apollonia on the Black Sea", the ancient Pontus Euxinus) and Apollonia Magna ("Great Apollonia"). By the first century AD, the name Sozopolis (Σωζόπολις) began to appear in written records. During the Ottoman rule the town was known as Sizebolu, Sizeboli or Sizebolou.

    a machine-translated version of the German article.
  • Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia.
  • Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 6,472 articles in the main category, and specifying |topic= will aid in categorization.
  • Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article.
  • You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary Content in this edit is translated from the existing German Wikipedia article at [[:de:Apollonia Pontica]] see its history for attribution.
  • You should also add the template <> to the talk page.
  • For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times.

The town was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Miletus as Antheia (Ancient Greek: Ἄνθεια ). The town established itself as a trade and naval centre in the following centuries and became one of the largest and richest Greek colonies in the Black Sea region. Its trade influence in the Thracian territories was based on a treaty dating from the fifth century BC with the Odrysian kingdom, the most powerful Thracian state. Apollonia became a legendary trading rival of another Greek colony, Mesembria, today’s Nessebar.

The name was changed to Apollonia, [3] on account of a temple dedicated to Apollo in the town.

There were two temples of Apollo Iatros (Ancient Greek: Ἀπόλλων Ἰατρός ), meaning healer in Greek. One from the Late Archaic Greece and the other from the Early Classical Greece. [4]

It kept strong political and trade relations with the cities of Ancient Greece – Miletus, Athens, Corinth, Heraclea Pontica and the islands Rhodes, Chios, Lesbos, etc.

The city managed to keep its independence during the wars of Phillip II of Macedon (342-339 BC) and Alexander the Great (335 BC).

In 72 BC it was conquered and sacked by the Roman legions of Marcus Lucullus, who transported the statue of Apollo to Rome and placed it in the Capitol.

Apollonia Pontica started minting its own coins at the end of the 6th century BC, the anchor appearing on them as the symbol of the polis present on all coins minted since the sixth century BC, proof of the importance of its maritime trade. Coins from the fourth century BC bear the name Apollonia and the image of Apollo. The Roman imperial coins continue to the first half of the third century AD.

The Tabula Peutinger shows Apollonia but the "Periplus Ponti Euxini", 85, and the Notitiæ episcopatuum have only the later name Sozopolis.

In 1328 Cantacuzene (ed. Bonn, I, 326) speaks of it as a large and populous town. The islet on which it stood is now connected with the mainland by a narrow tongue of land. Ruled in turn by the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Ottoman Empires, Sozopol was assigned to the newly independent Principality of Bulgaria in the 19th century. At the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) prominent local personalities like Dimitrios Varis were arrested and executed by the Ottoman authorities due to participation in the preparations of the struggle. [5]

According to the Bulgarian jurist and politician Vasil Mitakov (1881-1945), the town was almost entirely ethnically Greek in the first decade of the 20th century, with the exception of a few dozen Bulgarians in the whole city who were either current or retired officials. [6] Almost all of its Greek population was exchanged with Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. In 2011 the remainings of an ancient Greek settlement, part of Apollonia, were excavated in the small island of St. Kirik (Saint Cerycus) off Sozopolis. [7]

Since 1984 Sozopol hosts the Apollonia art festivities every September, which include theatre shows, exhibitions, movies, musical and dance performances, book presentations and other cultural events. [5]

Climate data for Sozopol (2004-2017)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.7
Average low °C (°F) 1.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 11.5 8.3 6.6 4.1 3.7 4.2 2.6 2.8 4.5 7.2 5.0 10.2 70.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 95 118 171 226 261 302 324 295 245 181 107 76 2,401
Source: [ citation needed ]

Colossal statue of Apollo Edit

The city erected, in 5th century BC, a colossal statue of the god Apollo which was 13 m (43 ft) tall. It was created by the sculptor Calamis. In 72 BC, the Romans under Marcus Lucullus captured the city and moved the sculpture to Rome on the Capitolium. [8] [9] Pliny the Elder wrote that the statue cost 500 talents. [10] It was lost during the Early Christian period.

Archaeology Edit

Recent excavations have revealed parts of the ancient city including: [11]

  • A temple complex (late 6th - early 5th century BC) presumably belonging to the famous temple of Apollo
  • An oval altar and a temple from the Hellenistic period (4th century BC)
  • A tholos
  • A copper foundry

In addition, archaeologists discovered a Greek bucranium amulet from the 5th century BC. [12] A shrine of goddesses Demeter and Persephone from the 6th century BC. [13]

Many objects from antiquity, included imported luxury ceramics, red-figure pottery, sgraffito pottery, pottery lamps, loom weights, spindle parts, coins, amphora seals, arrow coins, ceramic game pieces, adornments. One of the most impressive finds was an Attica red-figure pottery krater, depicting the myth about Oedipus and the Sphinx. The krater is dated to the second quarter of the 5th century BC. Excavation teams also discovered, a ceramic askos dated back to the second half of the 6th century BC, and was “made in the tradition of grey monochrome Aeolian pottery", a 6th century BC home and other antiquity buildings, pottery and coins from both the antiquity period and the Middle Ages. Furthermore, have also identified the ruins of a medieval Christian chapel and have discovered several graves from a medieval necropolis that was used in two time periods – in the 11th century AD and then again in the 13th – 14th century AD. In a grave from the 11th century, the researchers have found two small crosses – one made of bronze and another one made of bone. They have also discovered three pits hewn into the rocks from the Classical Period of Ancient Greece containing materials from the 5th – 4th century BC. [14]

Later, they discovered an ancient metallurgical plant from the 6th century BC located at an antiquity copper mine. While the ancient copper mining near Sozopol has been well researched, for the first time archaeologists have discovered ceramic kilns for melting the copper ore right on the edge of the mine in what resembles an Antiquity metallurgy facility. [15]

In 2021, archaeologists discovered a terracotta relief fragment, depicting marching Greek hoplites. The relief is a piece of a larger depiction, other parts of which were discovered in 2018 and 2019. [16]

Ecclesiastical history Edit

Sozopol was Christianized early. Bishops are recorded as resident there from at least 431. At least eight bishops are known: [17] Athanasius (431), Peter (680), Euthymius (787) and Ignatius (869) Theodosius (1357), Joannicius, who became Patriarch of Constantinople (1524), Philotheus (1564) and Joasaph (1721).

From being suffragan to the archbishopric of Adrianople, it became in the 14th century a metropolitan see without suffragan sees it perhaps temporarily disappeared with the Turkish conquest, but reappeared later in 1808 the Greek Orthodox Church united it to the see of Agathopolis. The titular resided at Agathopolis.

Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii ævi, I, 194) mentions four Latin bishops of the 14th century.

The bishopric is included in the Catholic Church's list of titular sees as Sozopolis in Haemimonto and as a suffragan of Hadrianopolis in Haemimonto.

Art flourished in the Christian era. The ancient icons and magnificent woodcarving in the iconostases are a remarkable accomplishment of the craftsmanship of these times. The architecture of the houses in the old town from the Renaissance period makes it a unique place to visit today.

The vampire of Sozopol Edit

During archaeological excavations in 2012 the remains of a skeleton pierced with an iron bar in the heart were found. It is believed that those are the remains of the local nobleman Krivich (or Krivitsa), ruler of the fortress of Sozopol (castrofilax). Believed to be a very cruel person, the locals made sure that he would not come back to haunt the city after his death by piercing him with an iron bar in the chest. There are more than 100 medieval funerals similar to that of Krivitsa found all over Bulgaria. The remains were pierced with either an iron or a wooden bar through the chest to make sure that the dead will not rise from the grave as a vampire.

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Roman Villa in Rescue Excavations near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo

An Ancient Roman villa dating back to the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (r. 306-337 AD) has been discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists during rescue excavations along the projected route of the Struma Highway near the town of Mursalevo, Kocherinovo Municipality, in Southwest Bulgaria.

The Ancient Roman villa is the 18 th archaeological site excavated along the planned route of Lot 1 of the Struma Highway, which is supposed to connect the Bulgarian capital Sofia with Greece by 2018-2020.

The newly discovered Roman villa near Mursalevo is located on a plot with an area of 3 decares (app. 0.75 acres), reports private channel Nova TV.

The archaeologists have dug up the ruins of 7 rooms and a large guest hall as well as four storage facilities used for keeping agricultural produce and residential buildings for the agricultural workers.

A blueprint of the main part of the Roman villa discovered near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo. Photo: TV grab from Nova TV

An aerial photo showing the ruins of the newly found Late Antiquity Roman villa near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo on the projected route of the Struma Highway. Photo: Blitz

The Ancient Roman villa was the property of a Roman landlord who led a rich life judging by the coins discovered there, reports news site Blitz, citing an unnamed witness of its discovery.

The anonymous and unconfirmed report says many more archaeological structures from the same complex might be located on private properties nearby but it is unclear if and when they can be excavated.

Unfortunately, once the rescue excavations of the 4 th century AD Roman villa near Mursalevo are completed, the unique archaeological structure will remain under the soon-to-be-built Struma Highway.

“It would be hard to preserve this [Roman] villa since the way the highway is designed it will pass on both sides of the villa,” explains Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences .

“What can be done here is to exhibit the villa somewhere else. For example, Kocherinovo Municipality has a project for creating a museum by the highway where all finds discovered in the rescue excavations along the highway route will be put on display,” he adds.

Ruins of the Ancient Roman villa discovered in rescue excavations on the route of the Struma Highway near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo. Photo: TV grab from Nova TV

Ruins of the Ancient Roman villa discovered in rescue excavations on the route of the Struma Highway near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo. Photo: TV grab from Nova TV

Ruins of the Ancient Roman villa discovered in rescue excavations on the route of the Struma Highway near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo. Photo: TV grab from Nova TV

Ruins of the Ancient Roman villa discovered in rescue excavations on the route of the Struma Highway near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo. Photo: TV grab from Nova TV

The fate of the archaeological sites discovered in rescue excavations as a result of Bulgaria’s highway construction has become a matter of a public controversy because of the need for greater flexibility over their exploration and potential development as cultural tourism sites.

The present Bulgarian government prioritizes the building of highways funded with EU money which is oftentimes carried out by large and well connected construction companies, Bulgarian and foreign alike.

Tight EU deadlines with regard to funding absorption are another matter that Bulgarian archaeologists conducting rescue excavations for infrastructure projects have to comply with.

Background Infonotes:

The Early Neolithic settlement near Mursalevo, Blagoevgrad District, in Southwest Bulgaria was discovered in May 2015 (even though the spot has been known as an archaeological site since the 1930s) by a team of Bulgarian archaeologists led by Prof. Vasil Nikolov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It is dated to about 5,800 BC. The Bulgarian archaeologists found there at least 20 prehistoric buildings with perfect alignment whose walls are 20 cm wide and made of plant stalks and clay. They believe that the buildings were burned down deliberately in arson after firewood was stocked inside them. On the same spot near Mursalevo, the archaeologists have found a Late Neolithic grave with a skeleton in fetal position, artifacts such as tools, figurines, and ceramic vessels, as well as dozens of Ancient Thracian sanctuary pits for rituals and sacrifices from the 5th-1st century BC it is thought that the Thracians deemed the spot of the former prehistoric settlement a sacred place.

Egypt's Siwa fortress renovation boosts hopes for ecotourism

The 13th century edifice, called 'Shali' or 'home' in the local Siwi language, was built by Berber populations

Tucked away in Egypt's Western Desert, the Shali fortress once protected inhabitants against the incursions of wandering tribes, but now there are hopes its renovation will attract ecotourists.

The 13th-century edifice, called "Shali" or "home" in the local Siwi language, was built by Berber populations atop a hill in the pristine Siwa oasis, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) southwest of Cairo.

The towering structure is made of kershef—a mixture of clay, salt and rock which acts as a natural insulator in an area where the summer heat can be scorching.

After it was worn away by erosion, and then torrential rains almost 100 years ago, the European Union and Egyptian company Environmental Quality International (EQI) began to restore the fortress in 2018, at a cost of over $600,000.

"Teach your children, and mine, about what ancient Shali means," sang a choir of young girls in brightly coloured robes at the renovated fortress' inauguration ceremony last week.

Dotted by thick palm groves, freshwater springs and salt lakes, the Siwa oasis's geographic and cultural isolation offers a rare eco-friendly getaway, far from Egypt's bustling urban communities.

The region's tourism model contrasts with Egypt's mass approach in other areas, such as its Red Sea resorts in the east or along the Nile valley, especially in Luxor and Aswan in the south.

Egyptian schoolchildren are seen wearing traditional outfits for the inauguration of the renovated fortress on November 6

Employment opportunities

Tourists began gravitating to Siwa from the 1980s, after the government built roads linking it with the northwestern city of Marsa Matrouh, the provincial capital on the Mediterranean.

The Marsa Matrouh governor has called the oasis, registered as a natural reserve since 2002, a "therapeutic and environmental tourism destination".

Eco-lodges offer lush vegetable gardens and kershef facades.

Restoration works at the Shali fortress were carried out under the aegis of the Egyptian government, which has been pushing to make Siwa a global "ecotourism destination".

The project also includes setting up a traditional market and a museum on local architecture.

"The project will certainly benefit us and bring tourists. Today, I can offer my palm frond products inside Shali," said Adam Aboulkassem, who sells handicrafts in the fortress.

The European Union and Egyptian company Environmental Quality International (EQI) began to restore the fortress in 2018, at a cost of over $600,000

EQI project manager Ines al-Moudariss said the materials used in the restoration work were sourced from the fortress site itself.

She said the project was about "bringing the inhabitants of Siwa back to their origins and offering them employment opportunities" and services.

Events in the past decade outside the desert oasis have had a ripple effect in Siwa, and tourism slumped after political unrest that rocked Egypt and other countries in the Middle East in 2011.

Foreign tourist arrivals at the oasis have plummeted from around 20,000 in 2010 to just 3,000, said Mahdi al-Howeiti, director of the local tourism office. Domestic tourism has only partially made up for the sharp decline, he added.

Ailing infrastructure

This year, the coronavirus pandemic put a brake on travel worldwide and dealt a further blow to arrivals.

An Egyptian labouror works on the restoration of the Shali fortress

And though the project is seen by some as a way to bring back visitors, critics say it fails to address the concerns of the 30,000-strong Siwi population, a Berber ethnic group.

"No Siwi goes to Shali. We are attached to it, but from afar, like a landscape," said Howeiti.

He said there were more pressing issues for residents, such as fixing crumbled and unsafe roads or treating agricultural wastewater that harms the cultivation of olives and date palms—key pillars of the local economy.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said at the inauguration that the fortress was a "cultural asset" and its renovation was "essential".

But he also acknowledged that "we need to work on the infrastructure of the region, the airport and especially the roads".

The closest airport to Siwa, located just 50 kilometres (around 30 miles) from the border with war-torn Libya, is restricted to the military.

Restoration works at the Shali fortress were carried out under the aegis of the Egyptian government, hoping to make Siwa a global 'ecotourism destination'

But some locals remain sceptical.

"The fortress was not in danger of collapsing," said Howeiti.

"In my opinion, it would have been better to leave it as it is. These ruins have a history."

Watch the video: Did The Soviet Union Discover Aliens In The Deepest Lake In The World? UFOs: The Lost Evidence (August 2022).