We walked over to the Ramesseum, a memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Unlike most of the other sites we had visited, there weren't many other visitors here. We may have passed a couple of others leaving as we entered the site, but that was about it.
Soon after entering, a guard asked us if we would like to be shown around. We politely declined and hoped he would leave us alone and let us enjoy the site on our own.
In Egypt it is hard to go anywhere without encountering a local with his hand out. They all want their "baksheesh" or tip. For example- while visiting sites, guards will ask for baksheesh to allow you to take photos in areas where they are supposedly not allowed. Or if we asked for directions, that person would expect their cut as well. Kim and I love to explore and wander on our own when traveling, so you can see how this would become extremely annoying to us.
He asked us if we liked mummies!
I was immediately interested in what he had to say. In his limited English, the guard explained to us that a French team was still excavating parts of the Ramesseum. They were on break for the summer due to the extreme heat.
We decided to let him show us around. We followed the guard over a thin string about 3 feet off the ground (the security fence???) into an area they had been excavating. The section we stopped in had a couple of holes covered by small sheets of metal with a couple of rocks holding them in place.
|Protection for the Mummies|
The first area was interesting but did not look like much. From what I could tell, it was a sarcophagus with a mummy in really poor shape inside. You could see that it was the shape of a body (the head looks to be visible) and had some coloring still left on the sarcophagus.
I figured that this piece could probably be restored and placed in a museum just about anywhere in the world.
I could not believe that this mummy- most likely a few thousand years old was just laying in this shallow grave with junk and garbage all around it.
I wondered if there were plans to remove this treasure and display it in a museum eventually.
The Ramesseum ended up being one of our most memorable and favorite visits around Luxor.
Having such an ancient site to ourselves was amazing in itself. Getting to see the mummies made for an experience that I'll never forget. I am glad that the guard was a little persistent and offered to share the site with us!
This is probably one time I can truly say the baksheesh pays off!
Here are a couple of more pictures from around the site: