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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hidden Facts Ancient Egypt

Why So Many Beetles?
To the ancient Egyptians, the scarab (or dung beetle) symbolized the sun god Khepri and the eternal rebirth. Drawings and figures of scarabs are often found in ancient tombs.

How Hot Is It?
In August the average high in Cairo is 92°F (33°C), and Luxor hovers around 102°F (39°C)—but temps in both cities often climb even higher.

Tight Fit?
Myth: The stones of the Pyramids are fitted so tightly that you can't slide a credit card between them. Reality: Not true. Some stones have mortar, some don't—and you can easily slide a credit card between them.

Great Pyramid: Standing Tall
Stretching 481 feet (147 meters) into the sky, the Great Pyramid of Khufu dwarfs the Statue of Liberty in New York (305 feet/93 meters). Khufu's tomb was the tallest structure on Earth until the 14th century, when the spire of the Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, topped out at 525 feet (160 meters).

No Camels in Ancient Egypt?
Today camels are often used as transportation and pack animals in the desert, but in early ancient Egypt donkeys played that role. Camels weren't introduced until the Persians took control of Egypt around 525 B.C.

What Color Were the Pyramids?
Today the Pyramids of Giza blend into the beige sand around them, but when they were first built they were encased in bright limestone and were as white as fresh snow. Over the years the casing was stripped away by looters and for other building projects; only Khafre's pyramid retains some.

What's So Great About the Nile?
Winding 4,240 miles (6,650 kilometers) through Africa, the Nile is the longest river in the world. Each summer the annual flooding of the river provided the Egyptians with some of the richest soil in the world.

Royal EmblemsIn ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, only pharaohs' names were enclosed with an oval border called a cartouche. Today anyone can have their name carved in a cartouche—for a price. Cartouche necklaces are popular souvenirs from Egypt.Did They Really Worship Cats?Not really. Many animals, including cats, were associated with gods and were therefore revered. The goddess Bastet was portrayed as a cat. Hundreds of thousands of her followers trekked to Bubastis, east of Cairo, where her cult was based. Mummified cats have been found buried here.Did the Men Wear Makeup?Both men and women in ancient Egypt wore a sort of eyeliner. The paint was made of minerals mixed with water, ground on palettes, and kept in tubes. It was worn for adornment and perhaps also to reduce the sun's glare.

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