Monday, March 05, 2007
Here a cosmic case of vandalism. The Mohammed Ali (not that one) Mosque in Cairo's Citadel -- an icon that stands for the city in nearly all tourist literature -- is encased in the smooth stone covering that once the rough stones of the Pyramids at Giza. That was regarded as recycling once -- in the same way the Roman Forum in Rome was pillaged for the Pantheon and other new building.
Egypt's treasures also have been robbed by century of treasure hunters and thieves and by scientists from other countries. The beard of the Spynx, for example is far away from his face -- in the British Museum.
We found temple walls chisled and hacked by Christians who were offended by the religion and untouched by the art of what they found in Egypt. Some temples were converted into churches -- complete in the case of the Temple at Karnak with Roman style paintings of saints.
The second photo is of a mosque built atop the amazing Temple at Luxor. Much of this structure was lost under sand for years. New residents built what they needed, and only excavation years later revealed the odd build-on. The mosque is still in use.