Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
3 - 9 February 2000
Issue No. 467
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

 
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A lover's sketch

http://www.powerup.com.au/~ancient

If you want a taste of Egypt, but not too much tedious detail, then go to "Rigby's World of Egypt", a Web site created and maintained by Egypt-lover Mark Rigby. Rigby covers Egypt's monuments, history and culture admirably, giving internet visitors a chance to experience the unique treasures of an ancient land through photographs, paintings and valuable bites of information that are easy to swallow. Web-surfers looking for quick access to information and travellers planning to visit Egypt will find Rigby's efforts to be an adequate resource, but the site is not comprehensive -- it is unlikely to satisfy the researcher or academic.

On the site's home page, Rigby declares: "Egypt is rich in history and culture. Despite some unsafe areas, Egypt remains generally safe and the people very friendly. Most people who visit Egypt fall in love with the country." Rigby's passion for studying ancient Egypt is evident, and his enthusiasm is apparently a family affair: the site features paintings of Egypt by Rigby's father and a pithy verse by his mother.

Rigby's World of Egypt is a personal Web site, meaning the information provided is subject only to the interests and research of its creator. That said, the site offers nearly 90 pages of well-organised material, reflecting Rigby's interest and knowledge of the country and offering wonderful photos of temples, artefacts, and Egypt itself. Through the main page you will can access the 12 sections of the site.

The Tour of Egypt section is a straightforward guide to Egypt and its various ancient sites, including popular destinations like the Sphinx, Saqqara, Luxor, Aswan, Philae and Abu Simbel. Click on this section and you get 10 photos of stops on the virtual "tour", each with links that provide information and photos of the site.

For an interesting bird's eye view of Egypt, go to the Egypt from Space section, which provides photos taken since the mid-sixties by astronauts in space. The images selected place Egypt geographically on the globe and show the country from the Nile Delta to Lake Nasser.

The section titled "An Artist's View of Egypt" features paintings by Rigby's father, a well-known Australian artist, who visited Egypt in 1995. The paintings provide an excellent picture of Egyptian culture and community life, particularly in places with a long history. One of the most appealing images portrays a marketplace at the original Aswan Dam, where boats departed for Philae Temple. Another depicts the hills of the west bank at Luxor and Gurna village.

For a good tour of the Egyptian museum, Rigby's compilation is clearly marked and highly recommended. The main page of the section provides general information about the museum and photos of the different halls. To see specific displays and specific objects, just go down the page and choose from the different sections of the museum for one you want. Is it Tutankhamun's treasures you are interested in? You can access them through a special link.

Also helpful is the ancient-Egyptian chronology covering the pre-dynastic period, the three "Great" periods, the so-called Intermediate periods, the Late-Dynastic period and Egyptian history in the Macedonian/Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

After all this, Rigby figures he has converted you to his cause, so you are clearly in need of a flight to Egypt! Luckily, there's an EgyptAir link, providing potential travellers with all the information they need about the national carrier, including its international and domestic air routes and offices.

Despite a bias toward ancient rather than modern culture, Rigby's site is worth a visit for travellers inside and outside Egypt. If nothing else, it is the kind of PR the tourist industry can't buy: personal recommendation.

Reviewed by Rehab Saad

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