You can now explore the Tomb of Queen Meresankh III, the tomb of Menna, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Red Monastery, the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq as well as several others. The tours feature detailed 3D modelling. To provide a more realistic experience, these tours allow viewers to walk along the structures by clicking on hotspots on the floors.
Tomb of Queen Meresankh III
The tours of Tomb of Queen Meresankh III and the tomb of Menna also include background information, which one can access by clicking on circles overlaid on specific features.
Queen Meresankh III is the granddaughter of King Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid. Her tomb is well preserved with beautifully carved and painted scenes depicting her life and was discovered by Harvard archaeologist George Andrew Reisner in 1927. One of the striking feature of the tomb are the ten large statues of women carved along the Northern wall. These statues are thought to represent herself, her mother, and her daughters. This uncommon decoration in a male-dominated Egyptian society serves to emphasize Meresankh’s position among her peers. Interestingly, the south and east walls actually contain the names of two ancient Egyptian artists, a rare instance since scores of Egyptian craftsmen have gone unnamed. There are elaborate scenes of servants carrying various offerings from food, clothing, furniture – all items necessary for a well-supplied afterlife. On the way to her burial chamber are statues of Meresankh and her mother with their arms around each other. Continue down the spiralling steps to her 16-foot-deep burial shaft. The reconstructed image of the chamber can be seen, but the actual coffin is kept at the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo.
Tomb of Menna
The tomb of Menna, discovered in 1886, is located in the Theban necropolis. It is one of the popular destination and preserved tombs from the 18th Dynasty (1549 B.C to 1292 B.C.). Menna is thought to be an elite scribe who oversaw the Pharaoh’s fields and the temple of sun god Amun-Re. Menna’s wife, Henuttawy can be seen with him in almost every scene in the tomb’s chapel. Some scenes also includes their five children.Preservation works are going on to identify, preserve and document the paintings in the tomb using various non-invasive scientific tools. Curiously, Menna’s face throughout the tomb has been damaged intentionally. According to Egyptian belief the soul of a person inhabited their painting and destroying their face would deactivate the image. There are scenes depicting funeral procession, rituals performed on his body after mummification, as well as scenes showing him enjoying fishing and fowling in the afterlife. In one of the scenes, Menna’s heart is weighed against a feather in front of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife indicating that if he possesses a good heart (through doing good deeds), he will pass into the afterlife.
Ben Ezra Synagogue
The Ben Ezra Synagogue is believed to be a Coptic Orthodox Church, sold to the Jewish community in 882 AD. This is one of the oldest synagogue in Egypt and is named after Abraham ibn ‘Ezra, the Jewish religious scholar and philosopher. It is said that the Synogogue marks the site where Moses prayed for lifting of the plague that afflicted Egyptians. At the centre of the synagogue is the bimah, or pulpit, from which prayers were read. The most sacred feature of a synagogue is the hekhal, decrorated in Arabesque style and inlaid with mother of pearl. Inscribed on it in Hebrew are The Ten Commandments. The geniza (repository for old documents mentioning the name of God) of Ben Ezra, known today as the Cairo Geniza, are housed in libraries around the world.
One of the most important monasteries established during early times of Christianity is The Red Monastery in Sohag.
So named because of the majority red bricks used in its construction, the Red Monastery was founded by Saint Bishoy in the beginning of the 4 AD. The monastery suffered two major fires. All that remains is its church and surrounding walls to the south. The church is decorated with murals depicting Biblical scenes that include Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Four Gospels, and the Apostles.
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq
You can also enjoy a virtual tour of the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq. Inaugurated in 1384 AD, the Mosque and Madrassa of Sultan Barquq is well-known for its architectural and decorative elements.
In celebration of World Heritage Day, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism & Antiquities also unveiled the Virtual Tour through Tomb of Wah Ti in Saqqara. Considered one of the most important discoveries of the decade, the tomb belonged to a Fifth Dynasty Priest of ‘Purification’.
Other virtual tours available are the catacombs of Kom al-Shuqafa from Egypt’s Roman Period (30 BC–AD 395), one of the best examples of the intertwining of Egyptian and Greco-Roman culture. You can also check out the tomb of King Ramses VI (Kv9).