Unfinished Obelisk

I don't remember who was lucky enough to finish either Jordan and Egypt, Petra to the Pyramids or Egypt: Jewels of the Nile in early 2020, other than Karen1672, BlountvilleTN, or ChicagoTravelers, but I have a question for anyone who did.

It is not on the itinerary, but on your tour was unfinished obelisk mentioned by the TD or local guide and/or did you have the opportunity to visit the Aswan quarry and the obelisk on the ride back to the hotel or during your short time in Aswan? Construction was started under Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC). The unfinished obelisk is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 138 ft and weighed nearly 1,200 tons, a weight equal to about 200 African elephants.

On Day 9 we are scheduled to visit Abu Simbel, fly back to Aswan, stop for photos of the high dam, then head to the hotel, arriving at approx 3:15 pm. Dinner that night at the 1902 is scheduled for 6:30 pm. The quarry is only about 1 mi. and a 20 min. walk from the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan (see map). If we don't get to visit, either as a published Green Book itinerary event or Tauck lagniappe, I might ask our TD if the bus could drive by and drop me off at the quarry. After touring the relatively small site I would walk to the hotel. Sounds like a plan. Comments?


  • Alan,

    Sounds like a great plan! I'll await your report on how it goes as we'll be on this tour next April.


  • edited June 2020

    A search of the internet wasn't initially too helpful- most prices were for Viator, etc. tours of multiple Aswan area sites.

    I found a TripAdvisor review from Feb 2020 where the poster mentioned if you are not on an organized tour, the price of admission was 80 egp. Then going through the photos I stumbled on a few photos from 2019 of actual tickets! D'oh! At today's rates, that is a whopping $5.00 :) I can handle that! Well worth it for what I suspect will only be a 30 min. to 1 hr. visit.

    The small museum building supposedly has a video and a few drawings of the shaping, moving, and erecting process, but little if any interpretive signage out on the site itself, so the ideal would be to see if we could convince the Tauck local guide, if we have one at that time, to offer his/her services (for a modest fee) to anyone in the group who wants to go.

  • A trip to the unfinished obelisk was part of the tour to Egypt that I took in 2016 when Tauck was not going there. It was not one of the highlights of the trip. I do not recall there having been a museum there then. I definitely did not go into a museum. Maybe the museum will add to the attraction.

  • A number of reviewers said it is not a "must see" stop, but if you have the time, it is well worth a short visit. The photos on TripAdvisor pretty much show what is there- an unfinished obelisk, a bunch of other unfinished items, and rocks with marks made thousands of years by ancient stone cutters using primitive tools, etc. but it really illustrates the labor involved in sculpting an obelisk and the giant figures throughout Egypt, like the ones just seen at Abu Simbel. What else is there to do- go directly to the hotel and just hang out (not interested in seeing the room where Agatha Christi wrote "Death on the Nile") or take an afternoon nap before dinner at the 1902? :) For me, I wanna go there if I can squeeze it into the schedule. You can't beat the price. :)

    Factoid: A remake of "Death on the Nile" produced, directed, and starring Kenneth Branagh, as Hecule Poirot, is scheduled for release on 2 October 2020.

  • Great news on the Death on the Nile remake. Branagh made an excellent Poirot on the Murder on the Orient Express though I actually like the older version of the movie better ( the one with Sean Connery and Ingrid Bergman). Currently rewatching all the Poirot TV series on Britbox.

  • Claudia, I just saw the movie with Branagh. I really like him but couldn’t grasp him as Poirot. I am on the waiting list at the library for Murder at the Mena House. Couldn’t resist it since we’ll be going there (hopefully!)

  • Virginia, he was a big change from David Suchet. Quite the "stash".

    Hadn't heard of the book you mentioned but will add it to my reading list. Have you read Elizabeth Peters Egypt books - mainly the Amelia Peabody series but a couple of others as well?

  • Claudia, I haven’t heard of the Peters books but will have to check them out!

  • Alan, thanks for the tip about the Death on the Nile remake. Having just watched Branagh in the Murder on the Orient Express remake has me wanting more, even though I had trouble seeing him as Poirot!

  • Virginia, Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels) wrote numerous books under both names. She had a PhD in Egyptology. Mostly wrote mysteries taking place outside the US with art and history subjects. Under the Barbara Michaels name her books were mainly US based - especially around the DC, Virginia and Maryland area with often a paranormal theme along with history. I spent 10 years in the DC area so I really enjoyed those.

  • Claudia, I’m from Arlington, and now live in Stafford, just south of Quantico and north of Fredericksburg. I like it when books have my old stomping grounds in the stories.

  • I lived in Springfield and spent lots of time down in Norfolk making that drive on I95. Still miss shopping at Potomac Mills and Occoquan. I don't miss the traffic or summer humidity, but there is so much to do there.

  • I went to Virginia Beach every year so am familiar with the traffic! It’s horrendous all summer as it seems the whole world is driving south to Va. Beach and the Outer Banks in NC. And you are right, the humidity is awful!

  • Claudia Sails

    I lived in Springfield and spent lots of time down in Norfolk making that drive on I95. Still miss shopping at Potomac Mills and Occoquan. I don't miss the traffic or summer humidity, but there is so much to do there.

    I bet you didn't get to Norfolk as fast as Jethro Gibbs and the NCIS crew got there from the Navy Yard!! Even if you rode the helo from the Pentagon!

  • That's LEROY Jethro Gibbs!

  • No. And the Navy Yard building I worked in was no where near as nice. NCIS is one of our favorites but we really have to ignore a lot of silliness.

  • Claudia - So Sails is verb, not a proper noun?

  • Bkmd, figuratively. Women going to sea wasn't a option for most of us til too late in my career. I did get to track submarines from shore based facilities which was a great job. I did take sailing lessons in the Anacostia river and did take some sailing excursions with a friend.

  • Claudia - Gnerally don't think of NM for sailing. :)

    Speaking of subs, I watched a movie on cable yesterday that I recorded a few months ago called Hunter Killer. It's not that old, but I never heard of it before. I found it very entertaining and suspenseful, and it deals with subs. If you can find it, you might enjoy it (and find all the technical things they did wrong).

  • Nope, not a lot of sailing opportunity here. Nor boat fishing which really disappointed my husband. We moved back here at the start of the SW drought.

    Will look for the movie. My community laughed at how bad we were portrayed in Hunt For Red October. Clancy doesn't know everything.

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