Ancient Egypt Symbols Overview
There were, in fact, many several symbols in the lives of the ancient Egyptians with diverse usages and meanings. Many of these symbols survived until today and give us great ideas of about these symbols and their usages in ancient Egypt.
The Pharaohs excelled in the creation and usages of these symbols to the extent that they played a role in every aspect of their lives, including social, religious, and cultural activities.
The Ancient Egyptian Ankh or the Key to Life
The ancient Egyptians created the key, or the Ankh as they used to call it in the reign of the Pharaohs. The Ankh has this distinctive shape that blends the ancient Egyptian style with the Christian Cross. It is commonly found in many ancient Egyptian tombs and Pharaonic temples. The Ankh is usually represented in portraits where the deceased is resurrected after death. It was so called the key to life as it represented the resurrection of the death as the ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife.
The Ankh was produced in many shapes and using various materials like metal and sometimes wood that were in some cases plated by gold or copper in a symbol of the sun.
The ancient Egyptians associated the Ankh with life and birth giving. Some scholars noted that the oval twisted handle with two opposite points at head represent the male and the female. They also added that this represents the gathering of Isis and Osiris.
Some historians had other theories. They noted that the Ankh represents various indications. The oval hand represents the Nile Delta. The vertical part symbolizes the path of the River Nile, while the horizontal part represents the East and the West of the country.
The Pillar of Djed
The pillar of Djed is one of the most ancient Pharaonic symbols. It consists of a pillar or column with four layers of the lotus flower. It represents eternity and it was commonly mentioned with the name of the Pharaoh with the Ankh.
Historians said that the pillar of Djed dates back to the per dynastic period. There was a festival in Memphis to create the pillar of Djed as the Pharaoh himself used to participate in creating the pillar using strong ropes.
These rituals were carried out to wish that the ruling period of the Pharaoh would be fruitful and long. Some researchers also noted that the ancient Egyptians believed that pillar of Djed represents the spiral cord of Osiris. The upper part of the pillar was colored in green or red, while the column itself used to be colored in white, black, or yellow.
The Scepter of Was
The scepter of Was consisted of a stick that contained many ancient Egyptian inscriptions. The Pharaonic kings and gods were represented holding the scepter of Was as a symbol of control and power. It was also associated with good luck. Usually gods used to present the specter of Was to the kings.
The scepter was created in various forms to have different meanings. Sometimes it symbolized sovereignty and good luck, Luxor or ancient Thebes, and sometimes the South. This symbol appeared in the reign of the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt. The origins of the specter of Was were mainly the stick of the shepherd or a stick to attack cobras.
The Lotus Flower
The lotus flower is in fact one of the most important symbols of ancient Egypt and the most famous among them all. Egyptians in contemporary times still wear the lotus flower as an authentic Pharaonic symbol.
Lotus is still a symbol of Egypt until today. The inscriptions in ancient Egyptian temples and wall paintings in historical tombs assert that the Pharaohs were fond of this beautiful flower. Many portraits represent the ancient Egyptian kings holding lotus flowers as their appreciation of the distinctive flower.
The lotus flower symbolized the River Nile to the ancient Egyptians. The leaves of the flower represent the lakes that come out of the branches of the River Nile. The rout represented the path of the river, while the flower itself represented the Nile Delta. Lotus flowers also ornamented the stone capital of various ancient Egyptian temples as well.
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Ancient Egypt Symbols FAQs
Egypt is safe country to visit with notable low crime rate, tourist attractions are well secured and there is no common negative attitude towards foreigners, with some sensible precautions and preparations you will feel at home and as safe as you'll ever be.
There is no special dress code when visiting Egypt tourist sites, modest dress is recommended in less tourist sites and there is no special concern for women traveling alone.
Egyptian Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Egypt, it is also the national language in the country but Egyptians speak and understand English as they study it in school. Fewer Egyptians can speak other languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Egyptians working in tourism sector are accustomed to speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
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Duty free allowances on arrival to Egypt are 1L alcohol, 1L perfume, and either 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200g tobacco. Duty free shops are available in Egypt airports and major tourist cities (Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh).
Giza Pyramids and most monuments and Museums in Egypt open between 8 Am to 5 Pm. During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, be aware that these hours will change significantly.
Shops and stores in Egypt are usually opened from 10 Am to 10 Pm however in major cities it opens much later and some are open 24 hours.
Visitors are welcome in most mosques throughout the year. Modest dress is recommended, women should cover their hair, arms and legs. Both Women and men will remove their shoes before entering.
Taking pictures for people and streets is fine after people permission While Taking pictures for official type or army structures is not permitted. In most historical sites and museums in Egypt it is allowed to use camera, some of them may charge you for camera but at the Egyptian Museum and some similar historical sites it is prohibited and you will be asked to leave camera at reception before entering.
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There in no health concerns or vaccinations required to visit Egypt but we recommend to check with your own doctor, he knows you and your medical history best.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE), it is about ,06 to USD. Money exchange is widely available, Credit cards are largely used in Egypt major cities and tourist spots.
We do not recommend the public buses in big cities. Taxi and limousine service are fine every where but price is negotiable. Trains go to all big cities in Egypt except Sinai and the Red Sea. Flights from / to tourist cities are always available.
Tipping in Egypt is an appreciated habitual attitude but is Not obligatory. Generally 5 to 10 EGP for small favors is fine for carrying luggage, parking a car or to guys who clean bathrooms. 10 % is fine in restaurant and spa. Tipping your tour guide and vehicle driver should be considered if you're provided with good to great service, feel free to give what you think your experience was worth.