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7000 years and counting ...

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    The late August full moon

    The full moon as captured from Giza , Egypt.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    An attempt to capture Mars again

    An attempt to photograph planet Mars using only my 55-210mm Sony lens.

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    The On the Run guy aka Mahmoud Soliman is back with vengeance.
    On Sunday, the man who became famous for being filmed while sexually harassing a young lady in New Cairo from two weeks ago is going to sue that girl, Menna Gobran for defame !!!
    I can’t even believe that he has got the nerve to do that.
    Lawyer Tarek Gamil Saeed who represents Soliman made rounds in the country’s most popular talk shows declaring that he would report Gobran to the Prosecutor general soon.
    Menna with Sally Abdel Salam
    Menna Goubran "L" with her friend media figure
    Sally Abdel Salem last Cairo in her first public appearance
    Tarek Saeed who made headlines last week with his beach wedding to socialite Menna Hussein Fahmy “Nobody spoke about her Wedding Tankini dress” dared and questioned what Menna Goubran in clear double standards.
    I am angry and furious.

    Anyhow just as I am wondering what Goubran will do, it seems that the girl who avoided publicity as much as she can “unlike Soliman” got to herself the most unexpected strongest ally in her back at the perfect time.

    I am not speaking about the National Council for Woman “NCW” which declared its readiness to give Menna all the legal support she needs but I am speaking about the one and only AL-AZHAR
    Yes, the World’s biggest Islamic Institution AL-AZHAR declared its support to sexual harassments victims like Menna in the most powerful and unexpected way.

    The Conservative Al-Azhar said on Monday that “SEXUAL HARASSMENT WHETHER A SIGN OR VERBAL OR PHYSICAL IS PROHIBITED IN ISLAM” describing it as “perverted action”.
    Al-Azhar also slammed those who blame the victims of sexual harassment for what they wear using religion to justify that sort of blame.
    Criminalizing sexual harassment should be absolute with no condition that justifies sexual harassment in regards to the actions or clothing choices of girls, which represents a misunderstanding of the nature of harassment as an attack on a woman's privacy, freedom, and dignity
    Al-Azhar also called the state to enforce the counter-sexual harassment laws in the country. Its statement also spoke about the sexual harassments of children for the first time.
    It also called on the media to avoid publishing any material supporting or encouraging sexual harassment.
    I am proud that Al-Azhar took that stand.

    I do not want to hear anyone after that statement saying that sexual harassment because girls and women wearing provoking clothes that are against Islam.
    This statement does not help Menna if she stands in the court but it helps and will help other victims.
    Al-Azhar published statement after a week full of the Eid sexual harassment horrifying incidents, above them the murder of a man in an Alexandria beach trying to defend his wife against a thug who was armed with a machete.

    The statement of the most important religious institution is so important and I hope it will help in countering that ugly sexual harassment craze in Egypt.

    Updated on Tuesday 

    Here is the new issue of Al-Azhar weekly newspaper with a front page of a woman's silhouette speaking about Al-Azhar's unprecedented statement.
    Al Azhar Newspaper's front page
    Al Azhar Newspaper's front page

    FYI, this statement is creating anger among the Ultra-conservative brach in Al-Azhar. 
    It is worth to mention according to a UN’s study about sexual harassment in 2013 in Egypt, 99.3% of the women interviewed in the study said that they were sexually harassed whereas 59.9% said that they were physically harassed by touch.

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    Egyptians have been witnessing a strange wave of crimes in the past two weeks that made us wonder if there was added to the Nile River that would the society even more violent and madder than it is.

    Just in the two weeks, We found a man killed on Alexandria’s public beach by a machete as he defended his wife against sexual harassment and the officials are saying that they can’t stop “knives” from entering the beach because people use it to eat watermelon !!

    Then we found a father who killed his two toddlers sons in North Delta giving the authorities at least three different insane motives for his inexplicable crime whereas his town people protest for his release saying he is innocent.

    We also got that girl who dragged her boyfriend-to-be-fiancé to his own death on the hands of her fugitive father after discovering her old man’s criminal past. The young man’s body was found under the bathroom of the father’s villa in Upscale “Rehab” compound.

    That’s the second violent crime committed in the gated community, from several months we found a businessman allegedly killed his family and then himself according to authoritiesHe shot himself three times in the head !!” in another mysterious murder-suicide that we are not used to for in Egypt.

    People are amazed and do not know if the press is enlarging that wave of crime or what but it is scary.

    I feel sociologists and criminologists are repeating the old talk of how the society is sick because we do not have family values anymore bringing up that Galal Amin’s classical question “Whatever happened to the Egyptians ?”

    You know by checking the history of our true top serial killers like Raya and Sakina as well as the serial killer of Karmooz, they were living in that golden era of social and family values !!

    Anyhow I escaped from all that and found solace in the beautiful late August’s full moon.
    The late August full moon
    The August full moon 

    Late Egyptian Sci-Fi author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik always spoke about the superstition myths of the full moon in Europe, I wonder what he would say if he saw crime page in our newspapers those two weeks !!

    The late August full moon
    The August full moon 

    He spoke about how full moon always associated with werewolves and vampires in his novels.
    The late August full moon
    The August full moon 

    I believe if that crime wave continues in Egypt like that we may see werewolves and vampires in the next full moon.

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    New presidential palace
    New Alamein presidential palace under construction
    Seen in Egypt's North Coast: The new Alamein presidential palace being constructed at the new city by the Egyptian government through private construction companies.

    Overlooking the Mediterranean sea, the new city is being proposed as the new summer capital of Egypt replacing Alexandria which played that role whether officially before 1952 or unofficially afterward.

    Construction started in New Alamein in 2017 but officially pre-inaugurated "if that description is right" in May 2018 by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    According to the official statements, the 48-Thousand-Feddans citywill cost LE 2 billion and it is planned to host more than 3-million people in its early stages.

    A new building constructed in New Alamein.
    A new building constructed in New Alamein. Sounds official building to me 
    There will be hotels and resorts as well as universities and schools in addition to official and governmental buildings. 

    The city is right after Marina gate No.7. I took that photo on July 13, 2018, on my way back to Cairo after a short vacation in Sidi Abdel Rahman.

    New Alamein Presidential palace
    A close-up look to the new presidential palace under construction as published on
    New Alamain Facebook page. It is an old image I believe because I had seen the palace's dome covered.
    The new presidential palace built in New Alamein City is considered the second presidential palace to be built during President El-Sisi's era. The first is being built at the New Administrative Capital at the outskirt of the New Cairo.
    New Alamein Presidential palace
    The final look of the new presidential palace by 3D according to
    New Alamein City Facebook page
    In 2011 following the ouster of Mubarak in February of the same year, the Press spoke about how there are 30 Presidential palaces and rest houses in the country.

    Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh as well the North Coast between them got at least 2 rest houses I know of.
    I know that there was a presidential rest house or villa built for Mubarak in Borg Al-Arab area and there is also the Presidential rest house at the magnificent Ras Hikama which was originally built for King Farouk.

    In Alexandria, there is the 17,000 square meter palace of Ras Al-Tin which was originally built in the 19th century for Mohamed Ali Pasha him and was renovated several times since then.
    The magnificent gallery hall of Ras Al-Tin palace
    The magnificent gallery hall of Ras Al-Tin palace in the year 1932 
    There is also the Presidential rest house in Al-Mamora, which was President Nasser and President Sadat's favorite in summer. According to news reports, it is also El-Sisi's favorite place in Alex.

    Needless to say, the news of building another Presidential palace in the country drew expected criticism especially Egyptian people are facing difficult times economically and austerity measures should be adopted by the government and administrative authority before the public. 

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    Once again sectarian mob attacks erupt in Al-Minya and once again we will find the same old headlines on how the authorities save the day using the old techniques used before despite those techniques prove that they never put an end to sectarian attacks and clashes.
    Dimshaw Hashim
    This is Dimshaw Hashim village from Google Earth

    On Thursday, an angry mob of Muslim men attacked, looted and torched fours houses of Christian citizens in “Dimshaw Hashim” village in Al-Minya governorate of Upper Egypt after the spread of a news about how the Christians were going to construct a church there several days prior to the attack.

    Luckily only two Christian men were injured in the attack along with a firefighter according to the statement issued by Al-Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese on the same day.
    On Friday, State-owned Akhbar Al-Youm news website published news that the “security forces dispersed a fight between two groups in Dimshaw Hashim village arresting a number of people from both sides” without giving any further details.

    On Saturday, security forces went and arrested 38 men from the rural village we have heard about for the first time in Cairo in that sad incident.
    On Sunday, the Prosecution General ordered the detention of 19 suspect 4 days pending investigation for inciting riots and attacking others.

    This is not the first attack of its kind in Al-Minya governorate against the Christians in its rural villages over the construction of churches this year after ratifying the Church Constructions law in 2017.

    It is not the first attack and it won’t be the last as long as the State and the government insist on the same old official and unofficial solutions and reactions.

    Now some Christian activists expressed their fear online that the “state” may support unofficially that ugly solution of forcing the Christian families to leave the village.
    Hopefully inshallah this won’t happen and the government or the state uses the law for real.
    The State must make it clear that Churches will be built according to the 2017- Church Construction law whether the villagers like them or not even in Upper Egypt.

    If sectarian calls begin to brew like in case of Dimshaw Hashim for days, the authorities which arrest three people for the intention of protesting must act quickly and not in a reactionary way.
    There is something wrong in Al-Minya governorate and those decorative priest-and-sheikh-hand-in- hand-photos are going to make it right.

    According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights “EIPR”, Al-Minya’s towns and villages had witnessed 77 sectarian clashes and attack from 2011 to 2016, this is too much.

     The EIPR study prepared by Ishak Ibrahim, in 2016 the population of Al-Minya was 5 million whereas the number of the Christians in it according to estimations could be 30%.“The number of Christians in Egypt is still a taboo we can not know”.

    Poverty, disease and ignorance play along together and the weak go for the weaker in Al-Minya.
    Just like other governorates in Upper Egypt, Al-Minya is hunted by an ugly past of terrorist organizations in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The true solution for such problem like sectarianism demands a bold state that believes in citizenship, education, transparency and accountability.
    Man, I feel that I have written this over and over.

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    via Instagram : Seen in #Alamein : The Alamein Dome as installed by the New Alamein Company to attract travelers on the highway to the new city the #Egyptian #government aspires to be #Dubai of the #Mediterranean #Africa #Mideast

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    A Cairo Criminal court put an end on Saturday for the infamous trial known in the media as “Rabaa Sit-in dispersal trial” after nearly 3 years in court and 2 years in pre-trial detention since August 2013
    The Criminal Court sentenced 75 defendants to death while 47 defendants toa life sentence in prison “25 years without the possibility of a parole” and 374 defendants to 15 years in prison.
    Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan in court

    The court also sentenced 22 minor defendants and one defendant “adult” to 10 years in prison and215 defendants including photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan were sentenced to 5 years while the lawsuit is expired for 5 defendants as they passed away.

    The defendants except 22 minors are to be isolated from other prisoners in prison, to be expelled of their government jobs if they have any, to be banned from managing their money and assets and to be put under police surveillance for 5 years when they are released.
    The prosecution had referred the 739 defendants to Criminal court in August 2015 for a number of charges above them attempting to change the main system of the state and organizing an assembly of more than 5 people at Rabaa Adawaya square in order to endanger the peace and general security as well to terrorize and scare the public and to endanger their lives.

    The defendants were also accused ofcommitting assault crimes against citizens who came near their assembly or their political opponents for penetrating their assembly as well resisting official authorities from policemen who were dispersing their sit-in.

    They were accused of murder, destroying and occupying public properties and building by force as well as obstructing and blocking traffic.

    Now there is good news in that case that Shawkan and the 214 other defendants are going to be released because they have spent 5 years in total in detention pending investigation at last.

    Award-winning Shawkan was arrested along two foreign reporters during Rabaa Sit-in dispersal in August 2013. The foreign reporters left detention on the same day according to news reports.

    But there is also bad news, Shawkan and the 214 defendants will spend the next 5 years since their release under police surveillance, which means half of their day “12 hours” will be spent at a police station.

    There is also an important fact: They have not been acquitted of the charges above.
    Shawkan will be a free technically but he has not been acquitted from those awful charges.

    Back to the rest of the defendants, this is a first-degree-sentences which they can be appealed within 60 days.

    The leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood above them the current Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood Mohamed Badie who already was sentenced to death in several other cases to the level that I have lost counting honestly. I think most of his death sentences were reduced to life sentences.

    Former minister of supply and MB member Bassem Ouda {who is popular now} and leading Al-Wassat Party member and lawyer Essam Sultan got life sentences.

    The adult defendant that was sentenced to ten years in prison is Osama Mohamed Morsi, the son of ousted president Morsi.
    Osama Morsi was arrested in December 2016.
    The lawyer had been sentenced to 3 years in prison in October 2017 by Zagzig Misdemeanor Court for possessing a penknife without license originally but the sentence was reduced to 3 months in January 2018.

    Some of the defendants like Wagdy Ghonim and Tarek El-Zomor have been sentenced in absentia.
    Those who stand a trial in absentia in Egypt receive the maximum penalty according to the Panel Code for not showing up in the court usual.

    Radical and controversial Wagdy Ghonim got a couple of death sentences waiting for him in Egypt.
    I think he is currently staying in Turkey while Tarek El-Zomor is staying in Qatar.
    El-Zomor said after the court sentence on his official Twitter account that “Their sentences will not terrorize us and we will continue to defend our people”.

    Ghonim who is known for his racist hateful comments against Non-Muslims said on his official FB page that “however you try to kill witnesses or hide truth and to execute those who were absent and present [at Rabaa], the blood of the Egyptians on Rabaa dispersal day continues to be curse hunting down all those who committed it or support it or justify it.”

    Journalist Abdullah El-Shamy has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia as well and he commented on Twitter in a threat about the trial.
    The lawyers of MB leading figures said that they would appeal the verdicts which are expected.

    Currently, it is really good news somehow for Shawkan and his family despite it is not full freedom yet.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    An old mosque in ancient Egypt's Luxor temple complex

    Abu Haggag Mosque standing over the Luxor Temple as in the Middle ages the ancient Egyptian temple complex was complete covered in sands, Muslim Egyptians built a mosque and a shrine for a Sufi sheikh called Abu El-Haggag

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Part of a Church , Part of ancient Egyptian temple at Egypt's Luxor temple

    This part of Luxor temple turned in to a Christian church when Christianty spread in Egypt

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Part of a Church , Part of ancient Egyptian temple at Egypt's Luxor temple

    A Part of an ancient Egyptian temple and a part of a Church with Christian paintings remains covering the ancient Egyptian paintings and drawings

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Part of a Church , Part of ancient Egyptian temple at Egypt's Luxor temple

    A fragment of Christian painting depicting Jesus' disciples at Luxer temple of Egypt.
    Part of the ancient Egyptian temple was turned in to a church after the spread of Christianty in Egypt

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Luxor Temple

    The entrance of Egypt's Luxor temples complex

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    Happy New Hijri year 1440 and Happy New Ancient Egyptian/Coptic Year 6260 from Egyptian Chronicles to the Whole World.
    On Tuesday Egypt celebrates the start of the Coptic new year or Nayrouz as well the Hijiri new year on the same day.
    It is a coincidence that has only occurred 66 times according to historians and experts.
    Tuesday is the first day of Muharram 1440 and is also the first day of Thout 6260
    Amazingly, Jews around the globe as well as in Egypt celebrated the beginning of the new Jewish year or Rosh Hashanah 5779 on Sunday.
    Interesting coincidence, I hope that those new years will be better than the previous ones for all of us.

    Now on that occasion especially having the start new Hijiri year and the new ancient Egyptian/Coptic year on the same day, I decided to share with you those very few photos I took in a very short trip to Luxor temple in February 2012.

    The famous Luxor temple or Luxor temples complex is not your usual ancient Egyptian temple or temples complex it is very unique ancient Egyptian temple complex or unique Egyptian religious complex.
    The Luxor temples complex contain the original ancient Egyptian religious temples dedicated to the coronation of Kings and Queens, a Christian chapel and a mosque dedicated to a Sufi Sheikh.

    When I saw Luxor temple, I felt that it represented Egypt religiously in a historic way.
    Egypt's Luxor Temple
    The Luxor Temple 
    We got that beautiful ancient Egyptian temple complex built during the New Kingdom era where it was dedicated to the Theban Triad of the Cult of Royal Ka, Amun, Mut and Khonsu. The Royal Ka refers to the Royal spirit of the King who is a demigod.
    It is sanctuary dedicated to the Kings and their coronation as well their achievements.

    Time goes on and Christianity spread in Egypt replacing that the Theban triad with the Holy Trinity and parts of Luxor temples complex began to disappear under rubble, sand, dust and mud.
    Other parts of were open and a new Church with its paintings replaced the ancient Egyptian inscriptions according to mainstream Egyptology.

    Part of a Church , Part of ancient Egyptian temple at Egypt's Luxor temple
    The Church was located at the hypostyle hall in the temples complex 

    Interestingly I have known that according to news studies and theories that chapel had been dedicated to the Cult of Royal Ka but in its Roman edition.
    Part of a Church , Part of ancient Egyptian temple at Egypt's Luxor temple
    One of the paintings, some believe they are early Christian paintings while others believe that they
    are roman paintings. Otherways they failed to cover ancient Egyptian inscriptions 

    One of the proofs that support that theory, the fact that there were no halos around the people depicted on those paintings that survived all those years.
    Back to our complex, one would think that time was not a friend to that ancient temples complex but actually, it was his best friend forever.
    As time went by, sand and rubble had accumulated to the level it had created an artificial hill covering it for centuries.
    During the era of the Ayyubid dynasty in the 13th century, an Iraqi-born Sufi Sheikh called Youssef Bin Abdel Raheem aka Abu Hagag arrived at the city of Luxor after receiving knowledge of religion and Sufism by its masters and Sheikhs above them Sheikh Abdel Rahim of Qena “Oh yes, the Sheikh Abdel Rahim El-Qenawy”.
    Legend says that Sheikh went to buy a small piece of land over that hill to build a small mosque and a shelter from a wealthy Coptic Christian woman called Theresa who agreed to sell for him that land.
    An old mosque in ancient Egypt's Luxor temple complex
    The Mosque of Sidi Abu El-Hagag
    The Sheikh became popular among the people of Luxor to the level that some said that Lady Theresa converted to Islam and was buried in his mosque.
    An old mosque in ancient Egypt's Luxor temple complex
    The ancient Mosque of Abu Hagag overlooking the Luxor temple inside-hall 
    I do not know about that but one thing for sure that this small mosque built on the columns of the ancient Egyptian temple became a shrine for the old man who died in his 90s.
    An old mosque in ancient Egypt's Luxor temple complex
    The Mosque of Abu Hagag is considered ancient as well 
    Every year since his death, the Muslims of Luxor hold a festival Moulid to honor Sheikh Abu Hagag.
    Fast forward to the 19th century and Gaston Maspero began to excavate Luxor temple complex and to bring back to the World.
    This is just a teaser for the rest of the photos from that beautiful temple. Wait for the rest of the photos.

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    The tenth of September has become a World day to raise awareness worldwide against suicide since 2003. It is the World Suicide Prevention Day “WSPD” and I think this year we feel its importance in Egypt, at least in Cairo.

    The World Health Organization “WHO” and the International Association For Suicide Prevention “IASP” aim from that day would provide worldwide an action to prevent suicide.
    Recently we were hit by a wave of suicide cases in Cairo and Giza. In the past month and a half , Egypt has recorded 7 cases of people’s suicide at Metro station.

    Young people throwing themselves in front of Metro trains to end their lives shockingly. Six of the cases was for young men while only one case was for a young girl who was only 20 years old.
    There is no official number of people who commit suicide in Egypt.
    It is another taboo like the number of Christians in the country I suppose.

    I found in WHO data that the suicide mortality rate in Egypt is 4 cases per 100,000 people in 2016.
    Yemen and Sudan had got the highest suicide mortality rate in the Eastern Mediterranean region according to the WHO with 8.5 and 8.1 per 100,000 people respectively.
    Suicide Mortality rate by WHO in 2016
    Suicide Mortality rate by WHO in 2016
    "Zoom in"
    I think you know why Yemen has had a very high suicide rate.
    That war does not only kill people but it also forces them to kill themselves !!

    According to the Egyptian Coordination for Human Rights NGO that from January to August 2018, 150 cases of suicide for young adults between 20-35 years old have been recorded.
    I found that number in a report about recent metro suicide cases in DW.
    I can’t find that study on the NGO’s FB as its website is down but it did publish annually about suicide cases in Egypt.
    The only official reaction we got from the government we got from the minister of transportation and not the minister of health interestingly.

    Minister Hisham Arafat said in an interview with Pro-regime TV host Ahmed Moussa that the social problems were the reason behind those suicide incidents and that the suicide cases in Metro lines.
    He added that those incidents were not that unique because “people around the globe commit suicide at the Metro stations”.
    He asked the people not to commit suicide regardless of the pressure they face.

    The only news related to the World Suicide Prevention Day that caught the people attention on social media, how belly dancer and attention seeker Sama El-Masry was filmed while presenting to the Metro authority a request to have those “happiness kiosks” in the metro stations in order to stop people from committing suicide.
    Those kiosks would provide psychiatric help to the people in trouble.
    It seems to me that El-Masry was the only celeb “even as D-List celeb” who remembered that day and despite it is just a media stunt but it is interesting and should be discussed as an attempt to stop this sad suicide race.

    Some say that we are 100 millions and we should not be worried but personally I think we should be worried.
    Policemen trying to remove the dead body of a person who
    committed suicide earlier this month in Egypt "Akhbar Al-Youm" 

    Using social media and hashtags, both WHO and IASP hope to drew more attention to suicide and to prevent it but preventing suicide will need more than that.

    According to the WHO’s first-ever report released about suicide, more than 800,000 people commit suicide every year around one person every 40 seconds.
    Yes, it is extremely alarming.
    Most of the suicide cases “75%” occur in the low and middle-income countries aka developing and third countries. In those countries, young adult and elderly women have higher suicide rates than their counterparts in richer countries.
    I guess we do not need to discuss why in today’s world a person would his or her own life in these countries.

    The WHO said that it wanted the governments around the globe to be committed to fighting suicide according to coordinated plans.
    Only only 28 countries are known to have national suicide prevention strategies, I quote the press release of the WHO.

    Please if you have any suicide thoughts, seek help for real.
    If you fear that your friend or relative is going to commit suicide then help her or him but do not preach to him or her. They do not need preaching, they need someone to give them a hand in order to make them come out of that dark pit.
    Depression can kill easily and by the way, people who commit suicide sometimes hide their dark thoughts beneath a smiling mask.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Remains of statues at Egypt's Luxor temple

    Remains of statues at Egypt's Luxor temple

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    A shrine at Egypt' Luxor Temple

    One of the shrines at the Luxor temples complex' entrance

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Luxor temple's avenue of the sphinxes

    The famous avenue of the Sphinxes which connects between Egypt's Karnak temples complex and Luxor temples complex

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Luxor Temples Complex

    Egypt's Luxor Temples Complex' entrance and the avenue of the Sphinxes

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Tourists at Egypt's Luxor Temple

    A guide taking a photo of two tourists at Egypt's Luxor temple

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