On Tuesday 11 November 1862, Lucie Duff Gordon wrote to her mother –
I write to you from the real Arabian Nights.Well may the Prophet (whose name be exalted) smile when he looks on Cairo [I insert ‘Luxor’ here!] It is a golden existence, all sunshine and poetry, and, I must add, kindness and civility.’
I would have posted this piece on the exact date that this letter was written but alas, the modern age of technology thwarted me and I had no internet access!
Although Lucie arrived in Cairo, I can just as easily ascribe her words to Luxor, the most beautiful of places. The ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of Amun – or as it was then known w3s.t, roughly pronounced Waset.
The city and surrounding villages that sprawl the Nile and creep into the Theban hills, offer a cultural paradox – both noisy and deliciously peaceful, hectic yet appearing to stand still, almost in reverence of its heritage. Much has changed but conversely, not much has changed.
Over the next months, I will endeavour to invite you to glimpse through the window to view the real Arabian Nights…