Early tourists visiting the Pyramids and the ruins of Ancient Egypt, 1860-1930


By the end of the eighteenth century, Egypt had remained nothing more than a poor and neglected corner of the Ottoman Empire, crippled by endless power struggles between its Mamluk leadership.

Then in 1798, Napoleon reached the head of a French army, followed by the British, who had shown little interest in Egypt until now.

After the French retreat, Egypt gradually became westernized under the Albanian Turk Muhammad Ali Pasha, so that by the time the English novelist Thackeray visited Alexandria in 1845, the Nile 'stacked with steel mills' and was 'absolutely eastern. ' was visible.

Egypt's early tourism trade began in the 19th century and grew in popularity with the rise of Egyptology as an academic and hobbyist pursuit. In particular, after the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, traveling to Egypt became much easier.

Organized mass holidays offering all-inclusive prices, which reduced travel costs, were a novelty of the 1840s. Thomas Cook (1808–1892), a prolific entrepreneur from England, is seen as their inventor and thus as a pioneer of the mass tourism of commercialization.

In the 1870s, Cook offered his famous tour of Palestine and the Nile as a way for wealthy people to explore the wonders of ancient Egypt. Many of these tourists took pictures in front of ancient ruins or the Great Sphinx, some of them even climbing to the top of the pyramids.

Seeing the sight of tourists, millions of photographers began arriving in Egypt, trying to set up their studios. He carried heavy equipment across the desert to photograph the wonders of the Nile Valley.

Some opened studios in large cities where they sold their wares to tourists; Some were engaged in documenting the excavations by Egyptian scientists. Travelers exploring ancient Egyptian monuments can return home with memorable photos of the sites they've visited.

For Europeans, the history of Egypt and Egypt presented a more vivid and fascinating picture of the ancient world than perhaps any other culture. With a history of more than 3,000 years, centuries of pharaohs' dynasties, and extraordinary figures such as Alexander, Cleopatra, and Tutankhamun illuminate the story, it's hardly surprising.

The images collected here are part of a collection documenting the British occupation of Egypt and show early tourists exploring the ruins of ancient Egypt.

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