Tomb service


For On the Nile we wanted an old photo of tourists dining in a tomb, which, of course, was the only place to eat in mid 19th-century Egypt. We couldn’t find one so we had to do without. This morning, searching for something entirely unrelated I came across the image above, which is fabulous (click to enlarge). Just look at the amount of booze – four bottles of what looks like bubbly for six people. No wonder two are out cold and the guy at the back looks like he’s about to collapse face first into his companion’s lap.


And then there is also this image of tourists dining in a temple. Once again, the booze is to the forefront and there is some splendid headwear on show, particularly the elderly lady’s hat, which looks like a pigeon caught in a fishing net.


Filed under Travellers' tales

5 Responses to Tomb service

  1. Janine

    Such wonderful photos!! And your comments… you crack me up 🙂

  2. Hi Andrew
    Through my work as a cataloguer for the books held by the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia, I too, spend a lot of time in 19th century Egypt.
    Edward William Lane was one of Britain’s greatest Arabic scholars of the 19th century and travelled Egypt. Among his accomplishments was a translation of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’ or ‘Arabian Nights’. For your research, you might like to read:
    ” An account of the manners and customs of the modern Egyptians : written in Egypt during the years 1833-1835.”
    We have a blog post about him at:
    Our catalogue reference for the title provides an online copy:

    There are many similar books in the catalogue written by 19th century travellers about their adventures in Egypt, wherein, I’m sure, you will find descriptions and anecdotes about the hotels and accommodations of the time.

  3. alexander hed

    What a horrible picture…absolute lack of respect and piety for an old and vanished civilization…these Victorian age travellers allowed themselves a freedom that would be unacceptable today…climbing the pyramids buying Mummies in teh bazaars and artifacts that belonged i Museums…a Greek lady from Alexandria brought together a whole collection of Egyptian artifacts that is now in the National Museum in Athens???

    • Rania

      Egypt has lived many different epochs and i considered this as a history of one of these periods in which many of our treasures were discovered and the most were abused.

      • alexander hed

        Much pf this abuse was allowed by the Turko-Albanian Dynasty of Muhammed Ali Pasha who showed an absolute indifference to Egypts past???

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