There are many important and disappearing sites of the Early Coptic period in Egypt that should at least be considered as world heritage sites. These include Wadi el Natrun in the desert edges of the eastern Delta, the site of an important early Christian monastic tradition, with four functioning monasteries surviving today (and recently put forward to UNESCO for consideration); Kellia, an important monastic site north east of wadi el-Natrun, which demonstrated the ‘bridge’ between the ascetic (lone) monks and the cenobitic (communal). Just as important is the vast Christian cemetery of el Bagawat near the Kharga oasis, with its painted private tomb-chapels, considered to be the oldest and largest Christian cemetery in the world. A few hour’s drive from Luxor it is now an increasingly busy tourist attraction and should certainly be considered for a place on the UNESCO list.
Grand Hotels of Egypt is essentially a book about the influx of western visitors into Egypt after Napoleon had departed and Anglo-American style infrastructure had arrived in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using contemporary accounts and photographs, cartoons and some remarkable marketing material in full colour, Andrew Humphreys explores the role of the grand hotels of the day in the constant swirl of people as they experienced Egypt’s towns and cities.