Take A Virtual Tour Of Egypt While On COVID-19 Quarantine

With the recent coronavirus outbreak, many of us have cancelled our travel plans for the year. However, we can turn our time in isolation into a period of exploration. Harvard has teamed up with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to bring us five new virtual experiences. Each is a detailed 3D map that we can explore similar to Google Maps on street view.

Let’s take a look at what gems of Egypt we can explore right from the comfort of our home.

The Tomb Of Queen Meresankh III

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Almost everyone is familiar with the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. However, there’s another Egyptian treasure waiting for you to explore nearby. The mastaba tomb of Queen Meresankh III is an overlooked piece of history you don’t want to miss.

Of our virtual tours in this list, this site is the oldest of them all. Harvard archaeologist George Andrew Reisner had initially discovered the tomb in 1927.

The virtual tour takes us inside to enjoy hieroglyphic inscriptions on walls as old as 5,000 years old. What’s impressive is that the carvings and paintings have stayed well-preserved. You can still see the remains of their original coloring and etching.

The first floor features ten statues of women, representing Meresankh III’s queenly relatives. As we go down to her sarcophagus on the first floor, we pass by statues depicting the queen and her mother. We see a reconstruction of the ancient coffin, as the real thing is at Cairo’s Egyptian Antiquities Museum.

Ben Ezra Synagogue

In Old Cairo stands the Ben Ezra synagogue. The site is famous as folklore says that it is here that the Pharaoh’s daughter discovered baby Moses. This site was originally a Coptic church, but the patriarch later sold it to a group of Jews.

No longer an official place of worship today, the synagogue now serves as a museum. The area has undergone several renovations to look like what it does now. Ten tall marble pillars hold the synagogue structure, which features a gold and blue interior.

Mosque-Madrassa Of Sultan Barquq

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Another more colorful site to visit is the mosque-madrassa of Sultan Barquq. The site is a well-visited location due to its massive size and Islamic style of architecture. The structure dates back to the medieval period when Cairo was a center of trade.

The architectural design of the old school is one good reason to explore it. The intricate structure of the mosque stands on the site of an extravagant palace. You’ll be able to explore and appreciate these intricacies in the virtual tour.

The Red Monastery

To further showcase the religious diversity of Egypt is the Red Monastery near Souhag. The Coptic Orthodox site gets its name from the red bricks that form its exterior. We have yet to discover the history of the monastery, with experts only estimating it to be built by Saint Pishay in the fourth century AD. Inside, colorful frescos stand over the monastery’s white walls.

The Tomb Of Menna

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Rounding out our virtual tours is the Tomb of Menna, dating back to the 18th dynasty of Egypt. It is a popular site that officials consider to be one of the “most visited” tombs of the era.

Compared to pharaohs, we know little about the ancient official. However, we can stand to discover what information there is by exploring his tomb. For instance, the site records all the titles he held, including Scribe of the Lord of the Two Lands. He was also Overseer of Fields of Amun. Menna’s position was unique as he held positions in both palace administration and temple.

The tomb showcases well-preserved paintings that depict Menna’s life. What’s interesting to note is that all depictions of the official are damaged, with the face scratched out. Ancient Egyptians believed that a person’s soul inhabited images such as these. Damage to these paintings would mean someone wanted to erase Menna from history.


The COVID-19 outbreak has thrown off many of our plans. “You probably won’t be going on vacation next month, but someday this will end — and eventually, this cabin fever will become a distant memory,” says Scott Bea, PsyD.

Until then, you can use up some of that free time to discover the beauty and wonder of Ancient Egypt. Five virtual tours await you. Discover the Tombs of Queen Meresankh III and Menna, the Ben Ezra synagogue, the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq, and the Red Monastery.

This ancient world’s diverse and rich culture is sure to keep you sane and in awe during this quarantine. Experience Egypt while still staying safe at home.

Why A Therapist Recommends the Ancient Egyptian Healing Massage

In order for self-care to manifest with regularity, one needs to plan it into their calendar with intention. Otherwise, it’s easy to let that priority fall by the way side. —

Stress from school, work, family, and friends can be, at times, demotivating and draining. It is during these moments some of us resort to consuming a lot of our comfort food. Others would go out and travel to different places while some prefer staying at home and watching their favorite series. The rest may choose to visit a massage therapist. All of these can help you regain that drive and energy back. Massages are designed to relax you from all of these stresses.

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The manipulation of soft tissue, including muscles, joints, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments, is known as massage therapy. It has been a well-known and used treatment for various body pains, chronic pain conditions, and everyday stresses. One of the first cultures to use such treatment is the ancient Egyptians between 3000 and 2500 BCE. The ancient Egyptians used massages for therapeutic purposes. One of their earliest forms of massage is the Ancient Egyptian Healing Massage.

Ancient Egyptian Healing Massage

The earliest references of ancient Egyptian massages found on the walls of the tomb of Ptahhotep shown to be having a manicure and pedicure. The next sighting came from the tomb of Niuserre, which showed a king enjoying a foot massage. The last sighting was on the wall carvings in the tomb of renowned healer Ankhmahor where men were seen to have their feet and hands worked on. Each sculpture has shown that the areas for concern among the Egyptians were mainly the hands and the feet.

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Today, there are only a handful of practitioners left for this specific form of massage therapy. However, this served as a pioneering force that drove towards modern-day reflexology, which is also known as zone therapy. Ancient Egyptian healing massages back in the past focused on energy pathways. The Egyptians were concerned with massaging specific areas or “zones” of the body where energy is believed to flow. Through this massage, one can get rid of the blockages preventing the imbalance of energy flow within their body.

The Egyptians were also known to be masters of therapeutic oil. Such oils of today have been helpful in various forms of injuries and diseases such as chronic muscle pains and sinus problems. With the combination of such oils in their massage practices, a person can be guaranteed to have their energy flowing once again.

That’s the irony of massage. It stimulates the neurochemical oxytocin, the feeling we experience as trust, but you have to start with a lot of trust for it to work. — Loretta G. Breuning Ph.D.

Benefits Of A Massage  

In modern times, several concepts of the ancient Egyptian have paved the way for therapeutic massage and reflexology. These two fields have been used in conjunction to help relax an individual. Reflexology focuses on zones and does not use therapeutic oils while therapeutic massages may. Listed below are eight major benefits of massage therapy.

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  • Gets Rid Of Muscle Pain

A person can obtain an increase in blood circulation from massage therapy. Through this increase in flow, you can lose your muscle pain most of the time.

  • Improves Sleep

Being in a state of relaxation can help boost a person’s mood. It makes it easier for anyone to sleep after a stressful day from work or school.

Research shows that gentle touch in a safe environment aids stress reduction and pain relief (for example, Weze et al., 2005). — Deborah Bier, PhD

  • Relieves Anxiety And Stress

Through massage therapy, you can alleviate your anxiety and stress since this can help release endorphins in your body. Endorphins are hormones which give you a feeling of joy, ease, and energy.

  • Improves Blood Circulation

The energy paths, the Ancient Egyptians may have referred to might have been the flow of our blood stream. Massages have been shown to increase one’s blood flow throughout their body. It can help get rid of fatigue and different forms of muscle pain.

  • Enhances The Immune System

Certain studies have found massages to stimulate the lymph nodes. It recharges one’s natural defense systems. Other studies have also found it to boost a person’s white blood cell count.

  • Eliminates Toxins

Massages have also been found to stimulate the soft tissues in your body. It also helps your lymphatic systems to release toxins in your body.

  • Increases Range Of Motion

Massages help relax your muscles and make it easier to move around. Those who usually play sports that increase the tension in their muscles may need this to expand their range of motion such as baseball pitchers, football players, and basketball players.

  • Decreases Fibromyalgia Pain

Fibromyalgia-related pain involves pain caused by aches found all over your body. It may come from painful “tender” points which don’t disappear no matter what medication you take. By getting a therapeutic massage, however, you can alleviate and get rid of this problem.

The ancient Egyptians have contributed a lot to the field of reflexology and therapeutic massage. It has paved the way for an alternative form of medicine which can directly and immediately help you.