Delta Blues: A Day at Pi-Ramesses and Tanis | Rawi: Egypt's Heritage Review

Fields near modern Qantir, ancient Pi-Ramesses.
Photo: Henning Franzmeier.
I inspect Ramesses’ giant feet; they are cracked and worn, and his toenails are as big as my head. It’s a little against decorum for a commoner like myself to get so close to the Good God’s toes, but I suspect he won’t mind, he has bigger things to worry about after all, including the loss of his entire body above the ankles. That, and he’s stuck in a field, surrounded by crops, farmers and an inquisitive gamoosa. “What happened to my fabulous city?” he might say, if he had a mouth.

Ramesses’ colossal feet are the only significant visible remains of the ancient city of Pi-Ramesses, one of the most important royal cities of New Kingdom Egypt. It was founded by Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty on the site of his family’s hometown in the northeast Delta, but was expanded significantly by his son Ramesses II into a massive cosmopolitan centre, with monumental temples, luxurious palaces, homes for visiting foreign dignitaries, administrative buildings, and workshops for all types of craft.

This article first appeared in print in Rawi: Egypt's Heritage Review, issue 2 (2011). To read the full article, follow the link: Delta Blues: A Day at Pi-Ramesses and Tanis.