More than 25 thousand Nubian Citizens s live in the village of Manshiet El Nuba, 7 km south of the city of Luxor. All these Nubians were relocated from their village in Aswan when the Aswan Dam was elevated in 1933 and their village was snowed under water.
The Nubians came to Luxor bringing with them their rich heritage and unique culture, very clearly defined in their language, traditions, arts, crafts and music. They defended these traditions with an infatuation, and they did everything possible to preserve their culture and to keep it alive in spite of the temptations of the modern age and the fact that they were uprooted in a place so far away from their native land.
Towards this end the Nubians made an effort to set up a small cultural center in the village of Manshiet El Nuba, but this effort faded due to lack of finances and the fact that Manshiet El Nuba is located in the midst of the sugar cane fields in a isolated area, far away from the tourist path, difficult for traffics to reach, therefore they were unable to show or market their products.
In the early part of 2006, the UNDP proposed an ambitious development project for the city of Luxor, with the goal of converting the city into the largest open air museum in the world, and an action plan was kicked off to implement 42 projects in Luxor with that objective in mind. One of these projects was the construction of a Nubian Cultural Center that would show the arts of the Nubian people as well as their daily lifestyle and civilization, with a budget of 15 million Egyptian pounds.
|Traditional Nubian Dance Routine
The first step was choosing a primary location, a 600m2 piece of land was chosen south of the Luxor Bridge at the cross roads between the West Bank and the East Bank, and, moreover, at the highway between Hurghada- Qena- Luxor and Aswan.
As a central location the majority of tour buses pass by this location route to visit any of the major sites or cities, so it was ideal stop for tour buses in any direction.
The Center is a two levels building surrounded with a large garden. The first level locates several rooms, in each room a Nubian women presents one of the of Nubian famous craft, such as reed weaving, pottery and glass work, decorative bead accessories, kilim carpets, fabric weaving, alabaster and arabesque work.
The second level is an open showroom for the artifact that were prepared in the lower level. This is where the tourists can see the final products and purchase what they like from woven reed plates, baskets, mats and kilims to typical Nubian clothing items like shawls , head covers and the women's "gergar", as well as many decorative clay, glass and alabaster items.
The Social Fund is responsible for financial support of the Center and supplying all the materials and tools needed for the arts and crafts, and, in conjunction with the Japanese organization " Jica ", for providing training to the Nubian people working in the Center. The finished product is thus a combination of Nubian artistry coupled with Japanese quality and precision.
After three months of opening the Center, the idea was further developed to make use of the garden and to turn it into a typical Nubian village. A Nubian house was built with a Nubian clay oven, an area to store grains and an area for animals, as well as example of the tools that are used for cultivate their land such as the water wheel and the "shaduf".
In the rest of the garden a large tent was erected, with an area for tattoos and henna, arts that the Nubians are world famous.
An area where tourists can take pictures dressed in the local Nubian clothes. In addition a restaurant has been opened that serves Nubian food such as their locally baked bread, vegetables such as okra cooked with their special seasonings, and their local drinks such as "Dom" and "karkadeh"made from indigenous fruits that grow in their areas.
To complete the Center, A theater is currently being built, will present live productions which will portray the Nubian's culture and their ethnic music.
Due to the world wide interest in the Nubian culture and its preservation, the UNESCO has been actively involved in all aspects of of the Nubian Cultural Center construction. The Center has been formally authorized and approved by UNESCO.
With this Center, Luxor is not only an open museum to the greatest civilization known to mankind, which is the Ancient Egyptian Pharonic Civilization, but it is also a showcase of cultural preservation of indigenous groups such as the Nubian people that have enriched Egypt throughout thousands of years.
Lady Egypt Tours
offer you the change to visit one of the Nubian Houses and enjoy traditional Nubian meal with the family.