Nubian Traditional Arts
When the Aswan dam was elevated in 1933, a group of Nubians (previously living south of Aswan) moved north to Luxor to establish a community. Today the village of Manshiet El Nuba, 7 Km south of Luxor, supports a population of 25,000 people that still maintain their rich heritage and unique culture shown in their language, traditions, arts, crafts and music.
The Nubian Cultural Center (Nubianhouse) was built in 2006 with the purpose of sharing some of the Nubian culture with visitors and also as a training center to assist Nubian ladies to learn their traditional handicraft techniques. For anyone interested in visiting the Nubianhouse on their own journeys to Egypt here is the address:
Next to Upper Luxor Bridge, Aswan Highway
6 km south of Luxor City
Opening Times: 8AM to 2PM, Free Entry
I have been bringing JtE-4 for years to the Nubianhouse Luxor
When I first started taking small groups to the Nubianhouse it was for the education about Nubian culture and the peaceful friendly atmosphere in a beautiful setting. We would visit the main Nubianhouse where Mr. Gamal Latif would explain Nubian Culture through the symbolism contained in paintings or carpets; we would tour the grounds where there was a replica of a fully appointed Nubian home, a waterwheel, and beautiful gardens.
As a souvenir I would normally buy one or a couple of their hand-made scarves. They normally had about 10-15 available and were busy weaving a couple more, demand was always high.
This time when I went in both December 2012 & January 2013 the main Nubianhouse was still bright, clean and beautiful, with Mr. Gamal Latif there to greet us. We took our tour, took many photos and bought the usual scarf. I asked if there were any of a special color combination I had liked. He led us up to the second story. In one of the rooms were easily one hundred boxes, each with 100 scarves. My heart broke as I caught the meaning, I could not speak but he understood, he said quietly “they have to keep working”.
On the grounds, waterwheel was broken, and other structures on the grounds were in need of repair, the key to the home replica did not work so the inside of the home was in ruins (but all the repairs would take money). The garden was still beautiful because men who were proud of their culture were volunteering their time.
Upper Egypt currently only has a trickle of tourists. We were there during “high season” and we had been the only guests for some time.
Purchase your own Nubian Scarf
I can’t send them money directly as a donation (non-profit groups are now suspect in Egypt and money wires for no commercial reason can be interpreted as corruption), but I can help to sell their scarves. And sell them at a fair price, enough not only to pay for the weavers and staff, but to get money into the community as well.
I decided that as I travel and teach I will give the gift of a scarf to those who donate $35*. This will cover the cost of the scarves, with additional scarves for me to carry and for shipping boxes home and to your house. I will hand carry the donations and buy scarves during my visits there with Journey Through Egypt 4. Our next trip will be in February of 2015.
“The Belly Dance Chronicles” magazine
“The Belly Dance Chronicles” magazine has just published my article; “The Nubian House Luxor and Our Scarf Project”. Already I have received inquires on how interested people can donate. Thank you all for your interest. I will be traveling to Luxor, Egypt again in February 2015, and will buy as many scarves as I can afford. If you want to donate and receive a hand-loomed Nubian scarf from the Nubianhouse you will soon be able to access the option in our new store.
Until then please paypal $35* to info@JourneyThroughEgypt.com to reserve yourself a scarf. If you would like to add your name to the current interest list to pay later, please e-mail Tiffany@JourneyThroughEgypt.com. We’ll e-mail closer to our next trip!
*Receive one Nubianhouse scarf for each $35. When promoting this, I can’t say “donation” or “non-profit” since these are trigger-words for Egypt. But we can buy scarves. I know the scarves cost less than this, but all the money I collect goes to buying more scarves and quietly fixing the grounds.