Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trees, then and now

I've been walking around photographing trees here since they are quite beautiful and varied.  They are also valued.  I have heard that it is against the law to cut down a tree.   I wish there were such a law in Amherst.  (I heard a couple years ago that in the time that 500 street trees were cut down in Amherst, only about 30+ had been replaced.)

Here are some pictures of trees in Egypt.  The first few photos are from my walk back and forth to Cameron's school.  We love living in Maadi, our neighborhood in Cairo, in part because of the many trees.  Most of Cairo though is not like this-- it's much more like a city.
I believe these are banana trees below.

Trees played a very important role historically in Egypt.  The Pharaohs planted and cared for trees.  Some of the trees they planted were sycamore, lotus fruits, and willow.  There are petrified forests near the Giza pyramids.  During various historical times, (e.g., the Crusades), the focus was mainly on planting trees for wood to make a fleet of boats for military purposes.  They cultivated tens of thousands of wood trees on either side of the Nile.  

Now, the focus is on maintaining trees on road sides, farm borders and around villages.  Multipurpose trees are used such as sycamore, mulberry, lotus and others.  The fruit-bearing trees also give shade, are wind shields, help with air purification and provide wood for carpentry. 

Many trees are found in ancient hieroglyphics. There are many myths about trees.  One is that trees help feed the dead.  Below is one ancient piece of art showing this idea.
Deceased being suckled by a sycamore
The photos below are from Alzhar Park where we went a couple weeks ago.

The ones below is called a yuccas.

The one below is from the Fish Gardens we visited last month.  If you click on the photo, you can see the tree in the background better. 

If you want to read more about trees in Egypt, here's a link with more information:

Trees in art of ancient Egypt:

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