Tourists are always concerned about where the bathrooms are. And it is one of the details tour guides never forget to mention – I suppose it makes people feel comfortable and avoids unnecessary delays.
The morning I visited Medina Habu* I was not with a tour, and I didn’t think about or needed a bathroom. At one moment I was passing a group of people whose guide was explaining the meaning of the battle on the wall in front of them. Since I had been too lazy to read about it in the book my friends had given before leaving that morning, I sneaked close to listen.
When the guide had finished we stood in silence contemplating what we saw and what he had told us, until a woman’s voice broke the silence: “Where were the toilets?”
A little irritated the guide answered: “They are outside the gate lady, you’ll have to wait until we leave.”
“No, I mean where did the Ancient Egyptians go when they came here? Did they have bathrooms then?”
Toilets must not have been on the program, because the guide hesitated before answering: “Medina Habu is one of the few places where you can still see one.”
“Really?” a chorus asked “Can you show us?”
As I said, I was not part of the group, but wanting to see the toilet too I pretended I was. While leading us away from the main building to an area covered with broken stones and rubble he explained that here had been the bath houses. When we came to a small enclosure, four low brick walls with an opening where the door must have been, he said” “Just look inside, that is the one toilet that is left.”And one by one everybody peaked in.
I was astounded how little had changed since the Ancient Egyptians had invented the toilet — because today in France, and other parts of Europe, there are toilets which look just like it —- and they are still in use!
More from Egypt soon
*Medina Habu is where Ramesses III built his Mortuary Temple – New Kingdom 1184-1153 BC