Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report More Russia and Egypt

The racers begin the leg by going to the State Hermitage Museum. The Hermitage occupies six buildings situated along the River Neva, right in the heart of St Petersburg. The Museum is housed in what used to be the Winter Palace, the residence of the Russian tsars. There are over 3 million works of art that present the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The painting that the racers were searching for, The Return of the Prodigal Son, was painted by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn in 1668.

After leaving Russia, the racers are on their way to Egypt. Some books about Egygt include Max Rodenbeck's Cairo: The City Victorious, A Thousand Miles up the Nile by Amelia Edwards, and EM Forster's Alexandria: A History & and Guide. Useful literary anthologies include The Nile: A Traveller's Anthology by Deborah Manley (ed) and Egypt: A Traveller's Anthology by Christopher Pick (ed). There are many books about ancient Egyptian history, but among the best are The Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt by William J Marnane; The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt edited by Stephen Quirks and Jeffery Spencer; and The Ancient Egyptians: Religious Beliefs & Practices by Rosalie David.

Some books about Egypt's modern history include In Search of Identity, the autobiography of Anwar Sadat; Nasser - The Final Years, by Abdel Magid Farid; and Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid Marsot's A Short History of Modern Egypt.

Barbara Mertz has written nonfiction Egyptology books under her own name. Under her pen name of Elizabeth Peters, she has written a wonderful mystery series about Amelia Peabody, an archaeologist in Egypt and her family. (Amelia is based upon the Amelia Edwards mentioned above). The series begins in the Victorian era and currently is up to just after World War I. Another book that is fun to read is Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.

Movies that have been filmed in Egypt include The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Cleopatra, Death on the Nile, The Spy Who Loved Me, and the Ten Commandments. The TV series Fortunes of War was also filmed in Egypt. Fortunes of War is based upon Olivia Manning's books The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy. Parts of The Levant Trilogy take place in Egypt.