Today we spend a full day on the Giza Plateau. We visit the Great
Pyramid (of course!) and the newly re-opened "3rd
Pyramid" where we have long, full visits to fully absorb the
gifts that await us there. The 2nd Pyramid is presently closed for
renovations, but if possible, we will visit this also. We see the Solar
Boat (almost 5,000 years old!), the Sphinx and Valley
Temple. There are legends of the Sphinx speaking. Does the Sphinx have a message for you?
Camel rides for the
Optional: Sound & Light Show at the Giza pyramids this
evening, in case you were too tired the first night.
This morning we head out into the desert again to visit the Nuiserre
Sun Temple at Abu Gurab and the pyramids at Abu Sir. This is
a rare opportunity, as these sites are rarely visited by tourists.
The central alabaster alter of the sun temple sends out "hotep"
blessings in all 4 directions.
we visit the Cairo Egyptian Museum – mummies, hundreds of
statues and the King Tut collection. One could spend a week here
and not see everything. We have a good, long visit - a guided
tour, as well as free time. This evening we take in the colorful Kahn
al-Khalili bazaar. Enjoy shopping and bargaining, linger over
dinner at the famous historic Naguib Mafouz restaurant or try smoking
some shisha (flavored tobacco) at an outdoor cafe.
5, Wed: We
leave Giza early this morning to begin this very special opportunity to
see Tel-Amarna and Middle Egypt. We travel south via our own
private A/C bus to Middle Egypt. At this time only about 15 people
a week visit the sites in Middle Egypt (not like the thousands that
visit Giza each day), so this is quite an
begin with a visit to the Pyramid at Meidum. As we get our first look at it from a
distance, this pyramid
is strangely beautiful . It has a very arresting quality, even though its sides
have slid down and it is not in a good condition. Inside, we can
touch some of the wooden timbers used in its construction. Imagine
touching wood that is more than 4,000 years old! This is also the
site where the famous statues (on display in the Cairo museum) of
Rahotep and his wife were found.
visits to sites from the Middle Kingdom (2040 - 1640 BC) begin with the tombs at
Beni Hasan. The nobles' tombs portray scenes from the daily
life, and are well preserved, full of color and quite fascinating.
Acrobatics, dancing, and military sports are emphasized. But there
are also scenes of making flour, baking bread, weaving cloth, and even a
husband and wife on their wedding night! There are also many
animals - both those that were domesticated and those that were
hunted. There are also a few "mystic" beasts to
speculate about, a unicorn... or what do you think?
is near Beni Hasan that we find another interesting site, the "Speos
Artemidos," a rock cut temple for Pakhet, an aspect of the
lioness goddess Sekhmet. It is here that the female pharaoh,
Hatshepsut, made her declaration denouncing the Hyksos and telling of
her mission to resuscitate the temples of Egypt. We will see how
she seeded the spiritual renaissance of the New Kingdom when we get to
Overnight in the town of Menya, overlooking the Nile.
morning visit the site of Tel-Amarna, a city built by Akhenaten
and Nefertiti during the New Kingdom. We visit some nobles
tombs with wall reliefs unequalled anywhere else in Egypt. The
pictures appear alive and even as though they are moving. We
also visit the Northern Palace, one of the markers of the city
limits (a huge stone with hieroglyphics), the Southern Palace
and the tomb which was built for Akhenaten.
the afternoon we visit el-Ashmunein (Arabic), Hermopolis
(Greek), Khmunu (Ancient Egyptian) or the "City of
the Eight". It was the main cult center of Thoth (Djhueti,
Tehuti), god of Wisdom and writing, patron of scribes. We also visit
Tuna el-Gebel which was the neocropolis of Khmunu.
All in all, a very exciting day.
to our hotel in Menya for overnight.
Traveling still further south to visit Abydos, the place of pilgrimage in
Ancient Egypt. We visit the Temple of Seti I (with
the renowned Osireion). We will arrive in the early afternoon
after the the convoy of buses with tourists coming from Luxor has
left. This will give us some quality time in the temple without
the other tourists.
Overnight in Nag
Hamadi, where the scrolls were found that contain some of the
8, Sat: We
continue south to the Temple of
Hathor at Dendera. This temple was built during the Ptolemaic (Greek) era
on a much older site that had been a place of worshiping the Goddess
Hathor in earlier times. The famous circular zodiac was found in
the ceiling of a chapel on the roof of the temple. The ceilings
and walls of the main hypostyle hall are full of astrological imagery.
Again, we avoid the crowds coming from Luxor by visiting the temple
before they arrive.
evening arrival in Luxor, where we settle to our 5-star hotel
overlooking the Nile.
9, Sun: We
begin on the West Bank with the oldest temple from the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC)
Hatshepsut’s Temple, Deir
El Bahari, called "The Most Splendid of All" by the
ancient Egyptians. We have seen her mission statement near Beni
Hasan and now we see how some of that was carried out.
Next we see the rarely visited Ramesseum,
a favorite of many of our travelers. There are some exciting
excavations going on there presently, and we may be privileged to get a
Perhaps the most colorful tombs presently available for viewing in
Luxor, the Workman's Village, Deir El Medina, gives us a look at
some of the tombs most often represented in books about Ancient Egypt.
Whereas on Monday we saw scenes of daily life during the Old Kingdom,
and on Wednesday we saw scenes from the Middle Kingdom, today we see the daily life represented during the New Kingdom (about
1,000 years and 500 years later).
we leave the West Bank of Luxor we see the "Colossi of Memnon,"
the two large statues of Amenhotep III that still stand, even though
their temple was long ago destroyed. We return to the East Bank
where we visit the Luxor
Temple in the late afternoon-early evening (when the lighting is
optimal for seeing the wall reliefs). The dramatic lighting also
helps give the temple a special feeling in the evening. Both
gently beautiful and full of awesome grandness, this temple was the
"Bride of Karnak" during the annual Apet festival.
For those who would like, we have a second visit to the Luxor Temple,
this time in the early morning. It's a wonderful setting for an
early morning meditation, or perhaps you would rather photograph, sketch
or just wander around. It is a pleasure to be there before the
crowds of tourists arrive.
After breakfast back at hotel, the splendors of Karnak fill the
rest of our day. Each Pharaoh wanted to leave something impressive
largest temple complex in Egypt, we see multiple temples, obelisks,
great gates and the famous hypostyle hall - unequalled to this day.
Also at Karnak, we visit the fascinating Open Air Museum where we
view the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut (Karnak's original Holy of
Holies), Senwosret's White Chapel with its famous finely-carved
hieroglyphs, and some other magnificent pieces.
afternoon/evening visit to the Luxor Museum with its special
exhibit room of a cache of statues found in near-perfect condition.
They were buried under a courtyard at the Luxor Temple and found only
recently during renovations.
Optional opportunity: Sound & Light Show at Karnak
in the evening.
11, Tuesday, February 22:
You may choose to visit Karnak temple again this morning, either
to catch the stunning photos provided by the early morning light or to
do a meditation with the fiery lioness, Sekhmet, in her chapel
there. Or you may decide to sleep in and meet the others afterwards at
we make a second visit to the West Bank of Luxor. The west represented the hereafter and is where the dead were buried.
We have already visited the tombs in the Valley of the Workmen, so today
we visit the famous Valley of the Kings (where King Tut’s tomb
the afternoon we finish our explorations of the New Kingdom with the
last great temple to be built during that period, Medinet Habu.
Second only to Karnak in size, built by Ramesses III on a site that was
seeded by a temple built by Hatshepsut at the very beginning of the New
Kingdom, it is a fitting way to finish our tour together. There is
a wonderful hall of pillars with colored reliefs of the many gods &
goddesses that you have come to know through your lectures with Ruth and
Ehab. How many can you identify now?
flight to Cairo this evening or
board a Nile Cruise boat to continue your Egypt tour with a Nile Cruise
extension provided by our affiliate, American Express of Egypt. An extension
is offered for a Nile Cruise and Abu
Simbel Excursion .
There may be changes to this itinerary due to circumstances beyond our
and What Is Included in this Feb 12-22 Tour