Undiscovered Egypt - Amarna - Abydos - Denderah - Luxor
September 23, 2016 to October 6, 2016.
Day 1, Sep 23, 2016 Arrive Cairo:
You will be met on arrival, helped through customs and immigration - help with visa on arrival - and transferred to your hotel. Tonight we get to know your fellow travellers and guides at the welcome dinner.
Overnight Ramses Hilton Hotel or similar D
Day 2, Sep 24, 2016 Egyptian Museum and Khan El Khalili market:
We start our day with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, home to many of the greatest treasures of ancient history. We will tour the highlights, including Tutankhamen's golden treasures, the stunning colossi of Amenhotep III, and granite sarcophagi/statues of the Old Kingdom, with an option of visiting the fascinating royal mummies. We will pay special attention to the Amarna room with its colossal statues and unique art, in preparation for touring that region.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Exploring and Shopping in Khan El Khalili
Enjoy a walking tour of the 13th Century covered oriental market - the largest of its kind and age in the world - Khan El Khalili Bazaar is a marvel to experience and an onslaught to the senses. After the walking tour, you will have free time to wander around and enjoy, haggle for exotic goods, or pull up a chair at one of the cafes, try some shishah and mint tea, and watch life go by.
Optional dinner at the renowned Abou el Sid restaurant in Zamalek.
Overnight Ramses Hilton Hotel or similar B,L
Day 3, Sep 25, 2016 Islamic Cairo & Coptic Cairo:
Today we explore the great worship centres and historic edifices of the main religious groups of Cairo: the Muslims, the Coptic Christians and the Jews. Both have a long and storied past in the city with many great works of art and architecture spanning a millennia.
Islamic Cairo - Your day begins with a half-day immersion into the fascinating world of Islamic Cairo, site of some of the oldest mosques in the world. We start with a gorgeous panoramic view of the city from way up in the medieval Citadel of Saleh el din, a marvel of medieval warfare, built in places with limestone from the Great Pyramid. There, we'll also tour a 14th century open air mosque and the beautiful 19th century mosque of Mohammed Ali. Next, we'll proceed to the breathtaking 14th century Sultan Hassan mosque, considered the pearl of Islamic architecture. Before lunch, we'll also visit El Raffai, another ornate 19th century mosque which is the resting place of many early Egyptian rulers, including King Farouk.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Coptic Cairo - Today we will explore some of the earliest churches and an important synagogue. This main entrance to the Coptic area is through perhaps one of the two oldest structures in Cairo, the rounded towers of the western gate from the Roman fortress of Babylon, built in 98 AD by Emperor Trajan. First, we'll experience the hanging church of the Virgin Mary from the 4th century - built into the very walls of the ancient fortress. From there, a medieval path will lead us to the Church of St. Sergius, which, legend has it, is built atop one of the sites where the Holy Family rested on their flight from Herod. Continuing along this path, we will finally visit the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Egypt's oldest, dating to the 9th Century. In the early evening we will transfer out to our Giza Hotel.
Overnight Movenpick Pyramids hotel or similar B,L
Day 4, Sep 26, 2016 The Great Pyramids/Sphinx:
The last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is perhaps the most famous tourist site in the world. The Giza plateau itself, with its three major pyramids plus Queen's pyramids, ancient mastabas, Sphinx and the ubiquitous and colourful camel drivers is a much-anticipated highlight of any trip. For our visit, we will also include entry to some of the lesser-known old kingdom tombs of Kar and Idu - along with rare entrance to the pyramid of Queen Henutsen. Of course, we will arrive before 8am to better ensure coveted entrance inside the Great pyramid of Cheops. If, however, Cheops entrance is not available, we will tour inside either the 2nd or 3rd pyramid. While on the plateau, we will also visit the solar boat museum and the extraordinary Sphinx.
Your afternoon is free to relax.
Optional sound and light show at the Pyramids - $30
Overnight Movenpick Pyramids or similar B,L
Day 5, Sep 27, 2016 Saqqara and and Dashur - Old and predynastic Egypt full day:
We will enjoy an intensive full day exploring this rich archaeological site - which is most notably the location of Djoser's Step Pyramid, the oldest in Egypt. Our day begins at the modern Imhotep museum, where we'll view some rare old kingdom relics, such as cobra reliefs, ancient harps, surgical instruments and the Old Kingdom mummy of King Merenre. We will then proceed to see Old Kingdom tombs, such as the breathtaking Mereruke, the mastaba of Ti, the tomb of Ptahotep (tombs opening and closures change, we will see tombs that are currently open at the time) and also enter into the Pyramid of Teti to view its beautiful pyramid texts.
Next, we will tour the Saqqara complex, including the Step pyramid itself, Djoser's court and the causeway.
Lunch at local restaurant.
In the afternoon we visit two more of the earliest pyramids in Egypt: the Bent, and the impressive and intact Red, both built by Senefru in the 26th and 25th century BC. The Bent retains most of it casing stones. Entrance to the Red will be optional - and for the fit and adventurous minded only as it is an athletic climb. This Dashur region presents a wonderful opportunity for pyramid exploration far from the crowds of Giza.
Overnight Movenpick Pyramids Hotel or similar B,L
Day 6, Sep 28, 2016 Meydum, Beni Hassan to Minya:
This morning, we say goodbye to the Cairo area and Lower Egypt, boarding our air-conditioned motor coach to drive to Minya in the middle of the country. We will stop at the rarely-visited ancient Meydum Pyramid, second oldest in Egypt after the Step Pyramid, and yours to explore inside and out. Adventure option: Test your 'tomb raider' skills by crawling on knees and hands into one of the challenging nearby Old Kingdom mastabas to reach the burial chamber.
Before arriving in the modern city of Minya, we will cross the Nile and climb up a windswept hill to visit the great rock-cut tombs of Beni Hassan (2000-1800 BC), remarkable for their unique middle kingdom art featuring colourful scenes of wrestling men and rural life. You will enjoy secluded surroundings and the beautiful panoramic views of the middle Egypt countryside all around. After touring 4 of the tombs and possibly the nearby temple of Artemis, we continue to Minya for hotel check-in and lunch.
Overnight Horus Hotel or similar B,L,D
Day 7, Sep 29, 2016 All day Tell El-Amarna and region exclusive tour with Prof. Barry Kemp:
This morning we cross the Nile early to visit the great site of Tell El-Amarna, a city built by Akhenaten and Nefertiti during the New Kingdom, it lasted only 15 years. This will be a very special day where we will be the VIP guests of the esteemed Prof. Barry Kemp, director of the Amarna project who has been excavating here for decades. He will take us on a private tour and introduce us to the site. Since the site was settled for only 15 years, it is possible to see how the town was planned and laid out.
Highlights of the sprawling site include the north and south tombs of the nobles that feature remnants of beautiful, vibrant and naturalistic wall relief. Like Beni Hassan, these tombs are located high in the hills, affording us some lovely countryside views.
We'll also see the Northern Palace, one of the Boundary Stele (a marker of the city limits), the Southern Palace and the beautifully restored tomb built for Akhenaten.
Overnight Horus Hotel or similar Minya B,L,D
Day 8, Sep 30, 2016 Ashmunein, Tuna El-Gebel to Abydos:
This morning we'll leave the desert cliffs of Amarna to explore the rolling green ruins of Ashmunein (also known as Hermopolis). This legendary site was an important cult centre dating from New Kingdom right through Roman times and closely associated with the creation myth. A great colossus of Thoth, the baboon headed god of wisdom, will greet us before a charming open air museum of treasures. Then, we'll continue to trek through the thick brambles to discover beautiful ornate Ptolemaic columns and walls of this ancient city. Venture a little further afield to view interesting ruins from a New Kingdom Seti I temple.
Next, we'll visit fascinating Tuna El-Gebel, the nearby necropolis of Ashmunein. Here, we'll explore the colourful Ptolemaic chapels and Greco-Roman tombs (Petosiris, and Isadora) and even venture deep into the eerie catacombs where ibis and baboon mummies were interred.
After our list we will travel to Abydos, check into our hotel and have dinner.
Overnight House of Life or similar Abydos B,L,D
Day 9, Oct 1, 2016 Abydos and Dendera to Luxor:
Today you will visit two of the greatest temples in Egypt - and ones not generally on the average travellers itinerary. We depart early in the morning en route first to Abydos, the ancient holy city of the god Osiris. Here you will visit the cenotaph-temple of Seti I. The carvings within are probably the most symmetrically beautiful the Egyptians ever created. Explore behind the temple to find the eerie Osirium and a little visited temple of Rameses II.
Lunch near Dendera
Visit the Temple of Hathor at Dendera built by the famous Cleopatra VII - the most complete of Egypt's ancient temples and one of the best restored. Travellers can climb into the sacred lake (now a palm grove), up onto the roof of the temple, and also enter one of the crypts under the floor of the temple.
Overnight Sonesta hotel or similar Luxor B,L,D
Day 10, Oct 2, 2016 Luxor - The West Bank - Valley of Kings, Ramesseum, Colossi of Memnon:
Morning free to relax and recover from the long drive to Luxor.
This afternoon we cross to the West Bank, site of the ancient Necropolis of Thebes or "city of the dead". We will visit the world famous Valley of the Kings where you can enter three tombs. Tomb openings change - we will enter the tombs that are currently opened at the time.
We will then visit the gigantic Colossi of Memnon, gateway to the temple of Amenhotep III, and the Ramesseum of Rameses II where you may gaze upon the colossosal "Ozymandias".
Return to Luxor and enjoy a Sunset felucca sail.
Overnight Sonesta hotel or similar Luxor B
Day 11, Oct 3, 2016 Valley of Queens, Hatshepsut temple, Tomb of the Nobles:
Optional sunrise balloon tour
We will cross back over for a final full day on the awe-inspiring west bank. Visit the mortuary Temple of Queen Hatschepsut, Deir el Medina (the valley of the workers), Valley of the Queens and Tombs of the Nobles and the surrounding townsite.
Lunch at local restaurant.
Overnight Sonesta hotel or similar Luxor B,L
Day 12, Oct 4, 2016 Free day in Luxor or take an optional tour:
Today enjoy relaxing by the pool, wandering around town, shopping in the market or take an optional sightseeing tour. Optional tours - horseback riding, a day trip to Edfu and Kom Ombo - more options coming! Stay tuned.
Overnight Sonesta hotel or similar Luxor B
Day 13, Oct 5, 2016 Luxor and Karnak Temples:
Today we explore Luxor and Karnak Temples with an option to visit Luxor Museum.
We will have all afternoon to explore the great complex of Karnak - largest in Egypt.
Final dinner - Archaeology sum up lecture by Egyptologist guides.
Overnight Sonesta hotel or similar Luxor B,D
Day 14, Oct 6, 2016 Departure day:
You will be transferred to the Luxor airport for your flights home. Why not take an extension to Aswan and Abu Simbel, Alexandria, Red Sea or Nile Cruise. Please contact our office for details. B
Price $3,595USD based on twin / $395USD single supplement.
2 nights Cairo - Ramses Hilton or similar
3 nights Giza - Movenpick Pyramids or similar
2 nights Minya - Horus Hotel or similar
1 night Abydos - House of Life or similar
5 nights Luxor - Sonesta hotel or similar
Meals as per itinerary 28 Meals 13 B/Breakfasts 9 L/ Lunches 6 D/Dinners
Transfers in deluxe motorcoach
Tour Leader - Laura Ranieri from Ancient Egypt Alive & Anna MacKay Your Journey
Guest Lecturer Gayle Gibson & Clair Ossian - will be with you the entire tour
Services of a local English-speaking Egyptian guide
All sightseeing as listed on the itinerary
Tips for porters and restaurant staff
Price does not include:
Tips for guides and bus driver
Beverages with meals
All items not mentioned above
$300 Non refundable deposit due at time of booking
76 days or more deposit is non refundable
75-60 days prior to departure 25% is non refundable
59 - 31 days prior to departure 50% is non refundable
30 days or less prior to departure 100% non refundable
Guest Lecturer Gayle Gibson is a respected Canadian Egyptologist and a Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum. She worked for over 20 years as a popular teacher, lecturer and Egypt specialist at the ROM and appears frequently on television as a "guest expert". Her main enthusiasm as an Egyptologist is for mummies and their coffins. She has published articles on coffins and has lectured widely on mummies and coffins. It was also Ms. Gibson who was largely responsible for correctly identifying Pharoah Ramses I among the mysterious mummies at the old Niagara museum and getting him on the road home to Luxor, after centuries away from Egypt.
Laura Ranieri is an award-winning copywriter, a journalist and an Egyptology graduate student in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She has written a variety of published articles and blogs on ancient Egypt and Egyptian tourism, developed and co-organized the 2012 Archaeology Alive Tour led by the ROM's Gayle Gibson, produced short documentaries and has traveled to the country six times visiting almost all of the noted sites. She has excavated in Bulgaria and a classical Greek site and in Egypt at the Great Temple of Aten in Amarna. Her scholarly interests include the Amarna period, Middle Egyptian language and the god Ptah.
Our guest lecturer at Amarna, Prof. Barry Kemp is a Professor of Egyptology at the University of Cambridge's Department of Oriental Studies, and the Director of the Amarna Project - the major excavation at the site of Tell el-Amarna in Egypt which has been ongoing since the late 90s.He has written several books and papers, most notably Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization (first edition 1991, second edition 2005), which has become a key text book in many university Egyptology and ancient history courses. Other titles Kemp has contributed to include Journal of Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, edited by Jack Sasson, and Ancient Egypt: A Social History, by BG Trigger. Prof. Kemp has worked at Amarna since 1977, and is currently based in Cairo, Egypt.
Clair Ossian is an accomplished geologist and a leader of the Dallas ARCE chapter. He brings close to 40 years of experience as a research geologist and a geology professor. As a rocks and minerals expert, he has worked on ancient Egypt excavations and on Egyptian material, consulting/collaborating with respected names including Donald Redford, Bernard Bothmer, James Harrell, James Romano, Zahi Hawass, and many others. A prolific writer, Clair has published 11 papers in Egyptology, 100 geological publications, and five books.
Duration: 14 Days
Max Group Size: 20
Price: $3,595.00 USD per person based on twin share.