The Best of Ancient Egypt

Detailed Itinerary


Sunday & Monday, September 20 & 21, 2015: U.S. | Cairo, EGYPT
Depart the U.S. for Cairo, arriving on September 21st. You will be met upon arrival at the airport and transferred to the historic Mena House, a palatial hotel set amid forty acres of gardens, located less than half a mile from the Giza pyramids. This evening we gather for a welcome reception and dinner. Overnight at the Mena House for three nights. (R,D)
 
Tuesday, September 22: Cairo | Giza Plateau | Cairo
Spend the day on the Giza Plateau. In the morning explore the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Solar Boat Museum. Then visit tombs in the Eastern Cemetery, namely the interesting adjacent mastabas of the officials Qar and Idu, as well as the vibrantly decorated mastaba of Meresankh III. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, take a walking tour of the Pyramids and remains of the mortuary temples of Khafra and Menkaura, as well as an ancient limestone quarry. End the day at the timeless Sphinx and the Valley Temple of Khafra. (B,L,D)
 
Wednesday, September 23: Cairo | Saqqara | Serrapeum | Cairo
Today visit the necropolis at Saqqara, site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser and the Pyramid of Teti (with its ancient pyramid texts) and the tomb of Mereruka. While there, see the pyramid temple and causeway of Unas, the Tomb of the Two “Brothers” (Nyankhkhnum and Khnumhotep). A short drive will take us to the fascinating Serrapeum, ancient burial place of the sacred (and mummified!) Apis bulls. After a late lunch nearby, return to Saqqara to see the newly-discovered New Kingdom tomb of Paser, “head of the army archives and royal messenger to the foreign countries” (special access visit, closed to the public), with a talk at the site by Dr. Ola el-Aguizy, head of the Cairo University excavation team. Return to our hotel in time for dinner. (B, L, D)
 
Thursday, September 24: Cairo | Egyptian Museum | Luxor (East Bank)
Spend the morning at the Egyptian Museum, which houses the celebrated treasures of Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummy Room. After lunch, transfer to the airport and fly to Luxor. Check in to our elegant hotel on the east bank of the Nile and have dinner. Overnight at the Old Winter Palace Hotel for two nights. (B,L,D)
 
Friday, September 25: Luxor | Karnak | Luxor Temple | Luxor
A short drive through town brings us to Karnak, the world’s largest temple complex (built over the course of a thousand years), where a generous amount of time is scheduled for exploring. Our visit will include Karnak’s Open Air Museum, which has on display many newly reconstructed structures; as well as the newly-opened temple of the goddess Mut, in the site’s southern precinct. Return to our hotel for a late lunch and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. This evening, take a stroll to nearby Luxor Temple. (B,L,D)
 
Saturday, September 26: Luxor (West Bank) | Valley of the Kings | Deir el Bahari | Luxor
Join an early morning hike on the ancient workers’ trail over the hill to the Valley of the Kings, or take our motorcoach if you prefer. In the Valley of the Kings, explore several amazing royal tombs, including the legendary Tomb of Tutankhamen and the spectacular Tomb of Seti I (special access visit, closed to the public). After lunch, visit the stunning mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari. Check-in to our oasis-like hotel on the west bank of the Nile, which will provide convenient access to the sites we visit over the next two days. Overnight at the Hotel Al Moudira for two nights. (B,L,D)}
 
Sunday, September 27: Luxor | Abydos | Dendara | Luxor
We set out through the countryside to visit two of Egypt’s most spectacular and under-visited sites, Abydos and Dendara. At Abydos, AIA lecturer/host Stephen Harvey will share his experiences working at the site over the past 25 years, as well as information about exciting recent discoveries. After lunch, continue on to the Temple of Hathor at Dendara, which has recently been extensively restored, revealing its startlingly well-preserved painted astronomical ceiling and reliefs. Return to our hotel, where we can relax and enjoy dinner this evening. (B,L,D)
 
Monday, September 28: Luxor | Valley of the Queens | Deir el Medina | Luxor (East Bank) | Embarkation
Spend the morning in the Valley of the Queens, where we gain access to the touching Tomb of Khaemwaset, a young son of Ramses III; and the Tomb of Nefertari (special access visit, closed to the public), often called the most beautiful tomb in Egypt. Continue on to Deir el Medina, the ancient village of the workers who built the pharaohs’ tombs, where we visit the beautifully preserved Tomb of Sennedjem. Our last visit on Luxor’s West Bank is the tomb of Ramose. This afternoon, embark our deluxe Nile cruise boat and have lunch before making a visit to the small but excellent Luxor Museum. Overnight aboard the five-star M/S Royal Lily for four nights. (B,L,D)
 
Tuesday, September 29: Nile Cruising | Edfu
Enjoy a day at leisure. Cruising the Nile, we pass through the Esna Lock and continue on to Edfu, where we dock for the night. (B,L,D)
 
Wednesday, September 30: Edfu | Kom Ombo | Aswan
This morning we disembark for a visit to Edfu, where horse-drawn carriages will take us to the Temple of Horus, the best-preserved temple on the Nile. (Recent excavations have also revealed the earlier history of the town.) Continue cruising for most of the day, and then disembark for a short walk to visit the twin Temples of Sobek and Horus at Kom Ombo. Continue cruising to Aswan, where we should arrive after dark. (B,L,D)
 
Thursday, October 1: Aswan
Take a morning excursion to the ancient granite quarry with the unfinished obelisk, and take a short boat ride to the Temple of Isis at Philae, said to be Egypt’s most beautiful temple. After lunch, enjoy a guided walk through Aswan’s suq, the most charming and traditional of the markets in Egypt, where one can find interesting Nubian ethnographic items such as baskets, pottery, and scarves that are unique to the Aswan area. Gather for dinner onboard the boat this evening. (B,L,D)
 
Friday, October 2: Aswan | Disembarkation
After breakfast, disembark our Nile cruise boat and board feluccas (small, traditional sailing vessels) to visit the archaeological site and small museum on Elephantine Island; as well as Qubbet el-Hawa, site of the rock-cut tombs of the governors of Elephantine, located on the West Bank, high above the Nile with views of the entire area. After lunch, check in to our beautiful, recently renovated hotel on the Nile, where we have some time to relax and enjoy the property. Overnight at the New Cataract Hotel for two nights. (B,L,D)
 
Saturday, October 3: Aswan | Abu Simbel | Aswan
Transfer to the airport this morning for a short flight to Abu Simbel, where we visit the two fantastic rock-cut temples of Ramses II (built to honor himself and his queen, Nefertari). Moved when the Aswan High Dam was built, they are a marvel of ancient and modern engineering. Fly back to Aswan this afternoon. From our hotel, stroll to the elegant Nubia Museum, which exhibits many of the more than 3,000 artifacts recovered during the excavations of Nubian sites that were threatened by the construction of the High Dam. (B,L,D)
 
Sunday, October 4: Aswan | Cairo
Take a mid-morning flight back to Cairo and check-in to our luxurious new hotel, conveniently located at the airport. It features fully soundproofed rooms and direct access to Terminal 3 via footbridge. Set out for a stroll through the labyrinthine Khan el Khalili bazaar, where we will have lunch, and walk through medieval Cairo, including visits to a couple of its beautiful mosques. This evening, enjoy a farewell reception and dinner at our hotel. Overnight at Le Méridien Cairo Airport. (B,L,R,D)
 
Monday, October 5: Cairo | U.S.
Check out this morning and enter the airport to catch flights homeward. (B)
 

If you have any additional questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

 

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