Ancient Egypt

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Day 1

Upon arrival to Cairo International Airport, you will be met, assisted through immigration formalities, to collect your luggage and proceed to the domestic flight to Luxor.  Upon arrival to Luxor, collect your baggage and proceed to the exit.  Here you will be met by an Alluring Africa representative, and transferred to Sofitel Old Winter Palace Hotel where you will stay for three nights.  

This opulent Luxor hotel blends rich colonial design with the glory of Pharaonic times. In this 19th-century palace once a winter retreat for the Egyptian royal family Agatha Christie wrote her famed 1937 novel Death on the Nile.

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Day 2

You will be collected from your hotel for a Private Half day tour of the West Bank.  Cross the Nile from Luxor, where you will visit the Valley of the Kings which includes the tombs of the Thebian rulers. Next, tour the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the only woman pharaoh to reign in ancient Egypt (in the new Kingdom). Her temple, with its impressive architecture, is traditionally associated with Hathor, the goddess of love and joy. It was formerly surrounded by tropical gardens with plants imported from Somali land. Later, tour the Valley of The Queens and the famous Colossi of Memnon, which once guarded the entrance to the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The temple was destroyed by an earthquake but the Colossi still remain. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. 

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Day 3

You will be collected from your hotel for a Private Half Day tour of the East Bank.  In an unforgettable excursion, you will visit the Luxor Temple, which was built by the two great pharaohs, Amenhotep III and Ramses II. After touring the temple, you will travel along an avenue of ram-headed Sphinxes, extending for about two miles, which link Luxor Temple with Karnak Temple, the center of worship in ancient Egypt. No site in the world makes a more overwhelming and lasting impression than this “Temple of all Temples.” Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. 

Later you will enjoy the Karnak Sound and Light Show, which highlights the dramatic history of ancient Thebes. The show narrates the achievements of some great Pharaohs, with poetic descriptions of the ancient treasures. As visitors walk through the complex of temples, pharaohs arise to tell the story of their interesting lives, as haunting music mysteriously flows through this ancient city. Ancient and poetic voices tell the visitors about the birth of Karnak temple and the heroic achievements of pharaohs and god Amun. It is an enchanting and supernatural experience to listen to sound effects and gaze at the magnificent ruins illuminated during the well-presented show.

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Day 4

You will be collected from your hotel for your private road transfer to Aswan.  Along the way, stop at Edfu to visit the Horus Temple. Edfu lies 100 kilometers south of Luxor and is the site of one of the greatest and best preserved temples of ancient Egypt. The temple, completed during the Ptolemic age (305-30 B.C.), was dedicated to Horus and provides a wealth of information through its inscriptions, which describe the founding and construction methods of similar temples, as well as daily rituals and myths of ancient times.

Continue to Kom Ombo, which has, since earliest times, received visitors who have traveled through the Libyan and Arabian deserts from Sudan caravan routes. The town of Ombos gained administrative importance during the Ptolemic age as it protected the southern border of Egypt and in the Roman period was a military station. Visit the temple shared by two gods: Sobek and Haeroris. The temple has a double sanctuary and is dedicated to two divinities: Haroeris (Horus the Elder) and Sobek (the Crocodile God).

Reach Aswan this afternoon where you will stay at Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel for three nights. Rising grandly from a pink granite shelf at the edge of the Nubian Desert with views of Elephantine Island, this stylish property blends Pharaonic treasures with French art de recevoir.

Be dazzled by a magical sound and light show at the Philae Temple on this 1.5-hour trip from Aswan, with private round-trip transfers included. Travel to the beautiful ancient temple, set on an island in the Nile, and admire its spectacularly lit walls, pylons and court lit by a kaleidoscope of lights and lasers projections. See the illuminations reflected in the lapping waters, and walk through the floodlit halls and colonnades as the powerful commentary tells tales of the temple’s history and pharaohs past.

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Day 5

You will be collected from your hotel for a Private Full Day tour of the High Dam, Philae Temple and the Granite Quarries. The old dam was built by Sir W. Wilcock on behalf of the British authorities in 1898. It was constructed from granite quarried in the Aswan area and the official opening took place in 1902. In the 1960’s, a new dam was built by the Egyptian government. On the island of Philae, now situated between the High Dam and the “old” dam, is the sacred complex of monuments built for the cult of Isis and Osiris. Philae was built under the Ptolemies and finished in Roman times.

This afternoon board a traditional Nile felucca and sail around Kitchener’s Island, home to one of the most spectacular botanical gardens in the world. Kitchener’s Island is considered Aswan’s second major island; it was given to Lord Kitchener as a gift in recognition of his efforts in the Sudan Campaign. Hear about the history of the island and how Kitchener transformed it into a small and exotic paradise that boasts lush vegetation.

 

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Day 6

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Aswan Airport for the scheduled flight to Abu Simbel.  Upon you will be met and taken on a tour of the famous temples of Ramses II and his favorite wife Nefertari. On the short walk to the temple entrances, your guide will explain the history of the site, including details of the UNESCO-led relocation of the entire cliff face to higher ground, and how the temples were discovered by accident in 1813. Due to the large number of visitors to Abu Simbel, guides are not permitted inside either the Great Temple of Ramses II or the smaller Temple of Hathor. However, by using photos and illustrations, your guide will explain to you the structures and their interior artworks. You will then have free time to enter the temples and explore them at your leisure. As one of the few ancient Egyptian sites which largely escaped damage by past invaders, the interiors of Abu Simbel’s temples are astounding. The scale of the buildings and their detailed decoration leaves most visitors in awe. The temples’ attraction is further enhanced by their scenic location on the edge of Lake Nasser in the orange sands of the desert. After visiting the temples there may be time for a short visit to the small visitor’s center which documents the UNESCO relocation project, before you are transferred back to the airport for the scheduled flight to Aswan. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred back to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. 

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Day 7

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport for the scheduled flight to Cairo.  Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the Cairo Marriott where you will stay for five nights. 

Bask in the elegance of Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino. Guests are treated to lush gardens, a historic palatial property and 5-star accommodations. Relax in well-appointed rooms and suites that benefit from plush bedding, desks, complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bars and 24-hour room service. Many of the rooms have balconies with views of the gardens, the city or the Nile. 

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Day 8

You will be collected from your hotel for a Private, Full Day sightseeing tour, including The Pyramids, Memphis, Sakkara and the Step Pyramid of Zoser.

The only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, they are among the world’s greatest tourist attractions and never lose their ability to inspire and overwhelm visitors. You will be inspired by these fabulous monuments, as you explore the mysteries of its ancient past.

Travel to Memphis, one the glorious Old Kingdom capital of Egypt, which has almost completely vanished. It is believed that the city wasp founded around 3100 BC, probably by King Menés, when Upper and Lower Egypt were first united. It had many splendid palaces and gardens, and was one of the most renowned and populous cities of the ancient world. Like most Egyptians cities with any degrees of importance, Memphis also had it own deity, the all-powerful creator-god Ptah, who formed the world with words from his tongue and heart. Even as late as the 5th century BC, long after Thebes had taken over as capital of Egypt, Memphis was described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a ‘prosperous city and cosmopolitan center’. Its enduring importance, even then, was reflected in the size of its cemetery of the west bank of the Nile, an area replete with royal pyramids, private tombs and sacred animal necropolises. This city of the dead, centered at Saqqara, covers 30 km along the edge of the desert, Dahshur to Giza.

When Memphis was the capital of Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period, Saqqara was its necropolis. Deceased Pharaohs, family members and sacred animals ère ceremoniously transported from Memphis to be permanently enshrined in one of the myriad temples, pyramids and tombs at Saqqara. In the 3000 years between the foundation of Memphis and the end of the Greek rule under the Ptolemies, the necropolis grew till it covered a seven kilometer stretch of the Western Desert. The Step Pyramid, possibly Egypt’s first and the oldest stone structure of its size in the world, was just one of the many funerary monuments and temples built in the area. In terms of the value of what has been and has yet to be uncovered, there are few archaeological sites in the world that compare with Saqqara; yet apart from the Step Pyramid, the necropolis was virtually ignored by archaeologists until mid-19th century, Wen Auguste Mariette found the Serapeum. Even the massive mortuary complex surrounding Zoser’s Step Pyramid wasn’t discovered and reclaimed from the sand until 1924, and it still being restored.

Have you ever wondered how life was thousands of years ago? This question and others similar thoughts inspired creators to accompany you for a short while to the past, by introducing the sound and light show. It is a magnificent show that brings creatively to life the rule of ancient Egyptians. The artists skillfully created a show to present images of all historical eras. For an hour, you enjoy the sound and light show near the pyramids and the Sphinx. The history is re-told by the Sphinx, telling you the most ancient secrets of the world. In the 21st century, you go back in time thousands of years ago to see how they were built and survived! The show manages to convey the great humane spirit and creativity behind their creation. 

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Day 9

You will be collected from your hotel taken on a Private Full Day Tour to explore old Cairo with its architectural beauties and old glory.

The Egyptian Museum is the most important depository of Egyptian antiquities anywhere in the world. It features artifacts from the Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman periods, including the celebrated mummies of ancient Egypt and Tut Ankh Amun treasures.

Head to the Citadel – a complex of three mosques and four museums. Salah al Din began building the Citadel in 1176 to fortify the city against the Crusaders, and over the centuries it has been modified and enlarged with the palaces and buildings of subsequent rulers and governments.  Mohammed Ali, one of the last rulers to reside in the Citadel, leveled most of the buildings of the Mameluke period to build his own mosque and palace. And it was in a narrow rock-hewn passage near one of the Citadel’s front gates that he sealed his control over Egypt with the massacre of the Mamelukes.

Also, known as the Alabaster Mosque, the Mohammed Ali Mosque and mausoleum was built by Mohammed Ali between 1830 and 1848. His gilt tomb is on the right as you enter. Although the interior is vast, it is badly decorated. The gingerbread clock in the central court has never worked; it was given to Mohammed Ali by King Louis-Philippe of France in return for a Pharaonic obelisk from Luxor that still stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The most spectacular features of the mosque are outside – its huge dome and half-domes and tall, slim minarets are very impressing.

Proceed to the fascinating Khan El-Khalili Bazaar – reputed to be the largest bazaar in the Middle East. Originally founded as a watering stop for caravanserai in the 14th century, the bazaar has now grown to vast proportions. As you wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets you will find workshops and stalls selling all manner of things from woodwork, glassware and leather goods to perfumes, fabrics and Pharaonic curiosities.

  

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Day 10

The day is at leisure to explore on your own. 

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Day 11

You will be collected from your hotel and driven to Alexandria for a Private Full Day sightseeing tour, including a visit to the National Museum, Pompei Pillar, Catacombs and Alexandria Library, as time permits. 

Alexandria National Museum was inaugurated by the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, December 31st, 2003. Located in a restored palace, it contains about 1,800 artifacts pieces of antiquities that narrate the history of Alexandria throughout ages, pharaonic, Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras and some modern pieces, Mummies are shown in a special underground chamber, and some of the items found during the archaeological underwater excavations in Alexandria, are now displayed on the same floor as the Greco Roman artifacts.

The massive yet unimpressive, 25-meter-high pink granite column, called Pompey’s Pillar, mistakenly credited to Pompey by the Crusaders, rises out of the disappointing remains of the far more splendid and acclaimed Serapeum. What was once an acropolis, topped by the Temple of Serapis, and surrounded by subsidiary shrines and buildings, including Cleopatra’s library, now merely features excavated subterranean galleries, the ruins of the Temple of Isis, a few sphinxes, and Pompey’s Pillar. The pillar, which has a circumference of nine meters, was erected amidst the Serapeum complex around 297 AD for Diocletian, not Pompey. During the final assault on the so-called pagan intellectuals of Alexandria in about 391 AD, the Christianes destroyed the Serapeum and library, leaving only the pillar.

The Catacombs of Kom El Shuqqafa, the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt, were discovered accidentally 1900 when a donkey cart fell through a part of the roof. They consist of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the rock to a depth of about 35 meters. Constructed in 2nd century AD, probably as a family crypt, they were later expanded to hold more than 300 corpses. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funeral feast. The eerie nature of the catacombs is accentuated by the weird blend of Egyptian and Roman features in the sculptures and reliefs. The catacombs have been excavated but the bottom level is usually flooded and inaccessible.

Also known as the Great Library or simply, the Library of Alexandria, was once the largest library in the world. It is generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the Third century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. The Library was likely created after his father had built what would become the first part of the Library complex, the temple of the Muses – the Mouseion. The Greek Μουσείον was the home of music and poetry, a philosophical school and library such as Plato’s school of philosophy, also a gallery of sacred texts. The Latin word museum is derived from this.  Return to Cairo after the tour.

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Day 12

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.