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Days 1-2: Cairo, Egypt
Fly to Cairo, the heart of Egyptian contemporary culture and the gateway to the land’s ancient wonders. On arrival, transfer to your luxurious hotel.
Day 3: Cairo
Travel to the Giza Plateau, site of the pyramids of Mycerinus, Chefren and the Great Pyramid of Cheops — the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Here, the Great Sphinx — measuring 190 feet in length and 65 feet high — still stands as centurion over these magnificent royal tombs. This monumental landmark was carved out of a single piece of rock in the shape of a lion with a pharaoh’s head. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum to view the 142-foot-long funerary boat of Cheops, hailed as the single most important archaeological find in Egypt since the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Day 4: Cairo
Walk among ancient treasures with your local expert on a private tour of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities before it opens to the public. Admire the world’s greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including the golden treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Mummy Room, where many of Egypt’s former rulers lie in state, preserved for the ages. Continue to the ancient capital of Memphis and the world-famous Step Pyramid of Zoser, the oldest known Egyptian pyramid.
Day 5: Cairo/Abu Simbel/Aswan
View one of Egypt’s most recognized landmarks today, the temples of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari. Remarkably, the complex was moved to a higher elevation when floodwaters from Lake Nasser and the Aswan High Dam project threatened the temples’ preservation. Board your Nile cruise and, later, sail around the Aswan islands in a felucca (a traditional sailboat) if conditions permit.
Day 6: Aswan
Visit the Aswan High Dam, a contemporary counterpart to Egypt’s monumental constructions of the past. Then, proceed to the granite quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples, and see the famed Unfinished Obelisk. Enjoy a short motor boat ride to the romantic, majestic Temple of Philae on the island of Agilika. Ancient Nubia was known to the pharaohs as the “Land of Gold,” and its wealth and lands were eventually incorporated into Egypt around 1500 BC. Explore the remnants of Nubian culture with a visit to the Nubian Museum, which is filled with monumental pieces reflecting the development of the Nubian culture and civilization. Later, journey to the Aswan Spice Market to sharpen your bargaining skills or simply take in the colorful scene. Your chef accompanies you to choose ingredients to prepare a special recipe.
Day 7: Aswan/Kom Ombo/ Edfu/Esna
Sail to Kom Ombo for a visit to the site of the lovely Greco-Roman temple, dedicated to Haroeris (the sun god) and Sobek (the crocodile god). The temple, built in the third century BC, stands at a bend in the Nile where, in ancient times, sacred crocodile basked in the sun on the riverbank. From here, return to your luxury yacht and sail for Edfu. Attend an Egyptian cooking lesson on board. Early this evening, visit the beautifully preserved Temple of Horus in Edfu.
Day 8: Esna/Luxor
Take a short walk through Esna’s bustling streets to visit the Temple of Khnum, famous for its beautifully preserved Hypostyle Hall, built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius. The early afternoon is at leisure to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from your Nile cruise as you cruise toward Luxor. Later this afternoon, discover the complex Temple of Karnak, built by generations of pharaohs over a thousand-year period. Among this site’s stunning highlights is the Great Hypostyle Hall, a forest of stone columns covering more than 50,000 square feet.
Day 9: Luxor
Today, visit the Valley of the Kings, where magnificent tombs were carved into the desert rocks and filled with treasures for the afterlife by generations of pharaohs. The highlight of your trip is an exclusive visit to the breathtaking tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, closed to the public. This is an elaborately decorated tomb with vivid colors and spectacular scenes covering the walls. Nefertari was the favorite queen of Ramses II and one of the most beautiful women in ancient Egypt. Continue to the Temple of Hatshepsut, Ancient Egypt’s first female pharaoh. This afternoon, embark on a tour of the Luxor Museum, where you view a priceless collection of artifacts. One of the main attractions in this museum is a hall displaying 26 well-preserved statues that were discovered in a cache under the open-air court of the Luxor Temple.
Day 10: Luxor/Abydos/Denderah
Cruise northward to Nagaa Hammadi on a scenic route away from the crowds and other cruise ships. Along the way, your Egyptologist shares numerous insights about life in modern Egypt. Visit Abydos, the center of a holy city dedicated to Osiris, Lord of the Netherworld. The construction of its uniquely designed temple was started by Seti I and finished by his son, Ramses II. It contains seven sanctuaries dedicated to seven various deities. The temple is most notable for its ancient chronological list of the kings of Egypt from the first dynasty until Seti I.
Day 11: Denderah/Luxor
Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Ptolemaic temple of the goddess Hathor at Denderah. Well-preserved, this temple complex has a massive stone roof, dark chambers, underground passages and towering columns inscribed with hieroglyphics. Within the walls of this ancient complex, view the Zodiac, considered to be the basis on which later astronomy systems were founded. Explore traces of the Pharaonic temple built underneath the existing temple, the best preserved Roman Mammisi or Birth House, the Sacred Bark Shrine, the unique relief depicting Cleopatra VII with her son Caesarian and much more. In Luxor, view the graceful Temple of Luxor, dedicated to the god Amun and built by Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun, Horemhab and Ramses II during their respective reigns. On the walls of the sanctuary of this temple, there are unique reliefs depicting Alexander the Great that were later added during his reign.
Day 12: Luxor/Cairo
Return to the Egyptian capital for a tour of Coptic and Old Cairo. Explore the remains of the fortress of Babylon, first built by the Persians around the sixth century BC; the Church of St. Sergius, where the holy family is reported to have stayed; and the Hanging Church, which was the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate for centuries. Finish your sightseeing at Egypt’s oldest synagogue, Ben Ezra. Inside this temple, the Cairo Geniza documents were found, a treasure hailed as an unparalleled source of information about the life of the Jews in Egypt’s past.
Day 13: Cairo
After a morning at leisure, visit the Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan. Later, a walking tour of Islamic Cairo takes you from one of the remaining gates of the city to Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, where life has hardly changed for centuries. At the conclusion of your sightseeing, return to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a special farewell dinner. This event provides a perfect opportunity to toast your journey and share experiences.
Day 14: Cairo
Board your international departure flight.