RAMESSES THE GREAT
RAMESSES THE GREAT
The Temple of Abu Simbel
"The coming back thus, after an excursion in the felucca, is one of the many pleasant things that one has to remember of the Nile. The sun has set; the afterglow has faded; the stars are coming out. Leaning back with a satisfied sense of something seen or done, one listens to the old dreamy chant of the rowers, and to the ripple under the keel. … We are at home once more. Let us eat, drink, rest, and be merry; for tomorrow the hard work of sight-seeing and sketching begins again."
Amelia Edwards, from 'A Thousand Miles up the Nile'
This 3-week Study Tour of Egypt has an emphasis on the reign of Ramesses the Great and monarchs of the 19th and 20th Dynasties. We arrive in Cairo and head by bus to Saqqara where we explore the majestic Step Pyramid, the mastaba tombs of the Sixth Dynasty officials and the magnificent colossus of Ramesses at Memphis. The following day we tour Giza where we see the pyramids of the Fourth Dynasty.
We visit the beautiful city of Alexandria which is located on the Mediterranean coast. We see the new Library of Alexandria, the om es-Shuqqafa necropolis and Fort Qaitbey which is located on the ruins of the old Lighthouse of Alexandria. We then spend a day exploring the treasures of the Cairo Museum with an emphasis on the New Kingdom period.
We fly to Luxor where we spend a week exploring the local antiquities. We see the impressive ruins of the temple of Luxor and visit the Luxor Museum. An early morning walk across the Theban Hills gives us a panoramic view over the Nile Valley as we make our way to the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. In the Valley of the Kings we explore three royal tombs from the Ramesside Period. There is then a free day to rest and relax or explore Luxor.
A day trip from Luxor takes us to Abydos where we see the finely carved and painted temples of King Sety I and Ramesses II. We visit the magnificent painted Tombs of the Nobles, see the romantic ruins of the Ramesseum, explore Karnak Temple and see the remarkable remains of the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu.
We drive to Aswan stopping en route to see the well preserved Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo. In Aswan we take a felucca ride on the Nile, visit the beautiful Temple of Philae, the Granite Quarries of Aswan and see the artefacts in the Nubia Museum.
The highlight of the trip is the cruise on Lake Nasser. This 4-night cruise takes us from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Along the way we stop to see the temple of Ramesses II at Beit el-Wali and the Roman shrine of Mandulis at Kalabsha. We also stop to visit the beautiful temples of Wadi es-Sebua, Dakka, Derr, and Amada. Our cruise comes to an end at the foot of the rock-cut temples of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel after which we fly back to Cairo. The tour ends with a day exploring the mediaeval city of Cairo.
Felucca at Aswan
Day 1: Departure from Australia.
Our flight on Emirates Airlines leaves Australia with a short stop over (usually 1-2 hours) in Dubai. We arrive into Cairo in the evening of the same day.
Day 2: Saqqara Step Pyramid - Memphis
In the morning we drive to Saqqara where we see the remarkable Third Dynasty Step Pyramid of Djoser. We then explore the well preserved Old Kingdom mastaba tombs of Mereruka and Kagemni. We see the Pyramid of King Tety and descend into the burial chamber to see the famous Pyramid Texts. In the afternoon we visit the ruins of Memphis where we see the colossal statue of Ramesses the Great in the local museum. Overnight Cairo.
Day 3: Giza pyramids
In the morning we take a short drive to Giza where we see the Pyramids. We have a close-up view of the remarkable cedar boat of Khufu and then visit the pyramid of Khafre. Lunch is spent at a restaurant in Giza. Afterwards we explore Khafre’s impressive Valley Temple and see the Sphinx. Overnight Cairo.
The Pyramids at Giza
The statue of Ramesses at Saqqara
Day 4: Alexandria
In the morning we travel north by bus to Alexandria. We see the Library of Alexandria, a wonder of 21st Century architecture - this houses a fascinating collection of artefacts from the site. The afternoon is spent exploring the remarkable remains of the Kom es-Shuqqafa Necropolis which was built in the Roman Period. The tombs are grouped around a central rotunda and are famous for their relief sculpture which includes the funerary god Anubis dressed as a Roman Centurion. We also visit the evocative Fort Qaitbey, built on the ruins of the famous lighthouse of Alexandria. Overnight Alexandria.
Day 5: The Cairo Museum
In the morning we return to Cairo where we visit the Cairo Museum concentrating on the New Kingdom remains. We see the statues and reliefs of the 18th Dynasty and Ramesside Period including the treasures of Tutankhamun. In the afternoon there is free time for exploring other parts of the museum's collection. In the evening we fly to Luxor. Overnight Luxor.
Day 6: Luxor Temple - Luxor Museum
In the morning we visit Luxor Temple, located in the heart of the modern city. We take our time to explore this picturesque monument concentrating on the remains of the Ramesside Period. There is some free time in the afternoon to rest and relax, or explore the markets of Luxor. In the evening we visit Luxor Museum with its famous collection of New Kingdom sculpture. Overnight Luxor.
The Ramesseum, Luxor
The Temple of Sety I, Abydos
Day 7: Walk the Theban Hills - Deir el-Bahri - Valley of the Kings
In the morning we walk across the Theban Hills for a spectacular view over the Nile Valley. Our walk takes us to the famous mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty, including the newly reconstructed Third Terrace. We have lunch in a local cafe before travelling by bus to the Valley of the Kings. Here we see three of the royal tombs of the New Kingdom including the tomb of Merenptah (the Tomb of Tutankhamun is an optional extra). Overnight Luxor
Day 8: Deir el-Medina - Tombs of the Nobles - Ramesseum
In the morning we visit Deir el-Medina, the ancient village of the workmen. We explore the village and two superb painted tombs. We then see a number of the other painted tombs belonging to high officials of the New Kingdom in the so-called 'Valley of the Nobles'. This includes the tomb of Ramose, famous for its delicate carved relief. We have lunch in a nearby café. The afternoon is spent looking at the romantic ruins of the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses II, also known as the Ramesseum. Overnight Luxor.
Day 9: Free day in Luxor
This day is set aside for rest and relaxation. There are many activities: read a book, organise a balloon ride over the Theban Hills, ride a camel or donkey, take a felucca sail boat ride or shop at your own leisure in the markets. The Luxor area offers a remarkable concentration of monuments which you can choose to explore at your own pace and it is easy to arrange transport. The possibilities are endless! Overnight Luxor.
Day 10: Day excursion by bus to Abydos and Dendera
In the morning we head north from Luxor by bus to see the mortuary temples of Sety I and Ramesses II at Abydos. These superb painted temples contain beautiful wall reliefs and the famous king list which are a highlight of the program. We also have a chance to walk across the desert to the Osireon, mythological tomb of Osiris, and explore the small Temple of Ramesses II. After a picnic lunch we head back to Luxor, stopping en route to see the impressive Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor at Dendera and wander around the ruins. Overnight Luxor.
Luxor Temple at night
Medinet Habu, Luxor
Day 11: Karnak Temple
The day is set aside to explore the ruins of the vast Temple of Karnak. We spend the morning looking at the forecourt and Hypostyle Hall, before wandering around the impressive shrine. We break for lunch in a nearby café. In the afternoon we see the festival hall of Tuthmosis III, the Temple of Ptah and the little-visited Ramesside Temple of the Moon God Khonsu. Overnight Luxor.
Day 12: Medinet Habu - Valley of the Queens - afternoon at leisure
The day begins with a visit to the temple of Medinet Habu, mortuary temple of Ramesses III. This building is famous for its superb war reliefs and coloured scenes of religious processions. We then visit the Valley of the Queens where we see three royal tombs. We have lunch at a local café – the afternoon is free for rest, relaxation or exploration of Luxor's many attractions. Overnight Luxor.
Day 13: Bus to Aswan via Edfu and Kom Ombo
We take an early morning bus ride south of Luxor to Aswan. En route we make two stops – the first is to see the superb Ptolemaic temple of Horus at Edfu which is so well preserved that you can imagine that the temple is still being used. From here we continue on to Kom Ombo, where the River Nile provides a dramatic back drop to the ruins. In Aswan we have a rest. Overnight Aswan.
Day 14: Granite Quarry - Aswan High Dam - Philae temple
In the morning we visit the fascinating granite quarries of Aswan and see the remarkable unfinished obelisk which is still embedded in the rock. From here we travel to see the Aswan High Dam, built in the 1960's and 70's to control the flooding of the Nile. In the afternoon we head by boat to visit the beautiful ruins of Philae, cult place of Isis, said by many to be Egypt's most beautiful temple. We have a picnic on the island and tour the temple. Overnight Aswan.
Day 15: Aswan Museum - free afternoon - Aswan markets
In the morning we visit the Aswan Museum – this has a wonderful collection of artefacts covering the long and rich history of Aswan. In the afternoon there is free time to have a rest. In the evening we explore the Aswan markets. Overnight Aswan.
Day 16: Aswan Tombs of the Nobles - felucca ride to Kitchener's Island
The morning is spent visiting the painted tombs of the Old Kingdom governors of Aswan. We reach the cemetery by felucca sailboat and climb the stairs to the tombs. The view across the Nile is magnificent and is even better from the Qubbet el-Hawa, the Dome of the Winds, on the summit of the hill. In the afternoon we take our boat to Kitchener's Island where we tour the beautiful botanical gardens of Aswan. We then have a late lunch at a restaurant on a small island in the Nile. There is free time in the afternoon to explore the markets of Aswan or go for a camel ride. We then join our Lake Nasser Cruise Boat.
Day 17: Lake Nasser Cruise - Kalabsha - Beit el Wali
In the morning we see the beautiful painted rock-cut temple of Ramesses II at Beit el-Wali, and also explore the impressive Roman Period temple of Kalabsha dedicated to the Nubian god Mandulis, re-erected with a view over Lake Nasser. The cruise boat sails in the afternoon. Overnight cruise boat.
The Temple of Philae near Aswan
The cruise on Lake Nasser
Day 18: Lake Nasser Cruise - Wadi es-Sebua, Dakka, Maharakka
In the morning we visit the picturesque temple of Wadi es-Sebua, constructed by Ramesses the Great. The temple is situated in a dramatic desert landscape and was moved when the Aswan Dam was built. We take a camel ride across a vast desert landscape to see the ruins of the Temple of Dakka (Ptolemaic Period) and the Roman shrine of Maharakka. The afternoon is spent cruising through a scenic landscape. Later we explore the romantic desert Temples of Amada (18th Dynasty) and Derr (Ramesses the Great). Overnight cruise boat.
Day 19: Lake Nasser Cruise - Abu Simbel
In the morning we travel to Qasr Ibrim Island which we view from the boat. In the afternoon we arrive in Abu Simbel, the remarkable Nubian temples of Ramesses II and his wife Nefertari which were carved into the native rock. These spectacular temples were moved during the building of the High Dam. We have plenty of time to wander around the temples – an optional 'Sound and Light Show' in the evening is highly recommended. Overnight cruise boat.
Day 20: Fly to Cairo - Islamic Cairo
In the morning we fly to Cairo. In the afternoon we tour the Old City of Cairo and see the awe inspiring buildings of the Islamic Period. A high-light is the monumental 19th Century Mosque of Mohamed Ali in the Citadel of Saladin and we also see the awe-inspiring 14th Century Mosque of Sultan Hassan. The day ends in the Khan el-Khalili markets with time set aside for shopping. Overnight Cairo.
Day 21: Depart Cairo early afternoon
The morning is at leisure to relax and finish packing. We depart Cairo International Airport in the evening on Emirates Airways for our flight to Australia with a stopover in Dubai.
Day 22: Arrive in Australia
We arrive into Sydney in the evening.
* Please note that the Company reserves the right to make alterations to the itinerary in the period up to 60 days prior to a tour departure. The itinerary may also be subject to minor re-arrangement due to the scheduling of the operators and availability of access. If this occurs, the Company will endeavour to provide a comparable alternative.