|DAY 1: Friday - Cairo, Aswan, Optional Abu Simbel
Morning flight to Aswan Egypt or you may add our OPTIONAL tour (Abu Simbel tour), situated 280km south of Aswan Egypt, exploring the magnificent ancient Egypt monuments carved into solid rock 3,000 years ago. In a monumental feat of modern engineering, these massive temples were moved to their present location when construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960 created Lake Nasser and flooded their original location. This extraordinary operation to save one of the world`s greatest treasures took years and the efforts of an international team of engineers and archaeologists. The two temples at Abu Simbel were built by Egypt`s great Pharaoh Ramses II (Egypt`s longest-ruling king) as a tribute to the deities and his favorite wife Nefertari. Four colossal statues, 60 feet high and directly facing the rising sun, are of the pharaoh himself, with his queen and daughters at his feet. More tremendous statues surround you as you enter the temple. And in the very depths of the temple, Ramses sits in state flanked by the gods to whom the construction is dedicated.
Fly back to Aswan Egypt, upon arrival you will be escorted to your luxury cruise ship where you will spend the next 3 nights / 4 days, lunch on board, proceed to visit the High Dam, located near Aswan, the world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam built by the British between 1898 and 1902`, 6km down river, wonderful views for visitors. From the top of the two Mile long Aswan High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nassar, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha temple in the south and the huge power station to the north
Continue to the Granite Quarries with the Unfinished Obelisk. Much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the world’s largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by its builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed. The site has recently been renovated and equipped with tourist facilities.
Our last visit today will be to the Temple of Philae, was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the Aswan High Dam. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It`s various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos I which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan`s Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. The Victorian world fell in love with the romance of the Temple. But at night you May choose our optional tour ($40 P.P) to visit the Sound and Light Show at Philae Temple, a magical experience. Overnight in Aswan Egypt. ( L, D )
|DAY 2: Saturday- Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Esna
After Breakfast, Sail on the Nile by felucca around Kitchener`s Island. Around 11 Am, sail to Kom Ombo, lunch on board, then visit Kom Ombo Temple (the Ptolemaic Temple of Sobek & Haroeries). Located in the town of Kom-Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan Egypt, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.
Afternoon tea, sail to Edfu & Visit Edfu Temple. Dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god, it was built during the reigns of six Ptolemies. We have a great deal of information about its construction from reliefs on outer areas. It was begun in 237 BC by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and was finished in 57 BC. Most of the work continued throughout this period with a brief interlude of 20 years while there was unrest during the period of Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V Epiphanes. This is not only the best preserved ancient temple in Egypt, but the second largest after Karnak. It was believed that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth. Hence, the current temple was but the last in a long series of temples build on this location. Evening, Sail to Esna, dinner on board, Egyptian Galabeya Party and overnight in Esna. ( B, L, D )
|DAY 3: Sunday - Esna, Luxor East Bank
After breakfast, sail to Luxor Egypt, lunch on board, visit the East bank of Luxor, visit Karnak Temple. In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometers north of Luxor, Egypt situated on 100 ha (247 acres) of land. Karnak is actually the sites modern name. Its ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning "The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places". This vast complex was built and enlarged over a thirteen hundred year period. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls.
Continue to visit the Temple of Luxor, built by the two pharaohs, Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Ancient Thebes was a center of festivals, and the Temple of Luxor was the setting for the most important-the festival of Opet, designed to merge the ruler`s human and divine aspects. The temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra, whose marriage to Mut was celebrated annually, when the sacred procession moved by boat from Karnak to Luxor Temple. Afternoon tea, Dinner on Cruise ship board, Belly Dance Show, Overnight in Luxor Egypt. ( B, L, D )
|DAY 4: Monday - Luxor West Bank, Departure
Breakfast on board, Disembarkation at 08:00 am. Disembarkation at 08:00 am Visit the West Bank necropolis including the Valley of the Kings, with its many tombs chiseled deep into the Cliffside. From the 18th to the 20th Dynasty, the Memphis area and pyramid-style tombs were abandoned in favor of the West Bank of the Nile in Thebes. Several great leaders as well as many less important rulers are buried here, and more tombs are being discovered even today. This is where Howard Carter discovered the treasures of Tutankhamen and was struck "dumb with amazement" when he beheld its "wonderful things" in 1922.
Proceed to the funerary temple of Queen Hatshipsut at Deir El Bahari. The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The queen`s architect, Senenmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the "Lover of Silence," where lived the goddess who presided over the necropolis.
Last stop for our tour will be at the Colossi of Memnon. Amenhotep III (18th Dynasty) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 23 meter (75 ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive. Transfer to Luxor airport for your departure flight. ( B )
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