Our first day of this excursion will center on the Giza Plateau, home to the Giza necropolis - a site now synonymous with ancient Egypt. Visitors will no doubt be awed by the enormity of these ancient structures, still majestic centuries after their construction. Spend time absorbing the amazing panaramic view of all 9 pyramids on the plateau. Tickets to explore the inside of the Great Pyramid are not included in the tour, but are available. Visitors may also purchase a ticket to experience a solar boat for an additional fee.
After lunch, our tour will prepare to face the Great Sphinx - the Terrifying One - who guards over the tombs of Giza. We will also enter the mummification room and learn how the ancient Egyptians prepared themselves for themselves for the afterlife.
Visitors will have time to browse through governmental stores and local shops before check-in at the luxurious Mena House. Beyond the Pyramids guests will experience the highest level of comfort and service during their stay at the Mena House hotel. The hotel, situated in the shadow of the Great Pyramid, sits on 40 acres of verdant gardens and is appointed with exquisite antiques, handcrafted furniture and original works of art.
In the evening, you may choose to purchase tickets to a one-of-a-kind sound and light show, set among the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx, that will transport you back to ancient Egypt while enthralling you with tales of Kings and Gods.
Cairo and Giza
Begin Day Two of our tour with an early breakfast, enjoyed against the backdrop of the Pyramids. Then, we leave Cairo on a short, 50-minute flight to Luxor.
Once in Luxor, we will journey to the Valley of the Kings, the major burial site for the royalty and nobility of ancient Egypt. Highlights of our travels will include the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, dedicated to the sun deity Amun and one of the most magnificent temples in all of Egypt. Then, the tour will turn its sights to the Colossi of Menmon, two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in Egypt during the Dynasty XVIII.
After lunch, we will journey to the Karnak Temple Complex. The area around Karnak was once a main place of worship, with the god Amun as its head, and the complex is comprised of a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. Included in our visit will be the Great Hypostyle Hall, built around the 19th Egyptian Dynasty, and the Obelisk of Tuthmosis II, sixth pharoah of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.
After the day's excursion, we will return to Cairo for another night at the Mena House.
VALLEY OF THE KINGS
Cairo to Luxor
Coptic Cairo, part of Old Cairo, was a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic Era. It is believed that the Holy Family visited this area. Visitors wil first take in The Hanging Church (Abu Serga Church), located above the gatehouse to the Babylon Fortress.
After the Hanging Church, we will explore the Synagogue of Ben Ezra, a temple that likely predates 882 CE and is pre-Islamic. The Ben Ezra was found to contain a treasure of abandoned Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic secular and sacred manuscripts. Next, the tour will journey to the Babylon Tower of the Roman Fortress, the entranceway to this ancient walled city. Here, ancient rivercraft would have paid tolls to ascend or descend along the Nile River.
Then, we will step inside history in the Egyptian Museum. Home to more than 120,000 artifacts, the museum is the most extensive collection of Egyptian art in the world today, including the treasures of King Tutankhamun. Time will be set aside for visitors to wander through the old market (Souk), Khan El Khalili bazaar in Cairo. Here, you can marvel at the myriad of sights, sounds and smells that Egypts merchants have to offer.
After lunch, the tour will visit the Citadel of Salah Edin, or Saladin Castle. This medieval fortress has a rich history of battles and sieges, turning hands numerous times. Finally, we will take in the Alabaster Mosque of Mohammad Ali, commissioned between 1830 and 1848. The mosque was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali's oldest son, who died in 1816.