Egypt: Queens & Nobles
We beckon you to Luxor, on the West Bank of the Nile, also known as ancient Thebes. Here, 12 days of richly decorated tombs and awe-inspiring temples are waiting for you to discover. The colours and clarity inside these opulent burial sites of Egyptian noblemen and their wives are guaranteed to take your breath away - still so startlingly vivid, centuries after they were first daubed.
We start from Cairo and journey to Saqqara, where we pause in wonder at the Serapeum and its sacred bull catacombs. We enjoy the rare luxury of viewing the tombs at Abu Ghurab sun temple in splendid isolation. We continue to one of the richest archaeological sites in Egypt, Elephantine Island. Here we go back to the beginnings of Pharaonic history, with an introduction to the temples of the ram-headed god Khnum, and his consort Satet. We sail away to world-renowned destinations along the Nile and Lake Nasser. We explore the ‘jewels of the desert cliffs’, the Tombs of the Nobles.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful tombs in Egypt is that of Nefertari, favourite wife of Ramesses II. The queen is depicted alongside deities and clothed in white, worshipping Osiris and offering milk to Hathor.
- Visit the tombs at Saqqara, the final resting place of many Nobles
- We take a boat trip around Lake Nasser and visit New Kalabsha Island.
- Venture through the Karnak Temple, visiting areas that are not normally explored
- Travel to Elephantine Island, one of the richest archaeological sites in Egypt
- Ancient Egyptians
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We fly to Cairo and transfer to our hotel.
We start our expedition by exploring several grandiose tombs at Saqqara. This is the final resting place of many nobles, such as Maya, who was Tutankhamun’s treasurer (among his other titles was fan bearer on the King's right hand!) We also tour a number of other tombs including that of Tutankhamun’s wet nurse, Maia, and the 19th dynasty tomb of Tia, who was the sister of Rameses II. We view the Serapeum, with its sacred bull catacombs.
Today we are privileged to enjoy special access to the 4th dynasty pyramid at Abu Roash, which has been quarried since Roman times. We discover the 5th dynasty pyramids at Abusir, as well as the unique sun temple at Abu Ghurab, which is rare in that it was solely intended to honour the God Ra. We enter the associated tombs or burials in splendid isolation.
We fly to Aswan, at the southern border of ancient Egypt.
It may be a steep climb, but, at the top, the Old and New Kingdom tombs of the nobles are spread before us at Kitchener’s Island. This is the home of the famous Aswan Botanical Garden, boasting vast collections of rare sub-tropical species, which was founded by Lord Kitchener. We continue to one of the richest archaeological sites in Egypt, Elephantine Island. Here we travel back to the very beginnings of Pharaonic history, taking in temples to the ram-headed god Khnum, and his consort, Satet.
Continuing our immersion in Aswan’s granite cataract region, we move on to Sehel Island where we marvel at rock-cut inscriptions including the famous ‘Famine Stela’ inscription, written in hieroglyphs. Next, in contrast to Pharaonic archaeology, we traverse the desert to the 7th century St. Simeon’s monastery, one of Egypt's best-preserved Coptic monasteries.
Our second boat trip of this tour takes us not on the Nile, but to Lake Nasser, for New Kalabsha Island. Several of the temples here have been moved and re-erected to save them from being lost forever under the lake.
Today is a real thrill for Egyptophiles - we explore the important and most unusual tomb of Ankhtify at Mo’alla, from the first intermediate period, which tells the story of how ancient citizens were ravaged by famine. Evidence of ancient quarrying and a host of small rock-cut shrines are revealed to us at the sandstone quarries of Gebel el-Silsila.
Another chance for us to escape the crowds arises at Karnak Temple, where we are guided round areas that are quite 'off the beaten track'. Next, we view the Mosque of Abu el-Haggag, built on top of Luxor Temple using Pharaonic blocks, now visible as a result of a fire in the mosque.
Prepare for a breath-taking experience: we are granted special access to Nefertari’s Tomb, in the Valley of the Queens. The colours on the walls remain as vivid and arresting as the day they were painted. We progress to the Valley of the Kings, where we discover Howard Carter’s House. This was, of course, his base when he excavated Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Today is reserved for 'the jewels of the desert cliffs' - again, the clarity of hue and detail is nothing short of remarkable here at the Tombs of the Nobles. We continue on to the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Ba.
We transfer to the airports for flights home to London.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
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