NEFERTARI & NEFERTITI   And Women of Ancient Egypt
Day 1 – Friday 8th April 2016
Fly London to Cairo with EgyptAir and on arrival we check in to the first-class Movenpick Hotel at Giza for two nights on room and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Giza
Our first day begins with the short ride to the Giza plateau to explore the Great Pyramids of the kings and the complex of temples and tombs round them, before heading to the mighty Sphinx and Valley Temple. In the afternoon we will take a grand tour of the Cairo Museum looking at some of the artefacts relating to our forthcoming tour. This evening Bill will present a talk about pyramids and what they meant to the people who built them. (B)
Day 3 – To Middle Egypt
Today we head south for Minya and the fabled city of Amarna. En route we will stop at Meidum to consider the meaning of its unusual pyramid, as well as the fascinating 'Mastaba 17', either of which can be entered by the more adventurous. Our journey continues to the lovely Middle Kingdom tombs of Beni Hassan with their striking paintings and wonderful views over the Nile Valley. On arrival in Minya we check in to the medium-class Nefertiti Hotel for two nights on a full board basis. Tonight Bill will talk about the celebrated 'Hymn To the Aten', and the stelae which mark the boundary of Amarna. (BLD)
Day 4 – Nefertiti at Amarna
We head off to Tell el Amarna for an in-depth tour of the fascinating remains of an ancient city. We will travel along the Royal Wadi to the tomb of Akhenaten, where we find extraordinary scenes of triumph and tragedy, including Nefertiti and the royal princesses in mourning. We will also enter the Southern Tombs including the unfinished tomb of Ay with the 'Hymn To the Aten'. Then we head into the city where we will explore the central area and the Royal Archive, and explore the Sanctuary of Aten. We also look at the Northern Palace, residence of the queens and princesses, and the Northern Tombs cut high into the surrounding cliffs beyond. We return to Minya for our second night. Later this evening Bill will chat about the hugely important letters found in the Royal Archive at Amarna. (BLD)
Day 5 – Meir
Our day starts at Tuna el Gebel, where we find the lovely Tomb Chapel of Petosiris with its exciting and unusual decoration. There is also time to visit the resting place of one of the more unfortunate women of Ancient Egypt, Isadora. We visit the well preserved Roman Well visit and learn about one of the famous boundary stelae of Amarna. We also enter the wonderful baboon and ibis catacombs dedicated to Thoth, god of all understanding. Driving further south, we come to the fabulous tombs at Meir. Everything about these tombs of once mighty governors is special, from the style of art and the unusual scenes depicted, to their spectacular location in the cliffs above the Nile Valley. Our final stop of the day will be at the White Monastery originally founded in 442 AD where we can discuss its magnificent library of unique Christian manuscripts. We continue our journey to Sohag, and on arrival check in for one night on board the M/S Hotep, a floating hotel moored on the banks of the Nile. (BLD)
Day 6 – The Wonders of Abydos
We start our day with the short journey to Akhmim, ancient Ipu, and the magnificent statue of a queen, Meritamun, which stands to a height of 35 feet. Then we head south to Abydos to explore one of the glories of ancient Egypt, the Temple of Seti I. The raised relief in this temple is among the finest quality work anywhere in Egypt and many vibrant colours remain. We also discuss the famous 'King List' and study the mysterious Osireion. Then we head out across the desert sands to view the Temple of Ramesses II with its striking Kadesh battle reliefs. After our picnic lunch we drive to Dendera and the Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor. We see the newly cleaned and restored walls and ceilings. This lovely temple features the only depiction of Cleopatra VII with her son Caesearion to be found in Egypt. We continue to Luxor and on arrival check in to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for five nights on a room and breakfast basis. (BL)
Day 7 – The West Bank I
We take our private launch across the river to join our vehicle and we head straight to the Valley of the Kings. Here we enter three tombs. Next, to Deir el Medina, where we will explore the 'jewel box' tombs alongside the village of the workmen who built the tombs of the mighty pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. We also enter the Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor which was later converted to the Church of St Isidore the Martyr, and take a look at the New Kingdom shrines and the 'Great Pit'. We have a relaxing lunch at the Moon Valley restaurant before continuing to Hatshepsut's magnificent temple at Deir el Bahri, which we will explore at length and discuss the significance of the temple. We move on to the Tombs of the Nobles where we can discuss the magnificent decorative scenes in the tombs of Ramose, Userhat and Khaemhat.  Our final stop of the day is the Colossi of Memnon, taking special note of Tiye and Mutemwia. In  a talk this evening Bill will introduce you to some well known villagers on the West Bank through 2,000 years, from Pharaonic until Christian times. (BL)
Day 8 – Karnak
This morning we head to Karnak, the world's largest religious complex. We have an in depth tour of the site including the main elements but also more hidden gems, including the newly restored Khonsu Temple.  We include tickets to the Open-Air museum to see the magnificent White Chapel, the Alabaster Chapel and of course the reconstructed Red and White Chapels of Hatshepsut. Next we visit the newly opened Temple of Mut, consort of Amun, where there are many interesting remains to see, including a crescent shaped sacred lake and a temple of Ramesses III. We return to the hotel for some free time over lunch before taking a walk to Luxor Temple. We will enter the Mosque of Abu Haggag to see the column capitals erected by Ramesses II, now conserved and on view for all to see. Also a chance to look down in to the temple itself from the courtyard of the Mosque. Then we enter Luxor Temple for a guided tour with free time for photography before returning to the hotel. This evening Bill will talk about tomb-robbery, and dramatic events which took place over 3,000 years ago in the sites we are going to visit tomorrow. (B)
Day 9 – Nefertari
After breakfast we cross the river once again and this time we head to the impressive Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu, where we see a royal palace along with a temple and colourful scenes of royal festivals as well as battles. A short distance away we find the village of Jeme, which lasted for 2,000 years inside the temple precinct. Nearby the small Ptolemaic temple of Qasr el Aguz is rarely visited but has some fascinating reliefs, and has undergone recent restoration. We move on to the Ramesseum, Mortuary Temple of Ramesses the Great, and inspiration for Shelley's sonnet 'Ozymandias'. We have lunch at the Moon Valley Restaurant before we set out for the Valley of The Queens and the stunning highlight of the trip. We have a special permit to enter the Tomb of Nefertari, perhaps the most famous of all Egyptian Queens, principal wife of Ramesses II and often seen with the Pharaoh in artwork and sculpture. This tomb is spectacular and it is a rare and extraordinary privilege to enter it. We also have time to enter the other open tombs in the Valley of Queens and Princes before returning to our hotel. (BL)
Day 10 – Optional Edfu
Today could be your day to relax by the pool or head to the souk for some shopping. Alternatively join us on an optional excursion by road to the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus at Edfu, Egypt's most complete temple. We will also visit the fascinating site of el Kab with several historically important tombs, where we can discover the famous marine Ahmose at his tomb, as well as a Ptolemaic Temple and rock inscriptions at 'Vulture Rock'. For those on the optional excursion, a packed lunch is included. (B)
Day 11 – Monday 18th April
Fly Luxor to London with Egypt Air arriving later the same day. (B)
Expert: Bill Manley
Dr Bill Manley is an Egyptologist, university lecturer, museum curator and best-selling author. His books, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, include standard textbooks for adult learners and universities, including his upcoming book on Ancient Egyptian art. Bill wrote his doctoral thesis on royal inscriptions from the dynasty of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Since then he has worked with archaeological projects in Egypt and Palestine, while his specialist output includes museum exhibitions and scholarly articles on Egyptian and Coptic texts, the history of Egyptology, and the world’s most ancient philosophy.

(B) = Breakfast (BL) = Breakfast and Lunch (BLD) = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner



DEPARTURE DATE  Friday 8th April 2016





LAND ONLY DISCOUNT: £440 (If you arrange your own flights)

Optional excursion Edfu and el Kab: £85


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