FROM SAQQARA TO SUEZ  With Dr Aidan Dodson

A week in and around Cairo and the eastern Delta with Dr Aidan Dodson. This tour features entry to some rarely visited museums and sites. We also have special permits to enter the Twenty-sixth Dynasty tombs at ancient Heliopolis and South Saqqara.

Day 1 – Saturday  6th January 2018
We take our direct flight from Heathrow to Cairo and on arrival take our private transfer to our overnight hotel, Le Passage Heliopolis, to check in for one night on room and breakfast basis. This hotel is close to the both the airport and the road to the eastern Delta and the Suez Canal.

Day 2 – Bubastis
After breakfast we begin our journey east, stopping first at Tell Basta, ancient Bubastis, with the extensive ruins of the Twenty-second Dynasty temple of Bastet, with blocks bearing relief of the reigns of Osorkon I and II. We have a lunch box picnic during the day and late afternoon we check in to the Mercure Ismailia, Forsan Island, Hotel for one night. The hotel has a variety of restaurants and bars and is set on the banks of Lake Timsah (Crocodile Lake), now part of the Suez Canal. (BL)

Day 3 – Ismailia & Suez
We begin the day at Ismailia Archaeological Museum to look at finds from the local governorate (and some places further afield) and then continue south to the Suez National Museum. Here, at the southern end of the Suez Canal, we find not only a range of material from around Egypt, but also a stela dating from the time of the Persian king Darius I, referring to the building of the first Suez Canal, back in the 5th century BC. We will have lunch boxes with us, and in the afternoon we will drive back to Cairo. On arrival we check in to the luxury Mena House Hotel, located at the foot of the Great Pyramid at Giza. We check in for six nights on room and breakfast basis in Garden View rooms. Pyramid View rooms are available at a supplement. (BL)

Day 4 – Heliopolis & Giza
We begin the day on the eastern edge of Cairo, at Matariya, ancient Heliopolis, the centre of the sun-cult from the very earliest times. At the Open Air Museum we will visit the obelisk of Senwosret I and many other finds from the area, including the top of the oldest known obelisk, before a special private permit allows us to enter the Twenty-sixth Dynasty tombs of Panehsy and Ankhkhonsu. Returning to our hotel for a lunch break, the afternoon will be spent visiting some of the less-frequented corners of the Giza plateau. (B)

Day 5 – Tanis
An exciting day as we head to one of the Delta’s most impressive sites, San el-Hagar (Tanis), capital of Egypt during the Third Intermediate Period. We have plenty of time to explore this vast site, centring on the temple of Amun, built from blocks salvaged from the nearby city of Pirameses (Qantir), the residence-city of Rameses II. A particular highlight is the
royal necropolis, including the tombs of Psusennes I, Osorkon II and Shoshenq III. We have a lunch box picnic from the hotel today. (BL)

Day 6 – North Saqqara
Our full day at North Saqqara will begin at the lovely Imhotep Museum before heading to the recently reopened Pyramid of Unas. We will then range all over the site, visiting the Step Pyramid of Djoser, a selection of Old Kingdom mastaba tombs, the pyramid of Teti, a series of tombs of the New Kingdom, and the spectacular Serapeum, the vast catacomb of the Apis bulls. We will take lunch at the Sakkara Palm Club. (BL)

Day 7 – South Saqqara & Abusir
By special permit we will spend the day at the seldom-visited sites of South Saqqara and Abusir. Our four wheel drive vehicles will first take us to South Saqqara, with many monuments of the late Old Kingdom and late Middle Kingdom. In particular, we will visit the Mastabat Faraun, the mortuary complex of King Shepseskaf of the Fourth Dynasty and the pyramid of Pepy II, the last great Old Kingdom royal tomb. Lunch at the Sakkara Palm Club will be followed by a visit to the cemetery of Abusir, where we find the ruined Fifth Dynasty pyramids of Sahure, Niuserre, Neferirkare and Neferefre, together with many smaller sepulchres. At Sahure’s pyramid we can explore the mortuary temple and view the splendid red granite date palm columns. (BL)

Day 8 – The Museums of Cairo
This morning we head into the city, beginning with a tour of the Agricultural Museum, with material going back to the earliest time. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will spend the afternoon at the Egyptian Museum, taking particular interest in finds from sites we have visited over the past week. (BL)

Day 9 – Sunday 14th January 2018
After breakfast we take our private transfer to Cairo Airport for our direct flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)

Dr Aidan Dodson, of the University of Bristol, has been leading tours to Egypt for some three decades. He studied at Durham, Liverpool and Cambridge Universities, spending a semester as Simpson Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo. A former Chairman of the Egypt Exploration Society, he is the author of twenty books, most recently The Royal Tombs of Ancient Egypt (Pen & Sword, 2016).

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




DEPARTURE DATE  Saturday 6th January 2018





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