ANCIENT LIVES

Day 1 – Monday 11th November  2013 
Fly London to Luxor with EgyptAir and on arrival we take our private transfer and check in to the first-class Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for three nights on a room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 – Heaven on Earth
We start our journey with a morning visit to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. Karnak is the largest religious edifice in the world, so we have plenty of time to explore – and learn about the beliefs that inspired it. We take time to visit sites associated with the mighty king Thuthmosis III, which explain the layout of the various temples here. Our vehicle will return to the hotel late morning but you may choose to explore Karnak further and return later. We meet up this evening when Bill will talk to the group about ancient Thebes and tomb robbery. He also introduces the first of our ancient voices – Thutmose, a scribe from Deir el Medina, who was drafted into a war in Nubia. (B)

Day 3 – Ancient Lives and Deaths
We cross the Nile to the West Bank, stopping at the legendary Colossi of Memnon, before discovering the oldest royal site in Thebes – the 11th Dynasty tombs at Tarif. We explore the fascinating temple for king Seti I, before travelling on to the heart of Ancient Egypt – the Valley of the Kings. Here we enter three of the royal tombs open on the day. We lunch at the Africa Restaurant before we enter some of the tombs of the pharaohs’ courtiers including that of the vizier Ramose. Next, to the awe-inspiring temple at Medinet Habu to experience scenes from the life and death of Ramesses III. This evening Bill talks to the group about the names of kings as they appear at Sehel and Abydos, and about the assassination of Ramesses III. (BL)

Day 4 – Thutmose’s Road to Nubia
Today we head to Aswan and follow the scribe Thutmose as he headed to war 3,100 years ago. At Edfu, the Temple of Horus is a theatre for the mythical war between Horus and Seth, episodes from which are carved in detail onto the walls. We have a picnic lunch today provided by The Old Winter Palace. Then, like Thutmose, we reach the isle of Elephantine where we check in to the comforts of the Movenpick Hotel for two nights on room and breakfast basis. Later we explore ancient Elephantine, including the Temple of Khnum, and the sanctuary of Heqaib, a man worshipped after his death as a god. This evening Bill introduces two distant voices – Harkhuf and Pepynakht, both of whom governed this region nearly 4,500 years ago. Indeed, Pepynakht is the man later worshipped on Elephantine as Heqaib. (BL)

Day 5 – The Limits of Egypt
A boat ride takes us to Kubbet el Hawa, where we visit the tombs of Harkhuf and Pepynakht, and see their life-stories inscribed into the walls. Next, our boat takes us to the island of Sehel. Here, carved into fierce granite outcrops we see the names of kings who stopped here on the way to war. After a rest at our hotel over lunchtime we head to the breathtakingly beautiful island-temple of Isis at Philae, salvaged from the rising waters of the Nile in the 1970s. Philae’s walls are rich with voices from the last 2,000 years so we have time to see some of the most interesting inscriptions – in Egyptian, English and French! This evening, we discover the shared history of Egypt and Nubia at the Nubia Museum. (B)

Day 6 – Ptolemies and Caesars
Today we experience the era when Egypt’s pharaohs were the successors of Alexander the Great or the Roman emperors. Our first stop is the picturesque Temple of Horus and Sobek sitting high above the Nile at Kom Ombo. The decoration here is especially associated with the renowned Ptolemies and Cleopatras. To the temple of Khnum at Esna where conservation work is revealing quite beautiful decoration associated with the Caesars of Rome. We have a picnic lunch and on arrival in Luxor we return to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for a further four nights on room and breakfast basis. This evening Bill introduces the group to the proud testament of the marine, Ahmose, son of Ibana, whose career spanned periods of civil war and great military endeavour for Egypt. (BL)

Day 7 – First Kings and Last
Today we board four-wheel drive vehicles and head north to the most ancient historic site in Egypt – Abydos. First, we explore the temples of Seti I and his successor, Ramesses II and the intriguing monument dedicated simply to creation – the Osireion. Next we cross the desert to the 5,000 year old tombs of the earliest pharaohs including Den and Djer and Um el Qaab. We visit the great funerary enclosure of Shunet el Zebib, and Kom el Sultan. After a picnic lunch prepared by our driving team we journey to the temple of Hathor at Dendera, where sculpted walls immortalize the romance between Cleopatra VII, the last native-born pharaoh, and Julius Caesar. This evening Bill introduces a 4,000 year old voice of wisdom – Ankhtify, the ancient governor of Esna, who teaches us about fortitude, fortune and faith in a time of war with the rulers of Thebes. (BL)

Day 8 – Tales of Blood
Back in our four-wheel drives we head to Mo’alla, to visit Ankhtify’s magnificent tomb-group, where Bill previously worked with an Anglo-Egyptian archaeological survey. Ankhtify’s account of his life is carved on seven columns around his grave. From here to el Kab to view the tomb and testament of Ahmose, son of Ibana, and other vividly illustrated tombs of his contemporaries. Lunch is a picnic at Vulture Rock, named for the ancient goddess of this area. Afterwards we explore the remains of the once great home-town of Ahmose, with its fortified walls. On our way back to Luxor, we stop at an overlooked jewel of this area, the historic remains at el Tod. This evening Bill introduces the group to a priest, Iufnamun, who hid the mortal remains of Egypt’s greatest kings when the Valley of the Kings was finally closed, 3 millennia ago. Ironically, Iufnamun’s own mummy is now in Scotland. We also learn a little Coptic, and hear the words of the Christian priests who lived at Medinet Habu and Deir el Medina over 1,300 years ago. (BL)

Day 9 – Temples and Churches
Our second visit to the West Bank and we experience the deserted streets of the village at Deir el Medina and the lovely painted tombs of its ancient inhabitants. This is where the scribe Thutmose once lived, among the workmen who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Nearby is the Temple of Hathor that later became a church where we see the epitaphs of the Christian priests. Next, to the Ramesseum, to read a poem from Deir el Medina written to celebrate the pharaoh’s majesty. After lunch at the Africa Restaurant we head to the inimitable terraces of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri. To conclude our stay in this ancient land, we walk up to Iufnamun’s secret tomb for the pharaohs known as the Royal Cache and take in the view of ancient Thebes from the slopes above the tomb of king Montjuhotep II. (BL)

Day 10 – Wednesday 20th November 2013
After breakfast we board our EgyptAir flight bound for Cairo with the connection to London arriving in the UK early afternoon. (B)

Expert: Bill Manley has written several best-selling books on Ancient Egypt including newly published ‘Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners’. He was formerly Senior Curator for Ancient Egypt at National Museums Scotland and has worked as an archaeologist in Egypt. He has a particular research interest in ancient poetry about the king, and about death and recovery.
 

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

 

ANCIENT LIVES

DEPARTURE DATE  Saturday 11th November 2013 

TOUR CODE AWAL111113

 

BASIC HOLIDAY PRICE: £2,745

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £205

LAND ONLY DISCOUNT: £530  (If you arrange your own flights)

 

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