Day 1 – Friday 8th December 2017
We fly London to Cairo with EgyptAir. On arrival we check in to the luxury Mena House Hotel at Giza for three nights on room and breakfast basis. Rooms with views of the Giza pyramids are available at a supplement.

Day  2 – ‘The Risen Earth’ (Most Ancient Egypt)
Today we travel to Saqqara to view the wonderful scenes in the Old Kingdom mastabas of Mereruka, Ptahhotep and Kagemni. We also enter the tombs of the pharaohs Unas and Teti to see the astounding Pyramid Texts. Of course, we also visit the venerable Step Pyramid complex of Djoser, and the Imhotep Museum nearby. After lunch at the Sakkara Palm Club, we head to Abu Sir and explore the pyramids of kings Sahura, Niuserra and Neferirkara. (BL)

Day 3 – ‘A Perfect Joy to Look At’ (Treasures of Giza and Cairo)
Our day begins with a short trip across the Giza plateau to explore the sites of the Great Pyramids of the 4th Dynasty, including the Museum for one of king Khufu’s astonishing solar boats. Next we head to the Valley Temple of his son, king Khafra, and the mighty Sphinx. Back at the hotel we have a little free time before we travel through central Cairo to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Here a guided tour of the world’s greatest collection of ancient treasures awaits us, where we are face to face with many of the masterpieces discussed in Bill’s book. (B)

Day 4 – ‘A Son of the Years’ (Treasures of Aswan)
After breakfast, we take a flight to the beautiful southern city of Aswan. We check in to the Mövenpick Hotel on Elephantine Island for two nights on room and breakfast basis. After free time at the hotel, we take a tranquil trip on a motor launch to Qubbet el Hawa, to view the tombs of the governors charged with controlling Ancient Egypt’s busiest international borders. Here are some of Egypt’s most iconic decorated tomb chapels, including those of Sabni, Pepynakht, Harkhuf and, arguably most beautiful of all, Sarenput II. This evening we visit the Nubian Museum, where the artworks illustrate Egypt’s shifting relationship with Ancient Nubia, from prehistoric times to the Nubian pharaohs and courtiers of the 25th Dynasty and the kings of Meroë. (B)

Day 5 – ‘Rejoicing In the Perfect Monument’ (The Temples of Aswan)
Our first call today is the granite quarries, where we still can see the ancient masons’ work, including the colossal unfinished obelisk in the Open Air Museum. Next we take a launch to Agilka, unforgettable site of the Temple of Isis at Philae, to explore its elegant blend of late pharaonic architecture and Roman shrines, spattered with two millennia of foreign graffiti, from Meroitic Nubian pilgrims to Bonaparte’s invading French. Back at the hotel we have a little free time before we make a short trip to the ruined temples at the south of Elephantine, including the temple of Satis and the shrine of the sainted offcial, Heqaib. As we wander to the ancient Nilometer, houses ancient and modern, and the fallen columns of ancient temples, lie all about. (B)

Day 6 – ‘Stride on Perfect Paths’ (The Road to Thebes)
We leave Aswan and head for Luxor by road, taking in two magnificent sites en route. (We have a lunch box from the Mövenpick today.) First, the picturesque remains of the Temple of Harwer and Sobek at Kom Ombo, with stirring views of the Nile and exquisite Ptolemaic reliefs. Next, Ptolemy III’s majestic Temple of Horus at Edfu, best preserved and most enlightening of all pharaonic temples, decorated throughout with scenes from the basic mythic struggle between Osiris, Horus and Seth. On arrival in Luxor, we check in to the Old Winter Palace Garden Pavilion for five nights on room and breakfast basis. (BL)

Day 7 – ‘Giving Stone to its Lord’ (The Temples of Luxor)
At daybreak we head to Karnak, the world’s largest surviving religious complex. Our tour explores all the main features of the architecture and decoration in the mighty Temple of Amun-Ra, of course, but also neglected aspects of the labyrinthine complex, such as the newly restored Temple of Khonsu. In the Open Air Museum we visit the exquisite White Chapel from c. 1900 bc, the Alabaster Chapel built by the master craftsman Ineni for king Amenhotep I in c. 1500 bc, and the reconstructed chapels of Hatshepsut, the woman who became king c. 1475 bc. We have lots of time to explore and photograph the awe-inspiring monuments. After lunch, we visit Luxor Temple where delicate New Kingdom reliefs illustrate the primordial festivals of divine kingship. Finally, we can stroll together through The Luxor Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art, face to face with more of the masterpieces discussed in Bill’s book. (B)

Day 8 – ‘The Perfect Day’ (The West Bank at Thebes)
We take a private ferry across the Nile and head to Malkata the ruined temple complex of Amenhotep III before visiting the exquisite festival-temple of Sety I. Next, we enter the peerless New Kingdom tomb-chapels of Rekhmira and of Sennefer – the celebrated ‘Grapes Tomb’. Nearby the chapel of Ramose exemplifies the ancient artists’ working methods and different art styles, and reveals the essential meaning of an Ancient Egyptian tomb in finely detailed relief scenes. We also enter the less visited but equally impressive tombs at el-Khokha. After lunch at the Moon Valley Restaurant, we explore the yet grander, 7th Century bc tombs of Pabasa, Kheruef and Ankhor at Asasif, decorated with scenes inspired by Old Kingdom Saqqara. From Asasif a short walk brings us to the iconic temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, facing the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak, set against the unforgettable backdrop of the Theban cliffs. On the way back to the Nile we take a moment to view the Colossi of Memnon before we return to our hotel. (BL)

Day 9 – ‘The Far Side of the Sky’ (The Road South from Thebes)
A full-day trip, with a picnic lunch, to visit several exceptional sites. First, we stop near the ancient city of el-Kab, where we examine the exemplary artworks, some left in progress, at the New Kingdom tombs of Ahmose, Setjau and Pahery. The Temple of Khnum at Esna is often overlooked nowadays, so it is a treat to stop and discover its sumptuous, recently cleaned reliefs, including perhaps the last ever scenes of pharaohs, dating from the ad 200’s. From here to Mo’alla, travelling back in time to experience the late 3rd millennium bc tomb of Ankhtyfy, where Bill previously worked with an Anglo-Egyptian Archaeological Survey. Finally we arrive at el-Tod, another rarely visited archaeological jewel, which has splendidly preserved the layout of the ancient temple, in this case dedicated to Montju, lord of Thebes. (BL)

Day 10 – ‘She Who Is Facing Her Lord’ (The West Bank Again)
Once again we cross the Nile, this time to head to the Valley of the Kings, where we have tickets for three tombs open on the day. We have included a ticket for the Tomb of Sety I, who died c. 1279 bc, reputedly the most beautifully decorated tomb in the Valley. Afterwards we drive to the West Valley for an even more special privilege, because we have a permit to enter the now restored tomb of the Amenhotep III, who died c. 1353 bc. We also visit the Tomb of Ay, partly decorated in the so-called Amarna style in the generation after Amenhotep III. After lunch at the Moon Valley Restaurant, we visit the colourful New Kingdom tombs at Qurnet Murai, before arriving at Deir el Medina, village of the artists who built and decorated the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. We enter a selection of the workers’ own tombs, some newly opened after restoration, where their incomparable artistic skills are beautifully showcased. Nearby, to close the tour, we see how locals converted the Temple of Hathor to a Coptic church after the age of the pharaohs has gone forever.  (BL)

Day 11 – Monday 18th December
After breakfast, we have a private transfer to Luxor airport for a direct flight to London, arriving early afternoon. (B)

Expert, Dr Bill Manley, Egyptologist, university lecturer, museum curator and best-selling author, has written a major new book as part of Thames and Hudson’s prestigious World of Art series. His previous books, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, include established textbooks for universities and adult learners, along with well known popular titles. Bill has worked with archaeological projects in Egypt and Palestine, while his specialist output includes museum exhibitions and scholarly articles on Ancient 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


EGYPT FOR ART LOVERS with Dr Bill Manley


DEPARTURE DATE  Friday 8th December 2017





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