There are places in Egypt closely associated with Professor Kent Weeks. Particularly the Valley of the Kings where so much of his work has taken place. However, there are other places in Egypt close to his heart significant either for their archaeological interest, their spectacular visual impact or that they are just truly hidden gems. This tour features all of these and more. From KV5, Egypt’s largest Pharaonic tomb, to the Islamic museum in Cairo. From the glorious tomb of Horemheb to the astonishing tomb of Amenhotep III in the Western Valley, this is a tour not be missed.
We have obtained three special permits for this tour and we’re looking forward to having Kent show you some of his favourite places in Egypt.
- Friday 4th March 2022
We take our direct flight from Heathrow to Cairo and on arrival take our private transfer to the comfortable 5-Star Cairo Sheraton Hotel. We check in to our Deluxe city view rooms for four nights on room and breakfast basis.
- Saturday 5th March - Old Cairo
Our tour begins with a look at Old Cairo. During the day we will visit the magnificent mosques of Mohamed Ali, Sultan Hassan and Al Refai close to the famous Citadel, one of the most dramatic features of the city’s skyline. We will have a grand lunch at Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant in Khan el Khalili and take time to explore this most historic area in full. We then visit another very popular attraction, the American University in Cairo Bookshop, with plenty of time to browse the enormous collection of Egyptology books on sale. (BL)
- Sunday 6th March – The Faiyum
Today we will board our coach and head south along the desert highway to the Faiyum oasis and the Pyramids at el Lahun and Hawara. At el Lahun we’ll be exploring the area around the 12th Dynasty Pyramid of Senusret II. This massive mudbrick pyramid has recently been opened to the public after extensive restoration including new lighting. This pyramid is impressive and shows the building techniques used in the Middle Kingdom. At Hawara, we will see the 12th Dynasty Pyramid of Amenemhat III and the remains of the ‘Labyrinth’ described by Herodotus. Flinders Petrie excavated extensively here and it is from this site that many of the most beautiful of the Roman ‘portrait coffins’ came. Lunch will be taken at the lovely Helnan Auberge Hotel, a traditional ‘palace style’ building on the banks of Lake Moeris. This evening Kent will give a lecture entitled Principles of Egyptian Art and Egyptian Hieroglyphs a great introduction for the days ahead. (BL)
- Monday 7th March - Coptic Cairo
This morning we head to Coptic Cairo where we visit the ‘Hanging Church’ named for its location over the gatehouse of Babylon Fortress, the Church of St Sergius and the fascinating Coptic Museum. After lunch at Naguib Mahfouz restaurant we will walk to the Islamic Museum via Bab Zueweila in the heart of historic Cairo. (BL)
- Tuesday 8th March - South to Luxor
Our day begins with a visit to The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization at the ancient city of Fustat now part of Cairo. Here we find a vast collection of artifacts ranging from Prehistoric times to the current day. After a local lunch we head for Cairo Airport and board our short flight to Luxor. On arrival we transfer to The Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, where we check in for six nights on room and breakfast basis. We will have a meeting tonight to discuss the week ahead and Kent will give us updates on work in Luxor. (BL)
- Wednesday 9th March - Valley of the Kings and KV5
After breakfast we cross the Nile on our private launch and board our coach and head for the Valley of the Kings. We have our regular tickets allowing entry to three tombs of those open on the day. We have arranged two Special Permits this morning. The first will be an exciting visit to KV5 the largest tomb in the Valley. Built for the sons of Ramesses II, Kent Weeks and his team have been excavating this tomb for over twenty years. We also have a special permit for private entry to the Tomb of Horemheb, KV57, where we find beautiful decoration depicting the King before the gods. Plenty of time to enter the three tombs of your choice before we take time to enjoy a relaxing local lunch. This afternoon we pay our first visit to the new AUC Theban Mapping Project Library on the West Bank of Luxor. Here Kent will give a talk about his work and we will view the new building and have afternoon tea. (BL)
- Thursday 10th March - West Bank
Crossing the Nile once again we make a brief stop at the Colossi of Memnon, the vast seated figures of Amenhotep III at the entrance to his mortuary temple at Kom el Hetan. On to Medinet Habu the vast mortuary temple of Ramesses III where Kent will explain the latest work being carried out by the Chicago House Epigraphic Survey Team who have been working here for many years. We plan to lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Qurnet Murai. We can enter the tombs here including TT40 that of Amenhotep called Huy, the Viceroy of Kush, where we find many depictions of tributes to King Tutankhamun. Time also to enter the smaller but lovely tombs TT277 of Amenemonet and TT278 of Amenemheb. (BL)
- Friday 11th March - Nobles' Tombs
This morning our visit to the West Bank will begin at the Nobles Tombs. First we will enter the richly decorated tomb of the Vizier Rekhmire and then the tomb of Sennefer, known as the ‘Tomb of Vines’, due to the brightly coloured images of grapes and vines on the ceiling of the antechamber. Next to the tomb of Ramose famous for both classical and very fine Amarna-style reliefs. Close-by we enter the tombs of Userhat and Khaemhat. After a busy morning we will head back to the new AUC TMP library for another talk by Kent over light refreshments of tea, coffee and cake. Back at the hotel by early afternoon we have some free time before we make the short trip to Luxor Museum where we find many of the greatest sculptures found in the area. (B)
- Saturday 12th March - The Precinct of Amun
We head to Karnak Temple for an in depth tour of the site. We visit all the major features including The Great Hypostyle Hall, The Sacred Lake, the Pylons and Courts but we also visit some lesser known gems. We take a look at the Khonsu Temple where we will learn about the remarkable restoration work being undertaken. We return to the hotel at lunchtime and later we will walk to Luxor Temple where we see the continuing work of the Chicago House Epigraphic Survey Team. We watch the sun go down and admire the temple as the floodlights come on. Time to take an early evening walk back to the hotel via the souk for those who wish. (B)
- Sunday 13th March - The Sun King
We head to the Western Valley of the Kings where we have a Special Permit to enter the very large tomb of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III. Closed to the general public, this tomb has fine decoration and has recently undergone restoration by the team from the University of Waseda, Japan. Time also to enter the tomb of Ay. Next we visit the Workmen’s Village at Deir el Medina to enter their lovely tombs and view their homes. A look also at ‘The Great Pit’ and the Ptolemaic Temple dedicated to Hathor. A refreshing break for lunch at a local restaurant before a visit to the Ramesseum, mortuary temple of Ramesses II, where we find the huge toppled colossi said to inspire Shelley’s Ozymandias. A fitting end to a thrilling tour. (BL)
- Monday 14th March 2022 - Homeward bound
After an early breakfast we take our private transfer to Luxor Airport for our direct flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)
Kent Weeks is one of the most celebrated Egyptologists in the world for his work on the Theban Mapping Project and his work on the re-discovery and conservation of the largest tomb ever found in the Kings’ Valley, KV5. When in Egypt Kent divides his time between Cairo and Luxor.
B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner