The Art of Ancient Egypt with Dr Bill Manley


DEPARTING 19th September 2024


Join best-selling author and Egyptologist Dr Bill Manley for a tour of Egypt’s best loved ancient monuments, some diversions ‘off the beaten track’, and trips to Egypt’s finest museums, with set-piece talks and informal chats as we go.

Whether you are visiting Egypt for the first time or rediscovering familiar sights with expert eyes, this is a unique opportunity to learn more about the ancient world with the author of ‘Egyptian Art’, praised by Damien Hirst as ‘the perfect way into that story’.

Shunet El Zebib

We include a visit to Abydos and the glorious Temples of Seti I and Ramesses II, Shunet el Zebib and Kom el Sultan.

Other highlights include a special permit for private entry to the beautiful tomb of the ‘Sun King’ Amenhotep III, tickets for Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens, and the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.

Day 1 - Thursday 19th September 2024

We take our direct flight from Heathrow to Cairo and on arrival take our private transfer to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at West Giza. We check in for four nights on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 - Friday 20th September - The Giza Plateau

Our tour begins with a visit to the timeless Giza Plateau to view the Great Pyramid of king Khufu, and the Great Sphinx and Valley Temple of king Khafra. There will be time to enter the Great Pyramid of Khufu for those who wish. Nearby we also view some of the oldest monumental art in the world in the tomb of queen Meresankh, and the enchanting sculptures of the officials Qar and Idu.  We have lunch at a local restaurant with superb views of the plateau before we head the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, where we can now see the mummies of the New Kingdom pharaohs in a new, purpose-built gallery. Plenty of time to view the lovely Textile Gallery and the Main Hall taking us through the history of Egypt from the Predynastic Period to modern day.  (BL)

Day 3 - Saturday 21st September - Saqqara

A full day at Saqqara to view classic scenes of life and afterlife from the beginning of history in the Old Kingdom mastabas of Mereruka, and Kagemni. We enter the pyramids of the pharaohs Unas and Teti to see the ‘Big Bang’ of writing — the astounding Pyramid Texts. We visit the very heart of pharaonic Egypt at the Step Pyramid complex with a chance to enter the Pyramid itself before we see the Mastabas of Horemheb the General and Maya, with some of the finest art of the New Kingdom. We walk to the vast, evocative underground galleries of the sacred bulls at the Serapeum and en-route enter the cemetery of the Ptahhotep family, which served as a model for the decorated tombs of all later periods. We have a break for a refreshing lunch at the Sakkara Palm Club. (BL)

Day 4 - Sunday 22nd September - Grand Egyptian Museum

We allow for a full day at the Grand Egyptian Museum and lunch will be own arrangements within the Museum complex. Tonight Bill will give a talk and we will discuss the week ahead. (B)

Day 5 - Monday 23rd September - To Luxor

After a leisurely breakfast we check out of our hotel and head to Cairo Airport for the short flight to Luxor. On arrival in Luxor we make the short journey to The Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, where we check in for six nights on room and breakfast basis. Later we make the trip to Luxor Museum to view some of the most wonderful pieces of sculpture ever found in Egypt. (B)

Day 6 - Tuesday 24th September - The Temple of Amun

At daybreak we head to Karnak, the world’s largest surviving religious complex, where we have plenty of time to explore the sights and learn about the arrangement of the different temples here. 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. We allow plenty of time to enjoy  the masterpieces in the Open Air Museum. We return to the hotel mid afternoon and this evening Bill will present another talk. (B)

Day 7 - Wednesday 25th September - The West Bank

This morning we head to the West Bank and first make a call at the exquisite festival-temple of Seti I.  We enter the rarely visited, small, but finely decorated Khokha Tombs built for New Kingdom high officials, including Kenro a Treasury Scribe.  On to the world renowned Nobles Tombs and in particular the incomparable painted decoration in the tombs of Sennefer and Menna. We explore the massive 7th Century BC tombs of Pabasa, Kheruef and Ankhor at Asasif, which draw upon the oldest and most traditional art in times of political turmoil  On 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. We have a lunch break at our local restaurant during the day. (BL)

Day 8 - Thursday 26th September - The Wonders of Abydos

Today we drive to Abydos where we explore one of the glories of ancient Egypt, the Temple of Seti I. The raised relief in this temple is among the finest quality artwork anywhere in Egypt and many vibrant colours remain. We also discuss the famous ‘King List’, then view the mysterious, subterranean Osireion on our way to enter the Temple of Ramesses II with its striking battle reliefs. We travel with a lunch box today and after our site visits we check in to the House of Life Hotel close to the temples. We have dinner arranged at this lovely local hotel. (BLD) Note: we are keeping our rooms at the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion, for this one night away so you only need to travel with overnight bags.

Day 9 - Friday 27th September - Temple of Hathor

Our Day begins with a visit to the remote site of Kom el Sultan and the temple of Osiris, god of the dead, whose worship is the theme of so much pharaonic art.  We also have time to walk to the huge mudbrick walls of the ancient royal mortuary temple of Shunet el Zebib, built for king Khasekhemwy of the 2nd Dynasty. We return to the hotel for lunch and then we head back to Luxor. En-route we make a small diversion to the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, where vast relief scenes famously immortalize the romance between Caesar and Cleopatra. We take time to view the ‘birth house’ of the god Horus and the lovely painted ceiling with elaborately decorated astronomical scenes including the goddess Nut. We continue to Luxor and the Winter Palace. Tonight Bill will present a talk. (BL)

Day 10 - Saturday 28th September - Art of Kings and Queens.

Today to the West Bank and the Valley of the Kings where we have the standard ticket for entry to three tombs of your choice on the day. However we also include the ticket for KV17 the vast Tomb of Seti I, whose discovery in 1817 was an international sensation. His tomb is the largest and perhaps most magnificently decorated in the Valley of the Kings, and a splendid complement to the same king’s temples we have visited already. We then visit the quieter West Valley to enter the Tomb of Ay decorated with examples of the the so-called ‘Amarna style’. However, here we also have a special permit for private entry to WV22, the exquisitely beautiful tomb of the ‘Sun King’ Amenhotep III. After a local lunch we visit the Valley of the Queens where we include tickets to the breathtaking Tomb of Nefertari, the Great Wife  of Ramesses II, and we have plenty of time to visit other tombs open on the day. We return to the hotel mid-afternoon. (BL)

Day 11 - Sunday 29th September - Nobles and Workers

This morning we visit the ancient village of Deir el-Medina where we find the homes as well as the tombs of the artists who built and decorated the sites we visited yesterday in the Valley of the Kings. We also look at the nearby Ptolemaic Temple where we see some fine examples of relief sculpture from the Ptolemaic era – but not all is as it seems! Finally we visit the smaller, brightly coloured tombs of lesser New Kingdom officials, built when Egypt was the richest and most influential country on earth, including the tombs of Roy and Shuroy at Dra Abu el Naga, and select tombs at Qurnet Murai. After lunch we return to the hotel, then later take the short walk to Luxor Temple for a guided tour through its towering New Kingdom colonnades. (BL)

Day 12 - Monday 30th September 2024 - Homebound

We take our private transfer to Luxor Airport for our direct flight to London arriving early afternoon. (B)

Dr Bill Manley is a best-selling author, Egyptologist and Coptic scholar, who taught at the University of Glasgow for over twenty years. He is now working with the Wadi C2 Archaeological Project, based in Luxor. Bill’s book Egyptian Art (2017) is part of Thames & Hudson’s prestigious World of Art series. His latest book The Oldest Book in the World (2023) garnered a 5-star review from The Wall Street Journal.

B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

The Art of Ancient Egypt

  • Tour Code: AWAAE190924
  • Departing: 19th September 2024
  • Returning: 30th September 2024
  • Cost Per Person: £4840
  • Single Supplement: £540

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