A week in Luxor with a rare chance to enter tombs closed to the general public. We have arranged a special permit to enter the tombs of Horemheb and Amenhotep II in the Valley of the Kings. We also have a permit to enter the tomb of Padiamunope, TT33 at Asasif. We have included tickets for the tomb of Nefertari in the Queens’ Valley and Seti I in the Kings’ Valley. This one week tour based at The Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, will be a study of tombs, their decoration and function, and the way this evolved over time. The special permits we have secured will provide entry to some of the finest tombs to have survived, and each will help to tell a part of the story of the Egyptians’ conception of what happens at death, and in the subsequent journey to the next life.
- Monday 24th January 2022
We fly London Heathrow to Luxor and on arrival take our private transfer and check in to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for seven nights on room and breakfast basis.
- Tuesday 25th January - To the West Bank
We take our private launch and cross the Nile to join our vehicle for the short ride to Deir el Medina where we see the village homes of the workmen who built the grand tombs in the Valley of the Kings. We can enter the well preserved small but colourful private tombs of the craftsmen and artisans. Time to walk to the nearby Ptolemaic temple and the ‘Great Pit’. Next we visit the tomb of Huy, Nubia Viceroy, during the reign of Tutankhamun at Qurnet Murai. After lunch at a local restaurant we will return to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure. This evening Chris will give a talk on our plans for the week and the story to be told.
- Wednesday 26th January - The Valley of the Kings
We take our private launch and cross the Nile to join our vehicle for the short ride to the Valley of The Kings. We have tickets for entrance to three tombs of your own choosing of those open on the day but the real highlight will be our special permit entry to KV35, the tomb of Amenhotep II. The burial chamber of the tomb is beautifully decorated with scenes of the ‘Amduat’ (the netherworld) and the king with deities. It was in two of four side chambers that a cache of royal mummies including several pharaohs, and the enigmatic ‘elder’ and ‘younger’ ladies were found. Later we will head to the West Valley for entry to the Tomb of Ay. After a local lunch we will visit the tombs of Roy and Shu Roy at Dra Abu el Naga. This evening Chris will give another talk on the journey made by the king from this life to the next through the netherworld in the hours of the night.
- Thursday 27th January – Horemheb the King
Once again we cross the Nile and head to the Valley of The Kings. We have tickets for entrance to three regular tombs, and today, we have a special permit entry to KV57, the tomb of Horemheb. This tomb represents an important stage in the evolution of the tomb of pharaoh, the first fully realised such monument tomb to be built in the main branch of the Valley since the reign of Thutmose IV. Today we also have tickets for KV17, the wonderful Tomb of Seti I. We return to the hotel for free time over the lunch break and later we will meet up for a visit to Karnak Temple.
- Friday 28th January – A traditional day
What better way to celebrate Friday than take a calm and relaxing sail on a traditional Felucca on the Nile. We will have a first class lunch prepared by the Old Winter Palace while we have plenty of time for photography and bird watching on this ever popular excursion. Later this afternoon we will walk to Luxor Temple for a guided tour. A talk tonight to learn about the massive tomb of Padiamunope at Asasif that we will enter tomorrow.
- Saturday 29th January - Exceptional Asasif
To Asasif on the West Bank for our final special opening. We enter the Tomb of Padiamunope TT33. In terms of the total area it occupies, the tomb of Padiamunope is the largest of the Asasif group. It is also the best preserved, with labyrinthine architecture and endless beautifully cut scenes relating to the underworld. Padiamunope’s tomb has hardly been seen in modern times; for many years it was used as a secure storage facility by the antiquities service, but is now the subject of a new French-led archaeological project. Finally the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri. We return to the hotel at lunch time and the afternoon is free.
- Sunday 30th January – The Valley of the Queens
This morning we return to the West Bank and this time head to the Valley of The Queens. We have included tickets for entrance to the stunning tomb of Nefertari, The Great Royal Wife of Ramesses II. We allow plenty of time to enter any of the other tombs open on the day. It is here we find the tombs of high officials and Princes some of which tell moving stories and are very nicely decorated. We rest and take lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the Tombs of the Nobles. Time to explore the colourful scenes in the tomb of Sennofer known as the Tomb of Vines and admire the rich decorations in the tomb of Rekhmire. We also enter the tomb of vizier and governor of Thebes, Ramose. Here we see beautiful classical and Amarna-style reliefs and pay special attention to the funerary scenes. We head back across the Nile to the East Bank for the final night in our grand hotel.
- Monday 31st January 2022
This morning we take our transfer to the airport for our direct EgyptAir flight to London Heathrow arriving early afternoon.
If you would like to stay on for extra nights to relax and explore further please phone or email for a quote.
Chris Naunton is an Egyptologist and author of Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt (Thames and Hudson 2018) and Egyptologists Notebooks (2020). He has appeared in numerous television documentaries, regularly lectures on a wide variety of subjects around the UK and online, and is a frequent visitor to Egypt. He was Director of the Egypt Exploration Society from 2012 to 2016, President of the International Association of Egyptologists from 2015 to 2019, and is now Director of the Robert Anderson Trust.
B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner