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Delve into the antiquities of Egypt on this epic journey which begins in the effervescent Egyptian capital. As you transfer to your hotel for a day at leisure, you’ll feel the intoxicating buzz of this lively city – the perfect introduction to an unforgettable opportunity to learn about Egypt’s ancient past and exciting present. You may choose to relax after your trip, or experience the energy of Cairo for yourself at the Khan El-Khalili souk where the sounds and smells are almost overwhelming.
Immerse yourself in a history that spans millennia during a full-day excursion to the old kingdom of Egypt. See the Colossus of Ramses II and the Alabaster Sphinx at Memphis. Visit the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, then marvel at the Great Pyramid of Giza and the mighty Sphinx. This evening, watch as the walls of these feats of man are lit up in a dazzling sound and light show.
We fly to Luxor this morning and embark on a guided tour of the Karnak Temple Complex, before boarding our cruise in time for lunch. Later this afternoon, marvel at Luxor's Temple and visit Luxor Museum to see an astounding collection of archaeological treasures, including items from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Pay tribute to the Goddess Hathor at Dendera Temple, a soaring structure built around 330 BC. Beautifully preserved and elaborate in its design, every inch of this impressive sand-coloured structure is mesmerising and you’ll see many of its halls, shrines and unique features such as the sun dial and replica Dendera zodiac, tracing the images of Taurus and Libra. You’ll learn about Dendera’s role as one of the major capitals of ancient Upper Egypt before returning to Luxor for the night.
Today, we travel to Aswan, which for centuries held the important strategic role of being Egypt’s southern frontier and gateway to the rest of Africa. Today it is a tranquil, modern city, most known for its High Dam, Nubian villages and Philae Temple, built to honour Egyptian goddess Isis. We arrive just in time for dinner, watching the buzz of the city from the comfort of our boat as day turns to dusk and another wonderful day sailing along the Nile comes to a close.
On your sightseeing visit to Aswan, you’ll see first-hand how the ancient Egyptians could not have chosen a more stunning place to honour the goddess of love and you’ll learn how the Temple of Isis on Philae Island was very nearly lost underwater when the Aswan Dam was built in the 1960s. Beyond the incredible beauty and tranquillity of this structure, you’ll hear how Isis earned the title ‘Mother of God’ before your visit to the Unfinished Obelisk, which lies semi-carved from the solid bedrock and remains as a testament to Aswan’s heritage as the centre for stone quarries in ancient Egypt. Our final stop today is a visit to the High Dam, the world’s largest embankment dam which took 11 years to build and ended the cycle of flood and drought along the Nile River.
Your travels today could see you join a once in a lifetime Optional Experience to Abu Simbel, carved into a solid rock cliff in Egypt’s Nubian Valley. As you approach the imposing Great Temple, you’ll marvel at the four-seated colossi on either side of the entrance and the elaborate engravings carved out of the stone depicting great victories and paying homage to the gods. Later, you’ll set sail in a traditional felucca around the Botanical Gardens on Kitchener's Island, given to Lord Horacio Kitchener who transformed the island into a haven for rare exotic birds and unusual plants.
We visit the roofless Temple of Kom-Ombo, a highlight on our trip along the Nile, where we’ll learn how the temple was built to honour two gods – Horus the Elder and Sobek. The Temple has a perfectly symmetrical design, the two sides a mirror of each other with one side dedicated to the crocodile god, the other to the falcon god. You’ll learn all about the mythical link the two gods shared and why the Nile crocodile, which gathered in great numbers at this bend in the Nile, were of such importance to the ancient Egyptian priests.
Watch how the river gives life to an arid landscape and the people who live within it as you sail down the Nile to Luxor, once an ancient Egyptian capital and today one of the world’s most epic open-air museums. Every moment spent exploring the Valley of the Kings will leave you enthralled as you trace its many treasures, from the tomb of Tutankhamun to the temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor. You’ll feel that same thrill the Egyptologists who first discovered what lay beyond these walls must have felt as they explored these incredible ancient sites.
We disembark at Luxor, Connect With Locals as you enjoy a traditional Be My Guest experience with freshly baked bread, honey and mint tea. Explore the fascinating complex of mortuary temples and tombs, including Queen Hatshepsut's Temple, the Colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings. We take a return flight to Cairo where we'll enjoy an evening at leisure to soak up the buzzing atmosphere for which the city is famous. This evening consider an evening meal on board a floating restaurant with some lively Egyptian entertainment.
The buzz of Cairo is undeniable, and you’ll get to feel it first-hand as you embark on an unforgettable sightseeing tour through the effervescent Egyptian capital. History buffs will love the visits to the Hanging Church of St. Mary and the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Old Cairo, built 700 years ago as a spiritual hub for the region. You’ll also see the Alabaster Mosque and Citadel of Cairo, a medieval Islamic-era fortification which served as the seat of the Egyptian government for almost seven centuries. Later, you’ll head to the celebrated Egyptian Museum, where you’ll Dive Into Culture and discover the museum’s unbelievable array of artefacts, from mummies and sarcophagi to jewellery and King Tutankhamun’s treasures.
Our expedition at its end, say a fond farewell to your newfound friends. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.
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