June 29: Nile Cruise to Kom Omb and Edfu
On our cruise to Kom Ombo, we will have the chance to enjoy breakfast and leisurely watch the world drift slowly by. Our first tour will be to the Temple of Sobek, which was originally constructed during the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC. The building is unique because of a 'double' design--meaning that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods. The southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility. The northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Horus.
After our visit we will head back for lunch on our boat as its cruises towards Edfu. In Edfu we will visit an older Temple of Horus. This temple, which was built between 237 and 57 BC, is interesting because it is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt.
Dinner and Overnight on board our cruise ship as we sail to Luxor!
June 30: Nile Cruise and the Eastern Bank of Luxor
After an early breakfast, we head out for an amazing morning visit to the ancient monuments on the eastern bank of Luxor--ancient Thebes. On the east bank, the main monuments are the Karnak and Luxor Temples. The Karnak Temple comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. The complex is a vast open-air museum, and the second largest ancient religious site in the world. It is the second most visited historical site in Egypt, only the Giza Pyramids near Cairo receive more visits. Building at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom.
The Luxor Temple is a large ancient Egyptian temple complex that was built around 1400 BCE--perhaps around the time of the Exodus. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, the Luxor temple is not dedicated to a god or a deified version of the king in death. Instead it is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the kings of Egypt were crowned in reality or at least conceptually
After lunch, we will escape the heat as we visit of the ancient treasures housed in the Luxor museum.
In the evening, we will head back to the Temple of Karnak was an amazing Sound and Light Show.
Dinner and Overnight on board cruise in Luxor..
July 1: Luxor - The Western Bank
Today we get to visit one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the Valley of the Kings on the Western Bank of Luxor. The whole west bank is honeycombed with tombs, not just of the ancient Egyptian Kings, but of their families and the noblemen who served them. Of all those ancient tombs, we will visit four:
(1) The tomb of Tutankhamun--or better know to us as King Tut. Discovered in 1922, this tomb was the only nearly intact tomb every discovered. Fortunately for us, grave robbers never discovered the tomb. King Tut ascended to the throne in 1333 BC, at the age of nine or ten. He appears to have died when he was about 18 as a result of genetic defects that arose from his parents being siblings, complications from a broken leg and his suffering from malaria.
(2) The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is one of the most beautiful of all of the temples of Ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut (1503-1482) is one of the few female rulers of Ancient Egypt. Her name means "Foremost of Noble Ladies." She is of particular interest since some scholars believe she is the most likely candidate for being Moses' adopted mother. A daughter of King Thutmose I, Hatshepsut became queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, around the age of 12. The couple had a daughter who died at an early age, but no son--and thus no heir. Upon her husband's death, she began acting as regent for her stepson, the infant Thutmose III, but later took on the full powers of a pharaoh, becoming co-ruler of Egypt around 1473 B.C. It is believed that she was grooming the young Hebrew boy she rescued and named Moses to be her successor. The plan fell apart, perhaps, when Moses killed an Egyptian. Thutmose III may have used that news to rid himself of both Hatshepsut and Moses.
(3) The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III. Amenhotep III ruled Egypt for nearly four decades, until his death in 1349 B.C. at the age of 50. His reign was marked by prosperity, political stability, and the creation of some of ancient Egypt’s most magnificent complexes. The mortuary temple, constructed not far from his tomb, was the grandest of all mortuary temple complexes built in Egypt. It was longer than five American football fields placed end to end.
(4) The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu is an important New Kingdom period structure. Aside from its size and architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples, which included the Philistines, during the reign of Ramesses III (1186–1155 BC)--about a 150 years before the time of King David.
Our day ends as we catch a flight back to Cairo.