April 30th - May 10th* 2024
Join us for an amazing opportunity to experience more than 5,000 years of history as we travel from Cairo to Abu Simbel! We will also have a unique opportunity to visit Fag el-Gamous/Seila, the location of the BYU Egypt Excavation Project, while the archaeologists and other team members are actively working.
Bethany Jensen, M.A. will be leading this tour and will be joined by Dr. Kerry Muhlestein for about half of the time.
Dr. Muhlestein will be in Egypt for excavation, but he plans to join us for some of our stops around Cairo, and he will be traveling with us to Luxor.
Below is an outline of the trip. Further details are available upon request.
*Dates may shift by a day or two. We are still working with our Egyptian partners to confirm reservations. The order in which sites are visited may also change.
Reserve your Spot
Depart on the flight of your choice that will arrive in Cairo between noon and midnight on April 30th.
Arrival in Cairo. You will be met at the airport and assisted with transport to the hotel.
We will spend the day at sites around Cairo. This includes Dahshur, part of the Pyramid Field and location of the Red and Bent Pyramids, Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt and home to a colossal statue of Rameses II, and Saqqara, a massive cemetery in use for thousands of years and the site of the first pyramid built for Pharaoh Djoser.
Today we will visit the Fayoum. We will travel to Fag el-Gamous and Seila, the site where the BYU Egypt Excavation Project has worked for more than 40 years. Fag el-Gamous is a large cemetery that was used for centuries and Seila is a pyramid built by Snefru (who also built the two pyramids at Dahshur). BYU will be excavating and we will get a chance to see them in action and learn more about the work they are doing. We will also visit Lahun and the pyramid of Senusret II.
Part of the day will be spent at another portion of the Pyramid Field (and certainly the most famous), Giza, known for the Sphinx and its pyramids, which are the only remaining wonder of the ancient world. We will also visit some museums. Egypt has been working on the Grand Egyptian Museum for many years. We hope to be able to visit if it is open. We will also visit the Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square. While many artifacts have shifted around with the creation of the GEM, the Egyptian Museum still holds thousands of artifacts spanning the vast history of Egypt.
In the morning we will fly to Luxor where we will check in for our Nile cruise and then visit the temples on the East Bank of the Nile. Karnak Temple is a massive religious complex that was constructed over hundreds of years and is connected by an avenue of sphinxes with the Luxor Temple. Karnak was a center of worship for Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Luxor Temple was the setting to the Opet Festival, a rejuvenation ceremony for the king.
We plan to begin the day with a hot air balloon ride over Thebes (this is optional, cost not included), following which we will visit various sites on the West Bank of the Nile. The Valley of the Kings was the burial place for kings and other nobility during the New Kingdom. The valley contains a number of tombs with beautifully preserved decoration of scenes related to the afterlife. We will also visit Deir el-Bahri, a temple dedicated to Hatshepsut, the woman who became king, as well as Medinet Habu, temple of Ramesses III and one of the best preserved New Kingdom temples in Egypt. Finally, we will visit the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II. We will sail to Esna and Edfu, and overnight in Edfu.
First we will visit the temple of Horus at Edfu, one of the most complete temples in Egypt. We will then sail to Kom Ombo and visit the temple there. The Kom Ombo temple is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek as well as a form of the falcon god, Horus called Haoeris. From here we will sail to Aswan.
Aswan was the ancient southern border of Egypt. This is the location of the First Cataract, a section of the Nile where the water is shallower and rocky making it difficult to sail through. Aswan is where the High Dam is located. Up until the 1960s, the Nile flooded annually in Egypt, which varied from year to year. The dam was built to better control the flooding. As a result, many architectural structures were moved. One such site is Philae, a temple dedicated to Isis that features the last known dated inscription in hieroglyphs from 394 CE. We will also visit the Unfinished Obelisk. When the obelisk was being carved from the bedrock it cracked, resulting in the abandonment of the obelisk. However, this allows us to learn how obelisks were constructed.
After breakfast in Aswan we will fly to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel traditionally marked the border between Lower Nubia and Upper Nubia and today is close to the modern border between Egypt and Sudan. Here we will see the famed temples of Ramesses II which were moved piece by piece in an amazing feat of engineering and preservation after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. We will then fly back to Cairo.
On our last full day, we will visit a few places around Cairo. This includes the citadel and mosque of Muhammed Ali Pasha. The citadel was built by Saladin and was the center of rule from the medieval period through the 19th century. We will also visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, which has many artifacts that trace the history of Egypt from prehistoric to modern times. This is also where the mummified remains of past pharaohs and queens reside. Additionally, we will visit a Coptic Church called the Hanging Church, so named due to the way it sits over the site of a Roman fortress. Today we will also visit Kahn el-Khalili, a famous bazaar and market in the heart of Cairo.
Transfer to the Cairo airport for departure. There are flights that leave early in the morning, so we will likely leave the hotel before midnight the previous day.
Bethany Jensen first visited Egypt in 2011 as astudent at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Since then,she has returned to Egypt several times whileworking with the BYU Egypt Excavation Projectdirected by Dr. Kerry Muhlestein. She holds a BA inAnthropology with an emphasis in Archaeologyfrom Brigham Young University, an MA inMuseum Studies from Johns Hopkins University,and an MA in Art History with a concentration inEgyptian Art and Archaeology from the Universityof Memphis. In 2020 she started working withSPARC and helps run the day-to-day operations.She is passionate about the ancient world and can’twait to introduce you to some of her favorite places.
Costs associated with the tour are based on double occupancy. For single travelers there is a supplement.
Double Occupancy (per person): $3750
Single Supplement: $1500
Flight to Luxor, Nile Cruise, Flight to Abu Simbel, Flight to Cairo (including assistance with transport to the airport)
Transport to all sites mentioned in the itinerary, private guides, entrance fees and headsets (there is an additional charge for lost headsets)
Most meals and supplemental bottled water
All gratuities (Tipping is a major part of Egyptian culture. Your tour coordinator will cover these costs, though you are welcome to add more if you would like.)
Not Included: Airfare to and from Cairo, and anything not described above (souvenirs, activities done on your own, possibly some meals, travel insurance)
Stay tuned for more information. Details to come after reservations are confirmed.
YOU MUST BOOK YOUR OWN AIRFARE
You will need to arrive between noon and midnight on April 30, 2024. Please plan accordingly and pay attention to the dates when you schedule.
For those traveling from Salt Late, there is a Delta flight to Paris and then an Air France flight to Cairo that works well.
You will need to depart on May 9th, it will likely be an early morning flight.
Questions? Please contact us using the form found here.