Egypt in the eyes of a history connoisseur (Part 2 of 3)

Updated: 6 days ago

If you are like me, fond and fascinated by the ancient Egyptian civilization, its relics, mysteries and knowledge we are still deciphering, then the article below will be of value to you.


You are about to embark on an adventure to the magic Egypt.


In a series of 3 articles I articulate an itinerary that my friends, my family and I have been using in order to discover ancient Egypt for the first time.


This specific journey is focused on a deep dive into Ancient Egyptian civilization with route including (Cairo -) Luxor - Aswan - Cairo, mode of transport: air, river cruise, and sometimes a horse carriage.




Luxor

After exploring Giza and Cairo you can take a domestic 40-min flight to the magic city of Luxor, the pearl on the Nile. Luxor’s ancient name was Thebes, the city of the god Amon, capital of Egypt during the period of the Middle and New Kingdoms. Today people from around the world are coming to this powerful it its energy place to rebalance and reset.


Luxor is a "millefeuille of civilizations" with layers of pharaonic, christian and islamic traditions peacefully coexisting under the bright sun of Egypt.


The city of Luxor is known as the world’s largest open-air museum. Together with other prominent historical sites such as Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, and the Value of the Queens it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.


It is a place unique in its history, energy, with grand temples and ancient tombs scattered along the East and West bank of the Nile River.


When we visited Luxor for the first time we used a dedicated agency who provided us with booking: Flight to Luxor, The Nile Cruise, Aswan Stay, Flight to Cairo and back home to Dubai, including professional guides at every destination.



Luxor Stay


Old Winter Palace Hotel, is a historic British colonial-era resort that opened its doors to the public in 1907, having attracted the world’s attention in 1922 with the discovery of the King Tutankhamun tomb by Howard Carter. Since then some major politicians and celebrities chose the hotel as the place for stay and inspiration, including Agatha Christie. It is believed the Death on the Nile novel was incepted during her stay at Winter Palace.


Alternatively you could explore some of the AirBnB’s available in the city, located mostly on the West Bank.



The Luxor city spreads across the West and East banks of the river Nile, there is a bridge connecting the two, whilst the most efficient and joyful way to commute - using local boat called Felucca.


Luxor East Bank


Luxor Temple for a long time has been the largest and most important religious center in ancient Egypt. The 3,000-year old avenue of Sphynxes used to connect the Luxor Temple and Karnak. The avenue was reopened only in 2021. The Temple itself is located in a walking distance from the Winter Palace.




Karnak Temple has been the largest cult temple ever built in Ancient Egypt, also known as the house of God Amun.




Both Luxor and Karnak are being located on the East bank of the Nile. Historically the West bank was dedicated to the necropolis hiding numerous tombs of the rulers and the elite. There are lengthy mysterious legends surrounding the area.


Luxor West Bank


The below sites can be visited in one day using a car with a dedicated egyptologist guide.


  • Valley of the Kings - sacral place where the bodies of pharaohs were buried and preserved inside the rocks.



  • Valley of the Queens - it is believed (and rightfully so) that Valley of the Kings supersedes the peer location dedicated to ladies with intricacy of wall art and sarcophagus. Personally I tend to agree, with an exception of the tomb of queen Neferati, discovered by an Italian expedition in 1904 (as you glance though tomb's and temples' photos - bear in mind that the colors are the original ones..).



  • Hatshepsut temple was dedicated to the most important female ruler - the queen Hatshepsut during whose reign the kingdom reached the highest economic growth, prosperity and peace, with trade and development being the highest priority for the wise woman.




  • Colossi of Memnon are the remnants of a mortuary temple, the gigantic statues, 60 feet in height, weighing approximately 720 tons. Visiting this sight can be a brief stop on your way to the Valley of the Kings.



Abydos & Dendera


If the time allows - a day trip to Abydos and Dendera from Luxor would be recommended.


  • The temple of Seti I is probably one of the most important archeological sites in Ancient Egypt, also known as a pilgrimage of the worshipers of God Osiris, located in Abydos.


  • Dendera Temple of Hathor, in my opinion, is the most feminine temples I’ve experienced in Egypt. Upon entering the site you will be mesmerized by the vibrancy of colors preserved over time. It is also the place where the ceiling panel depicts the first ever known zodiac - so called Zodiac of Dendera.




Upon 2-3 days of exploring Luxor you can embark on a 5-star cruise. What we did with Sonestra.


We checked-in on the cruise in the afternoon with the final destination - Aswan


 

Recommended itinerary


Based on my experience I would recommend two alternative options of how you could explore Egypt. Option 1 with includes time in Cairo, Option 2 provides opportunity to be part of Serenity retreat in Luxor


At Pyramids

Serenity in Luxor

Day 1 Arriving to Cairo or Giza

Day 1 Flight to Luxor

Day 2-3 Exploring Pyramids and Museums

Day 4 Flight Cairo - Luxor

Day 7-8 Night at Winter Palace

Day 5-8 Exploring Luxor

Day 9 Boarding on the Nile Cruise

Day 9 Boarding on the Nile Cruise

Day 10-12 Sailing to Aswan

Day 10-12 Sailing to Aswan

Day 13-14 Exploring Aswan

Day 13-14 Exploring Aswan


 

General recommendations when traveling to Egypt


More travel information you could certainly source from the dedicated pages of your home country Ministry of Foreign Affairs / your Embassy in Cairo:

  • Egyptian currency is Egyptian Pound. While credit cards - VISA, MasterCard - works just perfectly fine across the country it is always recommended to have some small bills for tipping and minor purchases. For some of the antique works I collect, including books, paintings and silver items I sometimes pay in US dollars as well.

  • When you arrive to Cairo airport you will need to purchase a visa (always check in advance if you need to do any applications before arriving to the country). You can do this in one of the bank kiosks located next to the immigration area. The visa on arrival fee as of today (June 2021) is USD 25. You will need to pay cash - in USD or Egyptian Pounds. If you pay in USD and require change - it will be given to you in local currency.

  • Traffic is hectic and you might encounter some traffic jams commuting in Cairo and between Cairo and Giza - plan ahead.

  • I always use Uber when in Cairo, preferably the Comfort one as the service is more professional, with cleaner cars.




Next to read:




38 views

Recent Posts

See All