Side Trips

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is a set of two temples near the border of Egypt with Sudan. It was constructed for the pharaoh Ramses II who reigned for 67 years, the temple was built 3000 years ago. The temples were cut from the rock and shifted to higher ground in the 1960s as the waters of Lake Nasser began to rise following completion of the Aswan High Dam. The Great Temple is dedicated to Ramses II and a statue of him is seated with three other gods within the innermost part of the rock-cut temple (the sanctuary). The temple’s facade is dominated by four enormous seated statues of the Pharaoh (each over 20 metres or 67 feet high), although one has been damaged since ancient times.

Abu Simbel

Meidum

Just across from the Fayoum in the Nile Valley, south of Cairo, Meidum is a tower shaped structure some sixty-five meters high that was once a pyramid built by the 4th Dynasty King, Snefru (Sneferu, Snofru). Meidum is the most mysterious of all the great Pyramids. The early locals of this century called the Meidum Pyramid “false pyramid” and because of its form, it looked like a huge, five stepped mountain. However, it eroded so badly that the pyramid seemed to have only three levels. But it was not weather that eroded it so, but human beings. In the mid-1920s, Borchardt made his way to Meidum and after mere days in the field, accumulated so much information on the pyramid that it filled an entire book which is still highly regarded today on the basis of the ruins, a corridor leading toward the pyramid from the southeast, which Petrie had earlier discovered in 1910. Because of the marshy terrain and the high water level, the valley temple belonging to this pyramid has not yet been found. Snefru’s residential city of Djedsnefru (which means “Snefru endures”) was probably located east of it. This is almost certainly the oldest known example of a cult pyramid.

Meidum

St Catherine

Day 1: Pick up from hotel in Sharm El Sheikh and drive in an A/C vehicle through Sinai Mountains to St Catherine.

Day 2: Upon arrival in St Catherine we prepare ourselves for the great climb of Mt Sinai to see the sunrise. After viewing the spectacular sunrise, we start descending the mountain to enjoy a buffet breakfast at a hotel at the floor of Mt Sinai, drive to visit the monastery of St Catherine. Transfer back to Sharm El Sheikh and drop off at your hotel in Sharm. Located at the foot of Mountain Moses, St Catherine’s monastery was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565.It is built around what is thought to be Moses Burning Mush, which has a chapel built a top it. It is spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Roman icons. Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, dine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Ceasar Alexander II in the nineteenth century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the sevententh century. Perhaps even greater significance is that it is the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts (the vatican has the largest).Tthe collection consists of some 35,000 columns of Greek, Coptic, Arabic, American, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages. Around the year 1850, the fourth century Codex Sinaiticus, which is now in the British Museum in London, was discovered here. The Monastery even has a small 10th or 11th century mosque which was probably built to appease the islamic authorities of the time. There is also a small chapel (the Chapel of Triphone, also known as the Skull House) which houses the skulls of deceased monks.

Alexandria

After breakfast transfer to Alexandria, by an air conditioned car or bus, Alexandria was named after Alexander the Great, it is Egypt second biggest city, it is a semi circle city on the sea, with lots of Roman remains, so you will visit Catacombs of Kom El Shuqafa, Pompeii pillar, the Roman theatre and the newly opened Alexandria library. In antiquity the library was the largest and most important library in the world. Transfer back by an air conditioned car or bus.

Alexandria

Bahariya and White desert

Day 1 (Let our safari begin): Leaving Cairo behind, we start a 350-km off road safari to Barariya Oasis. The desert Known as the Sahara and covering over 95 % of Egypt, it’s really a multi-faceted environment, unique and rarely visited. Finally BAHARIYA, home of the Valley of the Golden Mummies. Upon reaching Bahareya oasis, we tour the city, have lunch, visit the museum, the funerary temple of Baouiti, the tombs of Bonnentoui & Zed Amoun El Ankh, temple of Alexander the great, tombs of the nobles and the English mountain. Later We enjoy bathing in the hot waters of the spring, overnight at Qasr El Bawiti Hotel (L,D).

Day 2 (Bahariya and Desert day): We’ll plunge deep into the desert again! The Black Desert and its volcanic remains; the White Desert and its unusual limestone formations; Crystal Mountain. Unique oases, mummies, Roman ghost towns and pottery: the day will make the desert come alive as no book or video could ever do! At sunset we explore the formations that resemble the surface of a different planet, the night is spent camping in the White Desert. (B,L,D)

Day 3 (Back to Cairo): After early Breakfast, we tour the white desert, after lunch, we return to Cairo (B)

Bahariya and White desert

Siwa and Bahareya

Duration: 5 nights/6 days (Cairo, Marsa Matruh, Siwa, Bahareya, Cairo):

Day 01 (Cairo/Marsa Matruh): Drive from Cairo to Wadi El Natrun, visit Wadi El Natrun, drive to El Alamein, visit El Alamein Battle field cemetery & military museum, drive to Marsa Matruh, overnight in Marsa Matruh (FB).

Day 02 (Marsa Matruh/Siwa): Drive from Marsa Matruh to Siwa, visit Shali, the old city of Siwa, Fatnas, overnight in Siwa (FB).

Day 03 (Siwa): Visit Oracle of Amun, mountain of the Dead, Cleopatra’s Bath, olives & palm gardens, overnight in Siwa (FB).

Day 04 (Siwa): Drive West to Bahai El Din to see the handcraft, then the beautiful Shitai Oasis, then south to the Great San Sea till Siwa, overnight in Siwa (FB).

Day 05 (Siwa/Bahareya): Drive to Bahareya Oasis, visit El Bishmo, visit the Gardens on Bir El Ghaba, overnight Bahareya Oasis.

Day 06 (Bahareya/Cairo): Visit the Market, the old Village, drive to Cairo via Wadi El Rayan and visit Wadi El Rayan en route, lunch on the way from Bahareya to Cairo, P.M. Arrive Cairo.

iwa and Bahareya

Lebanon

Day 1 (Beirut): Full day sightseeing tour ,visit Beirut historic city center with its Roman excavations , drive by the cornice with a short stop at grotto au pigeons the the National Museum , continue to visit deir el kamar then Beit Eddine, traditional Lebanese architecture palace with its Arcades and Galleries, also the Byzantine Mosaics Museum, lunch en route.

Day 2 (Baalback): Full day sightseeing to visit Baalback (city ot the sun) with its gigantic complex of roman temple (Jupiter , Venus & Bacchus ) with the tallest column ever erected , then to Clos ST. Thomas winery & caves with wine testing, typical lebanese lunch en route.

Day3 (Bablos): Full day sightseeing to visit Bablos.

Lebanon