Best of Egypt and Turkey
DAY 1 – Fri: Arrive in Cairo
Arrival in the Land of the Pharaohs, at Cairo International airport, Flo Tours Representative will be waiting for you after you get your luggage and clear customs, then escorted to your hotel.
DAY 2 – Sat: Cairo, Pyramids Tour [B, L]
Drive to the Giza Plateau, home of Egypt signature attractions, the Great Pyramids, proclaimed by the Greeks to be among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The largest among these is the Great Pyramid of Cheops, probably built more than 2,600 years before the time of Christ. Standing 480 feet tall this is the last of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world that still standing. Little is known of Cheops, you`ll also see the inscrutable and mysterious Sphinx, known in Arabic as Abu al-Hol (“the Father of Terror”) and carved almost entirely from one piece of limestone.
After lunch, continue to Memphis. Founded around 3,100 BC, is the legendary city of Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Early on, Memphis was more likely a fortress from which Menes controlled the land and water routes between Upper Egypt and the Delta. Having probably originated in Upper Egypt, from Memphis he could control the conquered people of Lower Egypt. However, by the Third Dynasty, the building at Saqqara suggests that Memphis had become a sizable city.
Proceed to Sakkara site, Sakkara is one section of the great necropolis of Memphis, the Old Kingdom capital and the kings of the 1st Dynasty as well as that of the 2nd Dynasty. are mostly buried in this section of the Memphis necropolis. It has been of constant interest to Egyptologists. Three major discoveries have recently been made at Sakkara, including a prime minister tomb, a queens pyramid, and the tomb of the son of a dynasty-founding king. Each discovery has a fascinating story, with many adventures for the archaeologists as they revealed the secrets of the past.
DAY 3 – Sun: Cairo City Tour [B-L]
Start your day with a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum you’ll stroll through the halls highlighting each historical period of this ancient land, Marvel at the glittering treasures of King Tutankhamen, unparalleled in their variety, exquisite beauty, and sheer weight in gold. Seeing this treasure of more than 1,700 fabulous items buried with a young and relatively unimportant king, who can even imagine what the tombs of great and long-lived pharaohs must have contained? You may want to enter the Royal Mummies room for an additional fee and view the “sleeping” Kings of ancient Egypt.
After lunch at local restaurant, Proceed to Old Cairo explore some of the early religious monuments of the city. You’ll visit the El Muallaqa Church, dating to the late fourth and early fifth century. This basilica was named for its location on top of the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. Muallaqa means “suspended or hanging.” Destroyed in a IX Century earthquake, the church became the center of the Coptic (or Christian) Church of Egypt from the time it was rebuilt in the eleventh century until the XIV Century. Make a stop at the Ben Ezra Synagogue, built sometime between the VI and IX Centuries AD. The temple contains a Jewish Heritage Library, containing documents found here in 1896 that describe the economic and social conditions of Jews under Arab rule as well as descriptions of relations between various Jewish sects.
End the day with a walking tour of the largest XIII Century covered oriental market, the largest traditional shopping bazaar in the world, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar. In the tiny alleyways, there are hundreds of shops where you can watch gold and coppersmiths, brass makers, and fortune tellers at work. Look also for leather goods and woodwork inlaid with camel bone and mother-of-pearl. Bargaining, Arab-style, is the norm here, and practiced as a national pastime.
DAY 4 – Mon: Cairo, Luxor, Embark on a Nile Cruise [B-L-D]
Early morning transfer to Cairo airport for your flight to Luxor. Upon arrival transfer to your deluxe Nile Cruise where you will spend the next 4 nights / 5 days. After Lunch, you will visit Karnak Temple, In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramesses III, more than two thirds of the property owned by the temples belonged to Amun, evidenced by the stupendous buildings at Karnak. Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest temple complex ever built by man, and represents the combined achievement of many generations of ancient builders. The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometers north of Luxor, Egypt situated on 100 ha (247 acres) of land. Karnak is actually the sites modern name. Its ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning “The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places”. This vast complex was built and enlarged over a thirteen hundred year period. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls.
Proceed to visit the Temple of Luxor, built by the two pharaohs, Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Ancient Thebes was a center of festivals, and the Temple of Luxor was the setting for the most important-the festival of Opet, designed to merge the ruler`s human and divine aspects. The temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra, whose marriage to Mut was celebrated annually, when the sacred procession moved by boat from Karnak to Luxor Temple overnight in Luxor.
DAY 5 – Tue: Luxor, West Bank Tour [B-L-D]
Breakfast, than visit The West Bank, starting with Valley of the Kings, with its many tombs chiseled deep into the Cliffside. From the 18th to the 20th Dynasty, the Memphis area and pyramid-style tombs were abandoned in favor of the West Bank of the Nile in Thebes. Several great leaders as well as many less important rulers are buried here, and more tombs are being discovered even today. This is where Howard Carter discovered the treasures of Tutankhamen and was struck dumb with amazement when he be held its wonderful things in 1922.
Proceed to The funerary temple of Queen Hatshipsut at Deir El Bahari. The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The queens architect, Senenmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, the Lover of Silence where the goddess who presided over the necropolis lived.
Last stop will be at the Colossi of Memnon. Amenhotep III (18th Dynasty) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 23 meter (75 ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive, back to the cruise for lunch, rest of the day to relax on your boat, overnight in Luxor.
DAY 6 – Wed: Luxor, Edfu, Kom Ombo [B-L-D]
Early morning, start sailing to Edfu and visit Edfu Temple, also known as the Temple of Horus, the falcon-god, (237 B.C.) considered the best-preserved temple in Ancient Egypt and the second largest after the Temple of Karnak. Dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god, it was built during the reigns of six Ptolemies. We have a great deal of information about its construction from reliefs on outer areas. It was begun in 237 BC by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and was finished in 57 BC. Most of the work continued throughout this period with a brief interlude of 20 years while there was unrest during the period of Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V Epiphanes. This is not only the best preserved ancient temple in Egypt, but the second largest after Karnak. It was believed that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth. Hence, the current temple was but the last in a long series of temples build on this location.
Sail to Kom Ombo and overnight in Kom Ombo.
DAY 7 – Thu: Kom Ombo, Aswan, Abu Simbel Tour (optional) [B-L-D]
We will start our day by visiting the Kom Ombo Temple (the Ptolemaic Temple of Sobek & Haroeries). Located in the town of Kom-Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.
Then we will sail to Aswan to visit the High Dam. Located near Aswan, the world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam built by the British between 1898 and 1902, 6 km down river, wonderful views for visitors. From the top of the two Mile High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nassar, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha temple in the south and the huge power station to the north.
Proceed to the Unfinished Obelisk, much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the world’s largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by its builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed. The site has recently been renovated and equipped with tourist facilities.
Last stop will be at the Philae Temple, Philae Temple was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the High Dam. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. Its various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebo Ii which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan’s Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. The Victorian world fell in love with the romance of the Temple. But at night you can add the optional (Sound and Light Show A14), a magical experience. Sail around The Botanical Garden by Felucca, overnight in Aswan.
Optional tour Abu Simbel tour by air or bus: Situated 174 miles southwest of Aswan. Exploring the magnificent monuments carved into solid rock 3,000 years ago. In a monumental feat of modern engineering, these massive temples were moved to their present location when construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960 created Lake Nasser and flooded their original location. This extraordinary operation to save one of the world’s greatest treasures took years and the efforts of an international team of engineers and archaeologists. The two temples at Abu Simbel were built by Egypt’s great Pharaoh Ramses II (Egypt’s longest-ruling king) as a tribute to the deities and his favorite wife Nefertari. Four colossal statues, 60 feet high and directly facing the rising sun, are of the pharaoh himself, with his queen and daughters at his feet. More tremendous statues surround you as you enter the temple. And in the very depths of the temple, Ramses sits in state flanked by the gods to whom the construction is dedicated. Fly to Cairo, arrival and transfer to your hotel.
DAY 8 – Fri: Aswan, Cairo [B]
After breakfast, check out and transfer to Aswan airport for your flight to Cairo. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is at your leisure in Cairo!! Overnight in Cairo.
DAY 9 – Sat: Free day in Cairo [B]
After breakfast, free day at leisure in Cairo. Overnight in Cairo.
DAY 10 – Sun: Cairo – Istanbul [B]
Transfer to Cairo International Airport for your onward flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Arrival in Istanbul and meeting at the airport. This afternoon, we will visit Hagia Sophia the Byzantine church which was converted to a mosque in XV Century. Later, you will visit the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar): The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme etc. Later we will join a boat trip on the Bosphorus, a traditional excursion by boat along the waterway separating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. After the tour, transfer to the hotel, check-in. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 11 – Mon: Istanbul Old City tour [B]
Visit to Topkapi Palace, which was used by the Ottoman Sultans from the XV and XIX Centuries. We will also see the impressive collection of priceless jewels, crystal, silver and porcelain, robes worn by the sultans and relics of the prophet Mohammed. (entrance to the Harem is extra). After lunch break we will see the Blue Mosque, built for Sultan Ahmet I, which is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles. Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Walk through the back streets of Old Istanbul. At the end of the tour, at request, free time to see the Grand Covered Bazaar. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 12 – Tue: Istanbul- Cappadocia [B,L]
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel and transfer to Istanbul Airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Transfer to Cappadocia. Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia. Drive to to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos )- Sobessos is newly discovered (01 May 2002) mosaic houses & Archaeological excavation site. Villages in the valleys, surrounded by the “table top” mountains, are spectacular. Continue with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides it’s frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer which we can only see by torch light. Lunch break. Visit to Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old Greek houses; very fine examples of late Greek settlements and architecture. Visit to Saruhan Caravanserai, a roadside inn where travellers could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across a network of trade routes of Asia, North Africa and South-Eastern Europe on the legendary Silk Road and the Spice road. Continue with panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations, is in the heart of Cappadocia but away from the tourist crowd. Overnight in Cappadocia.
DAY 13 – Wed: Cappadocia [B,L]
In the morning, first meeting with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia: rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley; a journey in the past with its troglodyte houses, visit to Pasabag “fairy chimneys” where the voice of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve. Lunch break in Avanos, centre of terracotta work of art since 3000 BC. and a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop. Afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (X to XII Century). Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia. Overnight Cappadocia.
DAY 14 – Thu: Cappadocia – Ephesus [B,D]
Take the morning flight from Kayseri to İzmir (direct or via Istanbul). Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign. Transfer to Ephesus. Visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. We will spend several hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Cicero, Apostles Paul and John and many other familiar historical names. The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry included) where the wealthiest Romans lived are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and presentation. The mosaics and frescos are spectacular. Tradition has it that Virgin Mary was brought here by St John after the Crucifixion and lived her final years near the city of Ephesus on an isolated mountaintop. A lovely chapel is constructed on the site tended by Franciscans and open to visitors. It has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope. We will continue with Saint John Church where Apostle John spent his final years and he was buried. Visit to temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Overnight Kusadasi near Ephesus.
DAY 15 – Fri: Ephesus – Istanbul [B]
Transfer to Izmir Airport for your short flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Istanbul.
DAY 16 – Sat: Departure from Istanbul [B]
Transfer to Istanbul Airport for your departure flight.