Sharm el-Sheikh – The 12th day of Your Egypt Vacation At the Best Hotel in the Area – St Catherine Plaza Hotel
The simplicity of sun, sea and sand. The luxury of five-star hotels, water sports, shopping and entertainment. This is Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai peninsula. All around are Bedouins, colorful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes belonging to International chains, plus about all the amenities one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. In fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from boredom.
Four miles south the southern section of the town stands on a cliff overlooking the port. and is a great view. Na’ama Beach is one of the center of the tourist activities. Located just north of Sharm, this area is developing into a resort town of its own. Most hotels at Na’ama Bay have their own, private beaches with comfortable amenities such as chairs, shades and even bars.
Shark’s Bay is also nearby, and again is a growing resort community with more and more to offer, along with several diving centers.
The small harbor known as Sharm el-Moiya is located next to the civil harbor, has accommodations for boats, and includes a Yacht Club with rooms.
For those who live to shop, the Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books.
It has been said that this is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts. There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani.
Pharaohs – Day 2 of Your Egypt Holiday in a Private and Exclusive Tour of the Egyptian Museum
The Kings of Egypt were not called Pharaohs by the ancient Egyptians. This word was used by the Greeks and Hebrews, and today is commonly used for the ancient Kings of Egypt. We really do not know how many kings ruled in Egypt, for at times in its ancient past the country was split up, and there were at least several kings at the same time. There was also probably kings who ruled regions of Egypt before recorded history, and in fact, several ancient historians record legendary Pharaohs who became Egyptian gods.
The Kings (Pharaohs) of Ancient Egypt
The title of “Pharaoh” actually comes to us from the Greek language and its use in the Old Testament. It originates in the Egyptian Per-aa, meaning “Great House”, a designation of the palace, which first came to be used as a label for the king around 1450 BC, though it only became common usage some centuries later. For most of the time, the usual word for the king of ancient Egypt was nesu, but a whole range of titles were applicable to any full statement of a king’s names and titulary.
According to Egyptian legend, the first kings of Egypt were later some of Egypt’s most famous gods. We really do not know whether some of these individuals actually existed in human form or what regions of Egypt they may have ruled over. Only at the end of the Predynastic period, prior to the unification of Egypt, can we recognize specific kings who most likely ruled over either northern or southern Egypt. According to many sources, the first real king of Egypt, therefore ruling over the unified land, was Menes , who would have ruled Egypt around 3100 BC, but we have little if any archaeological basis for this name. Most scholars today believe that he may have been a king named Narmer , or more likely still, Aha , two figures that are better attested in the archaeological record. However, enes might have also been a legendary composition of several rulers. After these first rulers of a unified Egypt, the Egyptian monarchy lasted in a recognizable form for over three thousand years, basically ending with Cleopatra , though even Roman emperors attempted to style themselves as Egyptian pharaohs. We know of 170 or more specific pharaohs during this period of time. Although many changes occurred during that time, almost all of the fundamentals remained the same.
Kings were not only males, and unlike in modern monarchies, the ruler of ancient Egypt, whether male or female, was always called a king. In fact, Egypt had some very noteworthy female rulers such as Hatshepsut and others.
In ancient (Pharaonic) Egypt, the pinnacle of Egyptian society, and indeed of religion, was the king. Below him were the layers of the educated bureaucracy which consisted of nobles, priests and civil servants, and under them were the great mass of common people, usually living very poor, agricultural based lives. Except during the earliest of themes, when the highest official was apparently a Chancellor, for most of Egyptian history, the man or men just under the king were Viziers , (tjaty), a position that was roughly similar to a modern Prime Minister.
In many if not most accounts, the king is viewed as an incarnation of Horus , a falcon god, and the posthumous son of Osiris , who himself was a divine king slain by his brother, Seth . Horus fought his uncle for the return of the throne, and part of the accession process of the king was the proper burial of his predecessor, as Horus carrying out the last rites of Osiris. In fact, there are a number of cases where such an act may have been the legal basis for a non-royal figure’s ascent of the throne. However, more usual was the succession of the eldest son, whose status as heir was frequently, if not always, proclaimed during his father’s lifetime. Furthermore, there were a number of instances where this was taken a step further by the heir’s coronation as a co-regent prior to the father’s death. This has actually led to much confusion among scholars, because in some cases, the young heir began to count his regnal years only after the death of his father, while in other instances, he started to do so from the moment of his coronation. The ancient Egyptians did not use era dating as we do today (BC or AD), but rather relied on regnal dating of the king’s rule, and therefore potential difficulties for modern, if not ancient, historians can easily be imagined.
The king himself (or herself) was the figure upon whom the whole administrative structure of the state rested. These god-kings usually commanded tremendous resources. The Pharaoh was the head of the civil administration, the supreme warlord and the chief priest of every god in the kingdom. All offerings were made in his name and the entire priesthood acted in his stead. In fact, he was himself a divine being, considered the physical offspring of a god. The myth of the ruler’s divine birth centered on the god assuming the form of (or becoming incarnate in) the king’s father, who then impregnated his wife, who accordingly bore the divine ruler.
Of course, the king was also subject to some rather grave responsibilities. Through his dealings with the gods, he was tasked with keeping the order, or ma’at of the land, and therefore keeping out chaos, often in the form of the enemies of Egypt from foreign lands. But he was also responsible for making sufficient offerings and otherwise satisfying the gods so that they would bless Egypt with a bountiful Nile flood , and therefore a good enough harvest to feed his people. When he failed at these tasks, he could bear not only blame, but a weakening of the state and thus his power. In drastic cases, such as at the end of the Old Kingdom , this could actually lead to a complete collapse of the Egyptian state.
Even today, many questions remain about the kings of ancient Egypt. We have a fairly good idea of their order through time, though often scholars disagree about specific dates related to our current form of the calendar. Our evidence of their order comes mostly from various “kings’ lists, that almost exclusively were made during the New Kingdom . Another source is the Egyptian history written by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, but over the years, there have been modifications to both the kings’ lists and Manetho’s history made through archaeological discovery. Nevertheless, there are periods of Egyptian history, particularly those known as intermediate periods, where very little information exits on who ruled (usually only a part of) Egypt.
Basically, Manetho divided up ancient Egyptian history into thirty dynasties, though this division is a bit difficult, and modern scholarship has proven it to be not completely (and sometimes not at all) accurate. Most of the time, a dynasty consisted of a related family of rulers, though sometimes dynasties seem to have been broken up due to the establishment of a new capital. In a number of instances, modern Egyptologists believe that he may have been incorrect about the end of a family line.
Even today, the power that an ancient Egyptian pharaoh commanded in ancient Egypt and the resources under his control can seem staggering. One need only think in terms of the Great Pyramids , the wealth of gold and the grand temples to gain some understanding of their power. They commanded resources that many modern day states would be hard pressed to emulate, and they did so at a time when much of the remainder of the ancient world were struggling for a foothold in history.
Best Pharaoh Tours of Egypt Private Access to the Egyptian Museum Meditate inside The Great Pyramid on a Beyond First Class Egyptian Holiday with Luxury Cruise down the Nile River.
Pyramids – Private and Exclusive Visit on Day 3 of Your Egypt Holiday
Walk inside the Great Spiritual Pyramid of Egypt, no other tourists are allowed and participate in a Guided Meditation in the Great Pyramid while the area is closed to the public. This meditation will energise your Mind, Body & Soul.
A once in a lifetime experience.
During Egypt’s Old Kingdom (time line), the pharaohs established a stable central government in the fertile Nile Valley. Perhaps the greatest testaments to their power were the pyramids and other tombs built to shelter them in the afterlife.
Kings of the Dead
Ancient Egyptians believed that when the pharaoh died, he became Osiris, king of the dead. The new pharaoh became Horus, god of the heavens and protector of the sun god. This cycle was symbolized by the rising and setting of the sun.
Some part of a dead pharaoh’s spirit, called his ka, was believed to remain with his body. And it was thought that if the corpse did not have proper care, the former pharaoh would not be able to carry out his new duties as king of the dead. If this happened, the cycle would be broken and disaster would befall Egypt.
To prevent such a catastrophe, each dead pharaoh was mummified, which preserved his body. Everything the king would need in his afterlife was provided in his grave-vessels made of clay, stone, and gold, furniture, food, even doll-like representations of servants, known as ushabti. His body would continue to receive food offerings long after his death.
Tombs Fit for Kings
To shelter and safeguard the part of a pharaoh’s soul that remained with his corpse, Egyptians built massive tombs – but not always pyramids.
Before the pyramids, tombs were carved into bedrock and topped by flat-roofed structures called mastabas. Mounds of dirt, in turn, sometimes topped the structures.
The pyramid shape of later tombs could have come from these mounds. More likely, Egyptian pyramids were modeled on a sacred, pointed stone called the benben. The benben symbolized the rays of the sun; ancient texts claimed that pharaohs reached the heavens via sunbeams.
Who Built the Pyramids?
Contrary to some popular depictions, the pyramid builders were not slaves or foreigners. Excavated skeletons show that they were Egyptians who lived in villages developed and overseen by the pharaoh’s supervisors.
The builders’ villages boasted bakers, butchers, brewers, granaries, houses, cemeteries, and probably even some sorts of health-care facilities-there is evidence of laborers surviving crushed or amputated limbs. Bakeries excavated near the Great Pyramids could have produced thousands of loaves of bread every week.
Some of the builders were permanent employees of the pharaoh. Others were conscripted for a limited time from local villages. Some may have been women: Although no depictions of women builders have been found, some female skeletons show wear that suggests they labored with heavy stone for long periods of time.
Graffiti indicates that at least some of these workers took pride in their work, calling their teams “Friends of Khufu,” “Drunkards of Menkaure,” and so on-names indicating allegiances to pharaohs.
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years. Much of the work probably happened while the River Nile was flooded.
Huge limestone blocks could be floated from quarries right to the base of the Pyramids. The stones would likely then be polished by hand and pushed up ramps to their intended positions.
It took more than manual labor, though. Architects achieved an accurate pyramid shape by running ropes from the outer corners up to the planned summit, to make sure the stones were positioned correctly. And priests-astronomers helped choose the pyramids’ best sites and orientations, so that they would be on the appropriate axis in relation to sacred constellations.
From stone pusher to priest, every worker would likely have recognized his or her role in continuing the life-and-death cycle of the pharaohs, and thereby in perpetuating the glory of Egypt.
Luxor – Exclusive and Private Visit on Day 8 of Your Egypt Vacation
The name Luxor represents both the present-day metropolis that was ancient The bes, and the temple on the eastern bank which adjoins the town. “Luxor” derives from the Arabic al-uksur, meaning “fortifications”. That name in addition was adapted from the Latin castrum which referred to the Roman fort built around the temple in the later third century AD. The temple of Luxor has, since its inception, always been a sacred site. After Egypt’s pagan period, a Christian church and monastery was located here, and after that, a mosque (13th century Mosque of Abu el-Haggag) was built that continues to be used today.
In ancient Egypt the temple area now known as Luxor was called Ipt rsyt, the “southern sanctuary”, referring to the holy of holies at the temple’s southern end, wherein the principal god, Amun “preeminent in his sanctuary”, dwelt. His name was later shortened to Amenemope. This Amun was a fertility god, and his statue was modeled on that of the similarly Min of Coptos. He also has strong connections to both Karnak and West Thebes.
Known in ancient times as “the private sanctuary (Opet) of the south,” the temple proper is located south of Karnak. The present temple is built on a rise that has never been excavated and which may conceal the original foundations. The early building may rest on a no longer visible older structure dating back to the 12th Dynasty. However, since neither the cult nor any part of the temple appears to predate the early 18th Dynasty; the few Middle Kingdom fragments found here more probably came from elsewhere and were transported to Luxor after the original buildings were dismantled.
The earliest reference to the temple comes from a pair of stelae left at Maasara quarry, in the hills east of Memphis, inscribed in regnal year 22 of the reign of Ahmose, c. 1550 BC. The text records the extraction of limestone for a number of temples including the “Mansion of Amun in the Southern Sanctuary.” But structural evidence appears at Luxor only during the co-rule of Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III c 1500 BC. These elements are now built into the triple shrine erected by Ramesses II, c 1280 BC, the most substantial remnant of Luxor temple’s Tuthmosid phase. The shrine was erected inside the first court, in the northwest corner, and reused elements from the original chapel dedicated by Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III.. This small building had been the last of six barque stations built along the road that brought Amun and his entourage from Karnak to Luxor every year during the Opet Festival.
We also know that Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) built a sanctuary to the sun next to the Luxor Temple that was later destroyed by Horemheb.
We also know that Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) built a sanctuary to the sun next to the Luxor Temple that was later destroyed by Horemheb. The temple we see today was built essentially by two kings, Amenhotep III, (the inner part), and Ramesses II, (the outer part). The overall length of the temple between the pylon and rear wall measures about 189.89 by 55.17 meters (623 by 181 feet).
The original function of the temple of Luxor, apparently dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut and their son Khonsu, appears uncertain. However, recent hypotheses suggest that the temple of Luxor, a collection of irregularly developed structures begun during the reign of Amenhotep III and then expanded, particularly by Ramesses II, and still further enlarged in later years, should be considered a sanctuary dedicated to the celebration of the royal ka.
Hence, Luxor Temple was the power base of the living divine king, and the foremost national shrine of the king’s cult. This doctrine of divine kingship separated the Egyptians from their neighbors in Mesopotamia and from the later medieval “divine selection and right of kings” of Europe.
Plan of Luxor Temple
Kingship was believed to be ordained by the gods at the beginning of time in accordance with ma’at., the well-ordered state, truth, justice, cosmic order. The reigning king was also the physical son of the Creator sun-god. This divine conception and birth was recorded on the walls of Luxor Temple, at Deir el-Bahari, and other royal cult temples throughout Egypt. The king was also an incarnation of the dynastic god Horus, and when deceased, the king was identified with the father of Horus, Osiris. This living king was thus a unique entity, the living incarnation of deity, divinely chosen intermediary, who could act as priest for the entire nation, reciting the prayers, dedicating the sacrifices.
A road was built in the 18th Dynasty to link Karnak to the north with Luxor to the south. Although the position of this road must have coincided with the avenue seen in front of Luxor temple today, the latter, along with the sphinxes flanking it, date to the reign of Nectanebo I in the 30th Dynasty. However, we believe that Nectanebo I only refurbished the road and lined it with new sphinxes. The mudbrick ruins on either side of the road are all that remains of the town of Luxor during the later and post-Dynastic periods.
There was a girdle wall built around the temple that consisted of independent massifs of sun-dried brick abutting at their ends, built of courses set on a triple system that ran concave horizontal concave.
The gate through which one would pass from the avenue to the esplanade in front of the temple was constructed after the Dynastic period, for the brick wall around this courtyard is contemporary with the Roman fort built around the temple at the beginning of the 4th century AD. Substantial remains of the walls, gates, and pillared stone avenues, can be seen east and west of the temple. Buildings used in this transformation and which no longer exist in whole include a chapel dedicated to Hathor that was erected during the 25th dynasty reign of Taharqa and a colonnade of Shabaka, later dismantled. A modest mudbrick shrine dedicated to Serapis during Hadrian’s reign and which still contains a statue of Isis survives at the court’s northwest corner.
Two red granite obelisks originally stood in front of the first pylon at the rear of the forecourt, but only one, more than 25 meters (75 feet) high, now remains. The other was removed to Paris where it now stands in the center of the Place de la Concorde. These obelisks were not of the same height, and they were not on the ame alignment, probably to make up in perspective for this difference in height.
Six colossal statues of Ramesses II, two of them seated, flanked the entrance, though today only the two seated ones have survived. The one to the east was known as “Ruler of the Two Lands”.
Although Amenhotep III built the temple proper, it is fronted by a 24 meter high pylon of Ramesses II. The pylon and the courtyard beyond, also built by Ramesses II, is oddly out of alignment with the axis established by the other pre-existent buildings. This non-alignment may have resulted from consideration for the small shrine built during the reigns of Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut. Some scholars also think that the alignment may have been made so that the pylon would be on the same axis as the processional way leading to the Karnak Temple. Reliefs and texts on the outside of the first pylon relate the story, in sunk reliefs, of the battle of Qadesh against the Hittites. Other later kings, particularly those of the Nubian Dynasty, also recorded their military victories on these walls (Shabaka on the inner pylon walls). The pylon towers once supported four enormous cedar-wood flag masts from which pennants streamed.
Sphinx – Day 3 of Your First Class Egypt Vacation (Private and Exclusive)
Our last group and how Private, Exclusive and Up Close you really get
The Sphinx of Giza is a symbol that has represented the essence of Egypt for thousands of years. Even with all of the pictures that we see of the Sphinx, nothing can really prepare you for the time that you finally see the Sphinx with your own eyes. Here’s a look at the Sphinx that will give you a hint of what you can expect to see if you visit Egypt.
Carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, the Sphinx is truly a mysterious marvel from the days of ancient Egypt. The body of a lion with the head of a king or god, the sphinx has come to symbolize strength and wisdom.
From the north side the profile of the Sphinx reveals the proportion of the body to the head. It would appear as though the head is small in proportion to the body. Because of the changing desert terrain, the body of the Sphinx has been buried several times over the past several thousand years. Most recently in 1905, the sand has been cleared away to expose the magnitude and beauty of the entirety of the Sphinx. The paws themselves are 50 feet long (15m) while the entire length is 150 feet (45m). The head is 30 (10m) feet long and 14 feet (4m) wide. Because certain layers of the stone are softer than others, there is a high degree of erosion that has claimed the original detail of the carved figure.
The most popular and current theory of the builder of the Sphinx holds that it was commissioned by the 4th Dynasty King, Khafre (2558-2532 BCE).Khafre was one of the sons of Khufu (AKA Cheops).The Sphinx lines up with the Pyramid of Khafre at the foot of its causeway.
As one rounds the northeast corner to the front of the Sphinx, the alignment of the two structures becomes more apparent. Although the head of the Sphinx is badly battered in some places, traces of the original paint can still be seen near one ear. Originally it is believed that the Sphinx was painted and was quite colorful. Since then, the nose and beard have been broken away. The nose was the unfortunate victim of target practice by the Turks in the Turkish period. It is often erroneously assumed that the nose was shot off by Napoleon’s men, but 18th century drawings reveal that the nose was missing long before Napoleon’s arrival.
Interestingly, to some, the features of the face of the Sphinx bear a far more striking resemblance to an older brother of Khafre, the Pharaoh Djedefre (AKA Radjedef). Djedefre’s short lived reign occurred just prior to the reign of Khafre. Unlike Khafre, Khafre’s father and later Khafre’s brother Menkaure, Djedefre did not construct his pyramid on the Giza plateau. Instead Djedefre built his pyramid at Abu Roash where it now lies badly damaged. Some believe that Khafre usurped the throne of Djedefre and then built his pyramid and Sphinx at Giza.
A German Egyptologist has even suggested that the Sphinx was built by the father of Khafre, King Khufu, who was also the builder of the Great Pyramid.
Recently, the Sphinx has undergone a major restoration effort, done solely by Egyptians. Here is how the back right paw appears after this fine work. The top of the paw was purposely left unfinished, which demonstrates the difference between the original rock and the quality of the restoration. Also notice the tail of the Sphinx which wraps around this right side. The left or North side of the Sphinx was restored last, and here is how the left paw appears now. Notice how carved bricks were use to perform the restoration. These were hand cut and carefully fitted into place by modern day Egyptian craftsmen and rock cutters.
In between the paws of the Sphinx is a stela, now called the “Dream Stela”, which is inscribed with a story. The 18th Dynasty story tells of the time that Thutmosis IV fell asleep under the Sphinx which was covered to the neck in sand. Thutmosis had a dream that the Sphinx spoke to him and promised that if he would free the Sphinx from the sand, Thutmosis would be destined to become king of Egypt.
Prior to the 1905 clearing of the Sphinx, the Sphinx has been buried by the desert sand and cleared several other times throughout history. During the 18th Dynasty, Thutmosis IV probably did clear the Sphinx at that time. But it is more likely that the story about the dream was created for political purposes, an ancient propaganda story to help prove the legitimacy of the king. This type of story could support the validity of a kingship, asserting and assuring the power of the pharaoh as designated by the gods, or in this case, the Sphinx itself.
First Class Nile Cruises
3 Day First Class Nile River Cruise
If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring ancient Egypt, longed to follow the footsteps of the Pharaohs or imagined the desert sun setting over the emerald Nile, you’re ready to step aboard a Nile River cruise. For over five thousand years the Nile has been the lifeblood of Egypt and there’s simply no better way to experience the wealth of Egyptian history, culture and architecture than on a Nile River cruise.
Your Nile River cruise visits Luxor on the site of ancient Thebes, where you’ll see the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt’s longest ruling female pharaoh, and the Temple of Karnak, the largest temple complex built by man. Excursions are offered from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings, the resting place of more than 60 pharaohs, including the mysterious boy-king Tutankhamun. On your Nile River cruise, you will also visit the 2,000-year-old, beautifully preserved Temple of Horus, the falcon god, or hop aboard a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailing vessel.
Your 3 Day First Class Cruise Ship
The Sonesta Moon Goddess
- Five-star cruise ship with 48 standard cabins
- You will have stunning views of the Nile from your room
- All cabins feature private, direct-dial telephone, individual climate control, hairdryer, mini-bar, safety-deposit box, television and movie program. All bathrooms are equipped with bathtubs.
- Outdoor swimming pool with bar service, jogging track and a spacious gym.
- Sun Deck Bar – Overlooking the Nile, offering refreshing cocktails all day until sunset.
- Nightlife – Discothèque, belly dance show, captain’s welcome cocktail party, fancy Galabya Party and Nubian folkloric show.