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From Luxor to Aswan

Abydos

Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of Ancient Egypt (near the town of al-Balyana), the sacred city of Abydos was the site of many ancient temples, including a Umm el-Qa'ab, a royal necropolis where early pharaohs were entombed.[1] These tombs began to be seen as extremely significant burials and in later times it became desirable to be buried in the area, leading to the growth of the town's importance as a cult site.

 

Dendarah

The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. Dendera was a site for chapels or shrines from the beginning of history of ancient Egypt. It seems that pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2250 BC) built on this site and evidence exists of a temple in the eighteenth dynasty (ca 1500 BC). But the earliest extant building in the compound today is the Mammisi raised by Nectanebo II – last of the native pharaohs (360-343 BC).

 

Temple of Luxor

Once linked to Karnak by a sphinx – lined avenue, the impressive temple was dedicated to Amen-Re, his wife Mut and their son khonsu. The original building date from Amenhoteb II and were greatly enlarged by Ramsses II.

 

 Valley of the kings

Across the river from Luxor the valley contains the tombs of some sixty-four pharaohs. The finest probably that of Siti I. With drawings and relief in excellent condition.The most famous is without doubt that of Tut Ankh Amun where his gold-masked mummy still rests.

 

Colossi of Memnon

The twin statues depict Amenhotep III (fl. 14th century BC) in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs: these are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.

The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was stone quarried at el-Gabal el-Ahmar (near modern-day Cairo) and transported 420 miles overland to Thebes. (They are too heavy to have been transported upstream on the Nile.) The blocks used by later Roman engineers to reconstruct the eastern colossus may have come from Edfu (north of Aswan). Including the stone platforms on which they stand (about 4 meters themselves), the colossi reach a towering 18 metres (approx. 60 ft) in height and weigh an estimated 700 tons each. The two figures are about 50 feet apart.

 

 

Esna

In Egyptian mythology, Khnum (also spelled Chnum, Knum, or Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River. Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter's wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers' wombs. He later was described as having molded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself.

 
 

Edfu

Edfu is a monument that contains evidence of more Egyptian history and is of more archaeological interest than the Ptolemaic temple. Although major parts of the settlement show severe signs of erosion, cut away or have been exposed during sebakh-digging, enough is preserved to gain information from as far back as the Predynastic Period. The remains of the settlement (tell) provides an insight into the development of Edfu as a provincial town from the end of the Old Kingdom until the Byzantine period. The settlement at Edfu was the capital of the Second Upper Egypt nome, and played an important role within the region. The oldest part of the town which can be dated to the late Old Kingdom lies on the eastern part of the tell, not far from the Ptolemaic temple. There is evidence that the town flourished during the First Intermediate Period when it expanded extensively to the west. Interestingly, it is one of few settlements in southern Egypt that thrived when it seems that the north, especially around the delta, was in economic decline.

 

 

 Temple of Karnak

The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It consists of four main parts (precincts), of which only the largest, the Precinct of Amun-Re, is open to the general public. The term Karnak is often understood as being the Precinct of Amun-Re only, as this is the only part most visitors normally see. The three other parts, the Precinct of Montu, the Precinct of Mut and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, are closed to the public.

There also are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries located outside the enclosing walls of the four main parts, as well as several avenues of human and ram-headed sphinxes connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and Luxor Temple. The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Construction of temples started in the Middle Kingdom and continued through to Ptolemaic times. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming.

 

 Kom Ombo

A twin temple unlike any other in Egypt. To avoid offending either of its deities (hawk-headed Hprus and the crocodile god Sobek) it was nearly divided into two complete halves.

 

 Abu Simbel

20 minutes by plane from Aswan, the colossal temples weighing 400,000 tons are raised 90ft. above their original site. The Temple of Ramses II flanks the four statues with a hight of 65ft faces east towards the light from the rising sun in inner sanctuary.The nearby Temple of Hathor built by Ramses II for his queen Nefartari is also flanked by colossi.

 

Aswan

Downstream from the High Dam, Aswan is situated opposite Elephantine Island the ancient fortress of Egypt, and the west bank. Kitchener's Island contains beautiful botanical gardens and philae is the Temple of lsis, the goddess so beloved by Egyptians, she continued to be worshiped well into the Christian.