Nile Cruise


The ancient pyramids of Giza are the most iconic sight in Egypt. The pharaohs for whom they were built in their quest for immortality were treated like living gods. The highly developed culture of the Egyptians, who lived in the fertile Nile valley thousands of years ago,
has left behind a host of impressive architectural relics, making nile cruises an unforgetable experience.

The majority of monuments from the times of the pharaohs are located near or on the banks of the Nile. With the exception of the bustling city of Cairo , the 186 mile long stretch of the Nile valley between Luxor and Aswan contains the most interesting ancient sites, while the valley of the kings, the mighty temple of Karnak, and the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut are the main attractions at Luxor itself.

Farther South, the temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo show that the conquering Greeks and Romans were also fascinated by the Pharaohs. In Aswan in the 1960s, the very old met the very new when the construction of a hugedam threatened to flood ancient temples such as those at Abu Simbel. The answer was simple, they would have to be moved, resulting in an internationalrescue operation.

When to Travel:

Although Nile cruises operate all year round, some months are better than others and certain dates should be avoided
Good months are October (about 30C in Aswan) or February and March (25-30C), when it is hot and sunny but not too debilitating thanks to the lack of humidity. During those months Cairo (your base for the Pyramids and the museum) will be in the pleasant low 20s


Nile Cruises – Ports of Call

The Dendera Temple complex which contains the Temple of Hathor is one of the best preserved temples, if not the best, in all Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. The present building dates back to the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was completed by the Roman emperor Tiberius, but it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu (pyramid builder Cheops, second king of the 4th dynasty [c. 2613–c. 2494 BC]), in which was found the celebrated zodiac now in Paris; there are also the Roman and pharaonic Mammisi (birth houses), ruins of a Coptic church and a small chapel dedicated to Isis, of the Roman or Ptolemaic epoch. The area around the temple has had extensive landscaping, and now has a modern visitor centre, bazaar and small cafeteria.

Esna

The agricultural town of Esna is on the west bank of the Nile 55km south of Luxor. Cruise boats often make this town their first port of call after leaving Luxor to visit the remains of a Ptolemaic temple in the centre of the town.
The temple, dating to the Ptolemaic and Roman Period and one of the last temples built in Egypt, stands today in its excavation pit, 9m below the modern ground level. It was dedicated to the god Khnum and several other deities, including Neith, Heka, Satet and Menheyet.
Edfu

The town is known for the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BCE and 57 BCE, into the reign of Cleopatra VII. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple, oriented east to west, facing towards the river. The later structure faces north to south and leaves the ruined remains of the older temple pylon to be seen on the east side of the first court


The Dendera Temple complex which contains the Temple of Hathor is one of the best preserved temples, if not the best, in all Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. The present building dates back to the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was completed by the Roman emperor Tiberius, but it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu (pyramid builder Cheops, second king of the 4th dynasty [c. 2613–c. 2494 BC]), in which was found the celebrated zodiac now in Paris; there are also the Roman and pharaonic Mammisi (birth houses), ruins of a Coptic church and a small chapel dedicated to Isis, of the Roman or Ptolemaic epoch. The area around the temple has had extensive landscaping, and now has a modern visitor centre, bazaar and small cafeteria.
Esna

The agricultural town of Esna is on the west bank of the Nile 55km south of Luxor. Cruise boats often make this town their first port of call after leaving Luxor to visit the remains of a Ptolemaic temple in the centre of the town.
The temple, dating to the Ptolemaic and Roman Period and one of the last temples built in Egypt, stands today in its excavation pit, 9m below the modern ground level. It was dedicated to the god Khnum and several other deities, including Neith, Heka, Satet and Menheyet.
Edfu

The town is known for the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BCE and 57 BCE, into the reign of Cleopatra VII. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple, oriented east to west, facing towards the river. The later structure faces north to south and leaves the ruined remains of the older temple pylon to be seen on the east side of the first court

Kom Ombo


The Kom Ombo Temple is splendid enough to draw visitors in hordes—and rightly so. This large temple dates back to Ptolemaic times, its period of construction lasting somewhere between 200 BC and the turn of the Christian calendar. Today, the Temple of Kom Ombo is a highlight on any itinerary that heads along the Nile, attracting particular attention due to its unique design.
This so-called double design of the Temple of Kom Ombo refers to the fact that the temple consists of two halves, which almost exactly mirror each other. Kom Ombo Temple was dedicated to two distinct ancient Egyptian gods: Haroeris and Sobek-Re. Not wishing to favor one over the other, Ptolemaic architects designed the temple so that each God received an equal amount of reverence. The




Aswan


one of the three most-visited cities on the Nile. But life here is so much more relaxed than in Cairo, for example, that it feels miles away from Egypt’s number one tourist destination. The Nubian Museum and the Unfinished Obelisk promise to be two of the highlights of your holiday in Aswan

The Nubia is an area in the south of Egypt that eventually segues into neighboring Sudan. The Nubian Museum looks at the culture of this area, tracing it along a timeline that runs from 2000 BC to the present day. Spread across three floors in a massive building that rises out of Aswan’s sand, this is an eminently impressive museum that matches well the wide scope of its subject matter.
Standout exhibitions at the Nubian Museum include granite carvings of the head of King Shabatka and the head of King Taharqa, as well as a tenth-century Byzantine fresco that pictures Christ surrounded by four evangelical symbols.
The Nubian Museum at Aswan is also well known for its simply outstanding grounds. Set on some 70,000 square feet of land, the grand-looking buildings are well complemented by beautiful gardens, which have been heavily sculpted and maintained to represent many aspects of Nubian life throughout the ages. Walking around these gardens is one of the best things to do at The Nubia Museum; it offers a relaxed learning experience that’s accessible for all the family, regardless of age

Elephantine Island is the largest of the Aswan area islands, and is one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, with artifacts dating to predynastic periods. This is probably due to its location at the first Cataract of the Nile, which provided a natural boundary between Egypt and Nubia. As an island, it was also easily defensible. In fact, the ancient town located in the southern part of the island was also a fortress through much of it’s history. At one time, there was a bridge from the mainland to the island. One of it’s main attractions is it’s Nilometer . Another major attraction is the ruins of the Temple of Khnum . Don’t forget to visit Animalia . It’s the small museum of guide Mohamed, who collected all kinds of Nubian products and objects from nature around Aswan and Lake Nasser. You’ll find a lot of information about daily life in Nubia and even connections with the history of the pharaohs

Kitchner’s Island is a botanical garden, filled with exotic plants and trees imported from all over the world. It is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the shade. The island must be reached by boat, and is located on the other side of Elephantine Island from Aswan. The Island was given to Lord Kitchner for his campaigns in the Sudan, and he moved their and created his garden, importing plants and trees from all over the world.




Philae

The Egyptian island of Philae was the center for worship of the goddess Isis and attracted pilgrims from all over the ancient world.The largest and most important temple on Philae is the great Temple of Isis, which is oriented south to north. It was entered on the south through the Hall of Nectanebo. The original island is now completely submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser. But in a spectacular rescue operation, the great temples and monuments of Philae were pulled out of the water and re-erected on a nearby island, now renamed Philae.




Lake Nasser


The lake was created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the waters of the Nile between 1958 and 1970. The lake is named after President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who initiated the controversial High Dam project. The lake is some 550 km long and 35 km across at its widest point, which is near the Tropic of Cancer. It covers a total surface area of 5,250 km² and has a storage capacity of some 157 km³ of water.





Abu Simbel



Abu Simbel in Upper Egypt was saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, growing behind the Aswan Dam, in a massive archaeological rescue plan sponsored by UNESCO in the 1960s. The complex of temples dedicated to the Pharaoh Ramsis II “the Great” remain an evocative and unforgettable destination.

Great Temple of Ramses II. Carved out of a mountain between 1274BC and 1244BC, but lost to the world until it was rediscovered in 1813 by Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burkhart. Dedicated to Ramses II himself and gods Ra, Amun, and Ptah. Features 4 20m+ statues of Ramses. Its axis was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on February and October 20, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculpture on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark.