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Egypt Revealed

An Exclusive Tour Of Ancient Egypt

February 18 To March 4, 2000

Egypt Revealed is now full. If you wish to be added to the waitlist please contact the Oriental Institute Membership Office at (773) 702-9513.

Escorted by John A. Larson, Oriental Institute Museum Archivist

Includes Lectures by:
Zahi Hawass, Director of the Giza Plateau
Kent Weeks, Director of the Theban Mapping Project
Mark Lehner, Director of the Giza Mapping Project
Ray Johnson, Field Director, Chicago House Luxor
Bassam El Shammaa, Lecturer in Egyptology


Dear Members and Friends,

I am pleased to offer you an exciting opportunity to join the Oriental Institute in Egypt, where the University of Chicago has been working for almost one hundred years.

This departure, Egypt Revealed,runs from February 18 through March 4, 2000, and will be led by John A. Larson, the Oriental Institute Museum Archivist and an experienced leader of tours to the Middle East. In addition to description from local guides, you will benefit from John's experience in modern Egypt and his knowledge of ancient Egypt.

A highlight of Egypt Revealedis an opportunity to view the treasures of the Egyptian Museum after-hours, after the crowds have departed. You will visit Chicago House, the University of Chicago's Egyptian Headquarters, on the banks of the Nile in Luxor, Egypt, where you will meet with the staff of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute. Your tour will visit sites where the Institute has worked, including current projects such as Luxor Temple and Medinet Habu.

Egypt Revealedalso includes, for the first time in several years, a visit to the Dendera temple, as well as a full day's touring of Islamic Cairo. The Islamic Museum is one of that city's hidden delights, and we are happy to include it on the itinerary.

The tour is highlighted by lectures not only from John Larson, but also by presentations from some of the best-known Egyptologists in the world, including Kent Weeks, Zawi Hawass, and our own Ray Johnson and Mark Lehner.

The Institute is pleased to present this exciting travel opportunity to our members and friends. If you have any questions, please call Emily Napolitano, our Membership Coordinator, at (773) 702-9513, or reach her by email at


Gene Gragg
Director, Oriental Institute

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Friday February 18: USA/Egypt Depart USA from Chicago or New York via EgyptAir. (Meals in flight)

Saturday February 19: Cairo You will be greeted and assisted through Immigration and Customs, then escorted by private motorcoach to the Mena House Hotel (Garden Wing). Set amid 40 acres of jasmine-scented gardens and backed by the looming majesty of the Great Pyramid, this hotel has been enchanting distinguished guests since 1869. (Meals in flight)

Sunday February 20 Morning orientation will be followed by a lecture, "Discoveries at the Giza Pyramids," given by Zahi Hawass, Director of the Giza Plateau.
Lunch at the Oasis Restaurant. Afternoon at leisure.
Late afternoon transfer to the Egyptian Museum for a private visit. After a guided tour you will have time to walk through the museum on your own. A special visit is included to the Mummy Room with its eleven embalmed ancient royals, including the famous Ramses II (1290-1224 BC).
During your transfer to and from the Egyptian Museum you will view the modern city of Cairo. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Return to the Mena House for overnight. (B/L/D)

Monday February 21 Private sunrise tour of the Giza Plateau and a visit to the Solar Boat Museum, excavated in 1954. With more than 1000 pieces of well-preserved wood, it took ten years to reassemble.
Your next stop will be the Sphinx, the great lion-sentinel of the plateau and the embodiment of Hor-m-Akhet, Horus in the Horizon. You will also visit the Valley Temple of Khafre, Builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza.
Final stop for coffee, tea, and biscuits at the panorama of the plateau. Here you can enjoy the breathtaking views and perhaps even a camel ride.
Return to the Mena House for breakfast and a lecture, "The Lost City? From Ancient Walls and Pot Sherds to People and Pyramids," given by Mark Lehner, Director of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project.
This evening enjoy a Formal Cocktail and Welcome Dinner Party in a private location with musical entertainment and dancing.
Overnight Mena House Hotel. (B/D)

Tuesday February 22 Morning visit to Memphis to see the fallen colossus of Ramses II followed by a visit to the funerary complex of King Djoser (2630-2611 BC) of the 3rd Dynasty at Saqqara, which includes the Step Pyramid.
You will also stop to visit the mastabas, bench-like tomb constructions, where you will see depicted within the scenes of daily life that have survived for 4,500 years.
Lunch at the Saqqarah Country Club.
A short drive from Saqqara is the area where the real pyramid building began, Dahshur. Your visits will include two pyramids built by King Senefru (2575-2551 BC), founder of the Fourth Dynasty and father of Khufu (Cheops), the builder of the Great Pyramid.
The Red Pyramid is a wonderful opportunity for those who are interested in viewing a pyramid from the inside. A long descending corridor leads to the burial chambers with the most exotic of features.
The Bent or Rhomboidal Pyramid is one of a kind among the pyramids of Egypt. Looking toward the west you will witness the most dramatic panorama of pyramids, including the Black Pyramid of Amonemhat III (1844-1797 BC).
Dinner at a local restaurant, then enjoy the Sound and Light performance at the Pyramids.
Overnight Mena House Hotel. (B/L/D)

Wednesday February 23 Your day will be filled with Islamic history and sites. You begin at the Citadel of Salah-El-Din who ruled Egypt from 1169 to 1193 AD. Situated within the Citadel is the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, which he built after becoming Ottoman Governor of Egypt in 1805. He remained in office until 1848, and died in Alexandria in 1849. He is buried within his alabaster mosque that took fifteen years to complete and possesses one of the largest minbars (pulpits) in the world. From the citadel walls, the panorama of the city of Cairo and Giza is breathtaking and weather allowing, gives a view of the Pyramids of Giza.
The Mosque of Sultan Hassan, of the Mamluk Period, is built of stone, some of which is reputedly from the Great Pyramid. This mosque is regarded by many as the most outstanding Islamic monument of Egypt. It possesses a great cornice and strong verticals on its facade.
You will also visit the Mosque of El Rifay, situated close by the Mosque of Sultan Hassan.
Your final stop of the day will be the Islamic Museum, a unique museum without statues or paintings, where nearly every object is a beautifully worked design.
Lunch at the Nile Hilton followed by a lecture, "The West Bank and Its Monuments," given by Kent Weeks, Director of the Theban Mapping Project. (B/L)

Thursday February 24: Luxor Departure to Luxor via EgyptAir. Upon arrival you will embark upon a Sonesta Cruiser, your floating hotel for five nights.
After lunch, you will visit Luxor Temple for a chance to photograph during daylight hours (evening tour below).
Late afternoon visit to Luxor Museum for a private tour. This small but superbly presented museum includes the remarkable discoveries made in 1989 in the great Court of Amenhotep III.
Visit Chicago House where you will see firsthand the work done by the Epigraphic Survey team of the Oriental Institute.
Late evening illuminated tour of Luxor Temple, built by Amenhotep III, then added to by Ramses II and Nectanebo I, with an intact alleyway of sphinxes in front of the Ramses II pylon. The Qadesh Battle of Ramses II against the Hittites is detailed on the pylon walls.
This is the only religious monument in the world which includes Pharaonic, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Roman, Christian, and Islamic constructions. (B/L/D)

Friday February 25 Morning bus departure to Dendera, the Temple of Hathor. The temple was begun during the reign of Ptolemy XII Auletes (80-51 BC). It is a truly magnificent temple to behold with its chapels, chambers, staircase, and columns. The exterior back wall is famous for its representation of the legendary Cleopatra and the son she bore Caesar, Ptolemy XV Caesar, known as Caesarion.
You will drive by bus to Qena where you will board your Nile Cruiser for a leisurely return sail to Luxor. (B/L/D)

Saturday February 26 A powerful and exciting day as you visit the West Bank of Luxor. In the Valley of the Kings you will visit the tombs of the pharaohs, where kings pass through the "Gates of the Afterlife" in very detailed, brilliantly colored, intact scenes.
Stop to view the Colossi of Memnon, who stand the test of time surviving long after the temple they guarded has vanished.
In the Valley of the Queens you will visit Hatshepsut's Temple, Deir El Bahri. It is in this temple of beauty and power that we can view Hatshepsut's peaceful expedition to Punt with its commercial exchange of goods and warm relations.
Also included will be a visit to the tomb of Kheruef, documented by the Oriental Institute's Epigraphic Survey.
Our final stop of the day will be at Medinet Habu. It is here that the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute is currently working on recording the scenes of the temple. Ramses III chose the sacred site of Medinet Habu to build his funeral temple. Following his death it became the administrative center of the priests of Amun. After the excavations of Mariette and Morgan in 1859 it was not until the work carried out by the Oriental Institute (1927-1960) that the site became the subject of extensive research.
Late afternoon lecture, "The Work of the Epigraphic Survey Team in Luxor," by W. Raymond Johnson, Field Director of Chicago House. Ray will discuss the history of Chicago House and its permanent expedition team that has been in Luxor since 1924. (B/L/D)

Sunday February 27 In the quiet and solitude of the early morning you will have an opportunity to visit Karnak Temple, prior to normal opening hours. Apart from its size, Karnak represents a vastness of historical time. The main Temple of Amun, from the foundations of the original Middle Kingdom Temple to the First Pylon, built during the 30th Dynasty, saw construction over a span of 1300 years. The largest of all the temples of Egypt, its 25th Dynasty pylon welcomes visitors. The Great Hypostyle Hall contains 134 columns with the royal names of Seti I and Ramses II.
The great temple of Amun contains a double avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, pylons built by Tutmosis I, Horemhab, and Amenhotep II, shrines by Seti II, Amenhotep I and II, an obelisk of Hatshepsut (325 tons of granite) and texts by Tutmosis III and Ramses II and III.
A leisurely lunch will be enjoyed on board your cruiser, followed by an afternoon lecture by Bassam El Shammaa, Lecturer in Egyptology, as we set sail to Edfu.
Late afternoon arrival in Edfu where you will dock and visit the Temple of Horus. The best-preserved temple of its time, built during Ptolemaic rule, the construction commenced in 237 BC under Ptolemy III Evergetes I and was finished in 57 BC. The temple celebrates the legendary battle between Horus and Set.
Late afternoon sail to Kom Ombo as you enjoy the sunset on the Nile. Overnight in Kom Ombo. (B/L/D)

Monday February 28 Morning visit to Kom Ombo Temple, the only temple dedicated to two gods, Horus the Elder and Sobek the crocodile deity. Built in the time of Graeco-Roman rule, this temple is situated on a hill (Kom) overlooking the east bank of the Nile. The name Kom Ombo (the ancient Greek settlement of Ombos) is derived from the Ancient Egyptian word nubt which means "city of gold".
Sail on to Aswan, situated at the First Cataract.
Afternoon visit to Philae Temple, which was re-erected on Agilkia Island after the building of the High Dam to protect it from the rising water of Lake Nasser. Dedicated to Isis, Mother of Horus, the temple was built by Egyptians under the rule of Taharqa and Nectanebo I. Later the Ptolemies and Romans added their royal names on the original construction. This is the last temple where the Pharaonic cult was practiced, the last hieroglyphic inscriptions (394 AD) carved, and the last demotic graffiti (425 AD) drawn.
Late afternoon visit to the Nubia Museum. (B/L/D)

Tuesday February 29 This morning you disembark from your cruiser. An optional tour may be taken to Abu Simbel or you may return directly to Cairo for an afternoon and evening of leisure.
Abu Simbel Option: A short half-hour EgyptAir flight will take you to Abu Simbel, the grand finale of a voyage up the Nile. Hewn from a mountain for Ramses II, this magnificent temple is both an ancient and a modern engineering marvel.
Burkhart excavated the temple in 1813 followed by Belzoni in 1817. You are welcomed to the temple by four colossal statues of Ramses II. An entrance leads to the Osiride Hall of the Pharaoh with detailed scenery of the triumphant battles of the King. A vestibule leads to the sanctuary where the Pharaoh is in the company of Ra-horakhty, Amen, and Ptah.
The secondary temple was dedicated to his beloved royal wife Nefertari, and to Hathor the female deity of love, beauty, and music.
Both temples were rescued between 1964 and 1968 by the Egyptian government in association with UNESCO, who undertook a truly Pharaonic task. The two speos of Ramses II and Nefertari were cut into sections, strengthened, dismantled, and re-constructed on the summit of a rocky outcrop of the Libyan mountains, which overlook the Nile at this point. The original site, at the foot of the cliff, was completely submerged following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
Return flight to Cairo and the Semiramis Intercontinental. (B)

Wednesday March 1 Morning departure by motorcoach to Alexandria via the Desert Road. Alexandria was founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great after Homer appeared to him in a dream and described the future city. It was the second largest city in the Roman Empire, and was built on the site of the ancient Egyptian village of Rakhotis.
Your visit begins at Fort Qait Bey, built at the end of the 15th Century on the site of Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Kom El Dikka, the Roman Amphitheater, was discovered in 1964 by archaeologists from Warsaw University. Kom El Dikka is the current home of the recently rescued statues raised from the floor of the Mediterranean.
The Graeco-Roman Museum was founded in 1891 and is devoted to the history and archaeology of Ancient Egypt. The museum is filled with artifacts that come mainly from excavations carried out in the city, and it serves as an admirable illustration of the influence of Alexandrian culture throughout Egypt. Several exhibits in the museum cannot be missed, including the Tanagra Collection of terra cotta figurines representing a wide variety of human figures, the Roman Coin collection, and a unique Roman Mosaic collection.
Your final stop will be Kom El Shogafa, where Christian catacombs and chapels were first discovered. An excellent blend of Graeco-Roman and Egyptian styles, these catacombs were hewn out of the rock on three levels. The dead were lowered by ropes down the central well of a spiral staircase. The Triclinium or banquet hall was used on festival days to honor the dead.
You will follow the corniche on your way to your hotel to view the Mediterranean of Alexandria and Pompey's Pillar.
Dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight at the Alexandria Sheraton, across the way from the grounds of Montazah, former residence of the royal family. Evening at leisure to stroll along the Mediterranean or enjoy the gardens of Farouk. (B/L/D)

Thursday March 2 Your morning will be filled with opulence as you visit the Royal Jewelry Museum. The collection represents the accumulated treasures of the dynasty that ruled Egypt from Mohammed Ali to King Farouk. From the 1920's the villa was the home of Princess Fatma El Zahraa and was decorated to her taste, the building itself warrants a visit.
You return to Cairo for an afternoon and evening of leisure. Overnight at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel. (B/L)

Friday March 3 Today is a full day of leisure to be used to revisit your favorite sites or simply shop for last minute gifts and treasures. Optional shopping excursion.
This evening you will board a Nile Dinner Cruise for a private Farewell Dinner and sail on the Nile.
Overnight at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel. (B/D)

Saturday March 4: Egypt/USA Today we bid Egypt farewell and transfer to Cairo International Airport for our return flight to the USA. (B/Meals in flight)

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About your Lecturers

Zahi Hawass is an Egyptian Egyptologist and Director General of the Giza Pyramids and Saqqarah. Dr. Hawass has lectured extensively around the world. He discovered the tombs of the workmen who built the pyramids with evidence for the first time of how they were built, and the tombs of Cheops officials west of the Great Pyramid. He is currently excavating around the third pyramid and recently found a pair of statues of Rameses II. He finished the Sphinx Conservation Project, announced in May 1998 by President Mubarak. Dr. Hawass received Egypt's highest award, the Presidential Medal, in gratitude for his work.
Topic: Recent Discoveries at Giza Pyramids after the Millenium

Kent Weeks is Director of the Theban Mapping Project and a Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo. Dr. Weeks is a former Field Director of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute's Epigraphic Survey at Chicago House in Luxor. Dr. Weeks has led the Theban Mapping Project since it began in 1978. While working on this project, he re-discovered KV5, the Valley of the kings tomb of the sons of Rameses II and the largest tomb ever found in Egypt. The responsibility of dealing with this increasingly complex tomb has changed, to some degree, the focus of the project, but the original goal of accurately documenting the archaeological heritage of Thebes has been retained.
Topic: The West Bank and its Monuments

Mark Lehner is Director of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project and President of the project's sponsor, nonprofit research organization AERA, Inc. The project conducts excavations of Old Kingdom settlements near the Sphinx and Pyramids with a team of archaeologists, geochronologists, paleobotanists, and faunal specialists. Lehner is a pioneer in the use of state-of-the-art computer graphics and remote sensing technology to model the ancient configuration of the Giza Plateau. Dr. Lehner is a Research Associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and at the Harvard Semitic Museum.
Topic: From Ancient Walls and Pot Sherds to People and Pyramids

W. Raymond Johnson is Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey at Chicago House in Luxor, where he has worked since 1979. In addition, he is a Research Associate (Assistant Professor) at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The field work of the Epigraphic Survey this past season focused on Luxor and Karnak temples and Medinet Habu on the West Bank. Dr. Johnson specializes in the recording, analysis, and reassembly of fragmentary relief and sculpture remains which preserve information essential to a broader understanding of all periods of Egyptian history, material now increasingly threatened by Egypt's changing weather conditions and growing population.
Topic: The Work of the Epigraphic Survey Team in Luxor

Bassam El Shammaa is a Lecturer in Egyptology and has lectured extensively in England, the United States, South Africa, and Egypt. He participated as a member of the Giza Debate held in Covent Gardens, England in 1998 and was a member of the Giza Convention in Cairo. He recently participated in a BBC documentary, Kingdoms of the Nile,and has been interviewed on numerous occasions by BBC radio.
Topic: Quest for the Truth

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Tour Costs

16 Day Land Package/Double Occupancy: $4,595.00
EgyptAir New York/Cairo/New York/Economy Fare: $770.00
Single Supplement: $1,200.00
Tax-deductible contribution to the Oriental Institute: $400.00
Abu Simbel extension: $240.00
Coptic Cairo: $50.00
Cairo Shopping/lunch in Khan El Khallili: $60.00
Sharm El Sheik - 4 days/3 nights: $450.00
St. Catherine's Monastery - 2 days/1 night: $225.00
Senator Suite/Nile Cruiser: $1,750.00
Deposit required to book: $1,000.00 with balance 60 days prior to departure.

Your Land and Air package includes:
* Deluxe Nile Cruise on Sonesta Five Star Cruise Ship
* Deluxe Five Star accomodations
* Buffet breakfast daily, 10 lunches, 10 dinners including a Formal Welcome Dinner and a Farewell Nile Dinner Cruise
* Air-conditioned Deluxe coaches
* All guiding and entrance fees
* All tipping excluding Guide and Cruise staff
* Domestic air - Cairo/Luxor and Aswan/Cairo - via EgyptAir
* One bottle of water daily
* Seven Wonders escort while in Egypt

Your Land and Air package does not include:
* International Air
* Passports ($65 US) or Visa fees ($15 US citizens)
* Tips to Egyptologist
* Tips to Cruiser Staff
* Items of a personal nature: laundry, drinks, room service, etc.
* Optional Abu Simbel/St. Catherine's/Red Sea/Shopping Excursions
* Special arrangements for early arrival or departure
* Travel/Cancellation Insurance

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Terms and Conditions

Deposit and Payment: A deposit of $1,000.00 per person is required at time of booking. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure.
Cancellation and Refunds: Cancellation notice must be stated in writing to Seven Wonders Travel. In addition to the airline cancellation penalties, all cancellations for any reason will be subject to a $250.00 administration fee. Cancellation within 60 days of departure will result in forfeiture of 30% of the trip cost. Cancellation within 30 days will result in forfeiture of the trip cost with no refund. Purchase of trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended.
Air Transportation: Air transportation is based upon seating in economy class. Airfare is based on advance purchase and is non-refundable. Airfare subject to change without notice.
Baggage: Two checked pieces of luggage plus one carry-on are free. Transfers are provided for these pieces, when carrying luggage tags provided by Seven Wonders Travel. Any additional luggage is the sole responsibility of the passenger and may incur extra cost.
Single Accomodations: There is limited availability at a supplement. If you wish to share, we will attempt to arrange this for you. Should the person you share with cancel, you will be charged the single supplement. Insurance is suggested to cover this possibility.
Responsibility: The Oriental Institute/Seven Wonders Travel and their agents act only in the capacity of agent for the passengers in all matters relating to transportation by airplane, motorcoach, taxi, cruise ship, or other means of transportation and as such, agents hold themselves free of any responsibility for the loss or damage of personal effects or for inconvenience caused by strikes, wars, Acts of God, or due to the fault or negligence of any company or person entrusted with any of the above services from any cause whatsoever. The right is reserved to make any alterations, additions, or omissions in the program schedule when in our opinion such alterations are necessary for the comfort and well being of the group. No airline shall incur any liability except its liability as a common carrier. The carriers concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time the passengers are not on board their planes or conveyances. The passage contracts issued by the carriers concerned when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and passengers. Hotels used overseas may not have facilities for the handicapped as stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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To be added to the free Oriental Institute Mailing List, or for more information on how to register for Egypt Revealed, please call (773) 702-1677 or send an email to

Revised: March 3, 2009

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