It is an approximately 3½-hour drive from Safaga to Luxor—Egypt’s vast necropolis and a magnificent realm of this country’s intriguing past. Your first visit will be to the Valley of the Kings, the city of the dead where 62 magnificent tombs have been discovered. Potentially hundreds of tombs were originally carved into the desert rocks, intricately painted with various mineral and stone dyes which have maintained their rich hues, and are filled with treasures for use in the afterlife by many dynasties of Pharaohs. You will have a chance to visit two tombs at the Valley of the Kings. You will also stop for photos at the Temple of Hatshepsut, rising out of the desert in a series of brilliant white terraces. Hatshepsut was both a female and a Pharaoh. She dressed like a man and wore a false beard to counter the considerable bias against ruling females during that era (c. 1500 BC). You will notice that the mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut merges with the sheer limestone cliffs that surround it. The second photo stop will be at the Colossi of Memnon—two immense statues of Amenhotep III that guarded the entrance to Amenhotep’s great temple. Then, you will proceed to the East Bank where you will visit the Luxor Temple. This temple was once connected to the Karnak Temple via the Avenue of Human-Headed Sphinxes—more than a mile in length. This temple hosted many celebrations, including the Festival of Opet, which lasted 27 days. After your visit to Luxor Temple, head to one of the city’s leading hotels for an early dinner. You will have the chance to browse for local souvenirs at one of the souvenir shops (time-permitting). A stunning visual encounter awaits you now, as you return to the complex of the Temple of Karnak to witness the marvelous Sound & Light Show. Take a fascinating walking tour through the history of the world’s largest temple complex, guided by the voices of ancient pharaohs. Ominous shadows play off the enormous columns in the grand Hypostyle Hall—an unforgettable experience. Once the Sound & Light Show ends, you will have an approximately 3½-hour drive back to the port of Safaga to re-join the ship.
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