March 11 – 26, 2017 (16 days)

$6420 (excludes international airfare)
Single supp: $950

Alexandria Extension – $1645
Single Supplement $495

To reserve a place on this tour call
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Tour Description


Dear Members and Friends of the Oriental Institute,For over a century, the Oriental Institute has been one of the foremost academic institutions working in Egypt. From James Henry Breasted’s expeditions in the early 1900s, to the establishment of the Epigraphic Survey in 1924, and down to the present day, we have had a continuous and distinguished record of research in the Nile Valley. Our unparalleled scholarly expertise is the reason why you should travel to Egypt with an Oriental Institute Travel Program.
Whether this will be your first visit to Egypt or a return, we have the experience and access to show you what really counts. Our programs go far beyond the usual tours, calling upon our own in-country staff and colleagues to give you up-to-date information about current research.
Our specially designed itinerary includes the most important sites from all periods of Egyptian history and even some “off the beaten track” gems. One of the highlights of the tour is the visit to Chicago House, the headquarters of the Epigraphic Survey in Luxor, where you will meet our staff of Egyptologists and artists, and hear about their vital work documenting the reliefs
and inscriptions of ancient Thebes.
Your tour leader, Professor Lanny Bell, has been leading Oriental Institute tours to Egypt for the last two years. Professor Bell’s familiarity with the sites, his vast knowledge, and his enthusiasm for Egypt will make this trip the experience of a lifetime. I encourage you to join us!Dr. Gil J. Stein

Director, Oriental Institute
Professor, Near Eastern Archaeology

Tour Itinerary

This tour has passed.

Saturday, March 11:
Depart Chicago.

Sunday, March 12: CAIRO:
Arrive in Cairo and transfer to Mena House Hotel, located at the foot of the Great Pyramid. This evening we will meet with Dr. Bell for dinner.
Hotel: Mena House Hotel
Meals: Dinner

Monday, March 13: CAIRO:
We begin our touring with an exploration of Memphis, the first capital of a united Egypt, and Sakkara, the necropolis of Memphis. At Sakkara we will tour the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser which predates the Giza pyramids and is the world’s first monumental building constructed entirely in stone. We will also visit the Sakkara Museum, the smaller Pyramid of Teti – a 6th Dynasty king whose burial chamber is covered with Pyramid Texts to ensure the survival of his soul, and the tombs of the nobles Ti and Ptahhotep and Mereruka.
Hotel: Mena House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tuesday, March 14: CAIRO:
This morning tour begins in Old Cairo. We will visit the Coptic Museum, Church of St Sergius and the Synagogue. Touring continues with a walking tour in Islamic Cairo. This warren of streets is lined with a multitude of fascinating architecture. We end our walk in the renowned Suq Khan al-Khalili.
Hotel: Mena House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Included in this tour is a very private “after-hours” exclusive visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Enjoy the museum in peace and quiet as it was meant to be experienced. Take your time to savor the detail of the Egyptian museum most sublime treasures. No crowds. No waiting in line. No
distraction. This unique visit is an opportunity few will ever experience because of the limited availability, and will provide a unique insight into one of the most important historical museum in ancient world.

Wednesday, March 15: CAIRO:
Our touring today brings us to the only surviving representatives of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. We will have an opportunity to enter one of the pyramids and to visit the museum where the remarkably preserved remains of the Solar Boat of Cheops are displayed.
Hotel: Mena House Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, March 16: LUXOR:
After a morning flight to Luxor, touring begins at the magnificent sanctuary of Amun-Re at Karnak with its maze of monumental gateways, obelisks, pillared halls, and subsidiary shrines. We will also visit Karnak’s open-air museum. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.

This evening we will enjoy a private reception at Chicago House, the home of the Oriental Institute‘s Epigraphic Survey project.

Hotel: Luxor Hilton Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Friday, March 17: LUXOR:
Today we will cross the Nile to visit the tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. Among the tombs to be visited are those of Tutankhamun and three other pharaohs selected from the tombs opened to the public today. We will also visit the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri, one of the most spectacular monuments in Egypt, and the Colossi of Memnon.
Hotel: Luxor Hilton Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Saturday, March 18: LUXOR:
Returning to the Nile’s west bank, we tour some of the hundreds of tombs of the nobles, spread over two square miles. These tombs are of special interest for their naturalistic murals which give us an intimate view of life in ancient Egypt. We will also stop at the ancient village of the artisans, Deir el-Medina, one of the best-preserved town sites in Egypt and the subject of the television series “Ancient Lives.”
Hotel: Luxor Hilton Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Sunday, March 19: LUXOR:
Today we will drive north through villages of baked-mud houses and lush cultivated lands bordering the Nile to Dendera and visit the Temple of Hathor, goddess of love, music, and wine. Although this temple was built largely in the first century BCE, it occupies the site of a much older building. On the roof of the temple is a plaster cast of the famous Zodiac of Dendera (original in Paris), one of three circular representations of the heavens found in Egypt. We continue to Abydos, where we will tour the Temple of Seti I, viewing the famous List of Kings and some of the most beautifully painted reliefs surviving from Pharaonic times, and the nearby small temple of Ramesses II.
Hotel: Luxor Hilton Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Monday, March 20: LUXOR/CRUISE:
This morning our luggage will be transferred to the new deluxe Sonesta St George, our floating hotel for the next four nights. We will continue our touring on the west bank with the temples and chapels of Medinet Habu, the largest built by Ramesses III, and the Ramesseum, where the fallen statue of Ramesses II inspired Shelley’s famous poem, “Ozymandias.” We will have our lunch on board the Farah and, in the late afternoon, visit Luxor Temple beginning at the newly renovated Avenue of Sphinxes, which originally linked Luxor and Karnak temples. We will examine the Roman fresco paintings restored jointly by Chicago House and the American Research Center in Egypt, as well as the open-air museum and blockyard, conserved by Chicago House.
Hotel: Sonesta St. George
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tuesday, March 21: CRUISE/EDFU:
This morning we will be at leisure in Luxor giving us an opportunity to explore the bazaar, visit the Luxor Museum, the new Mummy Museum, or relax at the pool. During lunch we sail to Edfu for the night.
Hotel: Sonesta St. George
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Wednesday, March 22: CRUISE/ASWAN:
Touring begins at the Temple of Edfu, a wellpreserved Ptolemaic temple of the falcon god Horus. We then sail on to Kom Ombo. Often called the acropolis of Egypt for its spectacular site overlooking the Nile, Kom Ombo is unusual for its equal dedication to two gods, Horus the Elder and the crocodile god Sobek. We will study the unique architectural features of this temple before sailing on to Aswan.
Hotel: Sonesta St. George
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, March 23: CRUISE/ASWAN:
Today’s touring includes the granite quarries where an unfinished obelisk remains embedded in its native stone. This immense monument would have been Egypt’s tallest monolith, weighing over 2.3 million pounds at its completion. We continue to the High Dam, a project which forever changed the Nile’s annual cycle. The morning ends with the Ptolemaic temple dedicated to Isis, known as Philae for the island on which it was originally built. This afternoon will be at leisure.
Hotel: Sonesta St. George
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Friday, March 24: ASWAN:
We disembark this morning and begin our touring at the Kalabsha Temple built in the reign of Augustus on the site of an earlier sanctuary founded by Amenhotep II. The temple, which was later converted to a church, was originally dedicated to the Nubian god Mandulis, who was associated with Isis. In the same antiquities park we will visit the relocated Graeco-Roman kiosk of Qertassi and the shrine of Ramesses II from Beit el-Wali. After lunch we will spend the remainder of the day visiting the Museum of Nubian Civilization.
Hotel: Aswan Movenpick Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Saturday, March 25: CAIRO:
This morning we fly to Abu Simbel, where the rock-cut temples of Ramesses II and his favorite queen Nefertari have been saved from the rising waters of the Nile resulting from the Aswan High Dam. The temples were built to honor the deified royal pair and to awe the Nubians, and that awesome feeling exists today no less than it did 3,200 years ago. This afternoon we will fly back to Cairo.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars
Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Sunday, March 26: CAIRO/CHICAGO
Transfer to the airport for our Lufthansa flights to Chicago.
Meals: Breakfast

Optional Alexandria Extension – Monday, March 27 – Friday, March 31

Monday, March 27: Alexandria
Visit the National Museum and the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamil in the morning, and the in the afternoon.
Hotel: Cecil Hotel Alexandria
Meals: Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tuesday, March 28: Alexandria
Start the morning viewing the Catacombs at Kom el-Shqafa, Pompey’s Pillar, and the Kim al-Diqqa Theatre and Villa of the Birds. After lunch, tour the Catacombs at Anfushi and Pharos (Fort Qaitby).
Hotel: Cecil Hotel Alexandria
Meals: Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Wednesday, March 29: Alexandria
Today we will drive to Rosetta where we will take a walking tour including merchants’ houses. We will return to Alexandria in the afternoon where we will visit the Suq district and the Terbana Mosque.
Hotel: Cecil Hotel Alexandria
Meals: Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Thursday, March 30: Cairo
We will leave Alexandria by the coast road today and stop at Abu Mina, continuing onto Cairo after lunch.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars
Meals: Meals: Breakfast & lunch

Your tour doesn’t have to end in Cairo. Join our optional 4-day extension to the port city of Alexandria. We visit many thrilling sites during our extended stay, including:

  • The National Museum of Alexandria tells the story of the city and its place in Egypt through 1,800 artefacts including figures of Medusa, and a bust of Briniky
  • Discover Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects at the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamil, Kom el Shoqafa, and Anfushi
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina – built to commemorate the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity
  • Pompey’s Pillar – one of the world’s largest monoliths commemorating the victory of Roman Emperor Diocletian over an Alexandrian revolt
  • The Villa of the Birds, inside the extensive Roman theatrical and residential complex of Kom el Dikka




Lanny Bell received his Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught Egyptology and was curatorial assistant at the University Museum. In 1977 Professor Bell began to teach at the University of Chicago and became field director of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute. For the next twelve years he spent nine months a year at Chicago House in Luxor. The activities of the expeditions under his direction have ranged from epigraphy to excavation and conservation. An expert on the Luxor area, his publications include articles on divine kingship and temple and society in ancient Egypt, as well as a groundbreaking chapter on Luxor Temple in Temples of Ancient Egypt, published by Cornell University Press. Professor Bell has also been a consultant for National Geographic magazine and has appeared in its documentary Egypt: Quest for Eternity, as well as A&E’s presentation Mummies: Tales from the Egyptian Crypts. Professor Bell is a very popular lecturer and has been appointed three times to endowed lectureships of the Archaeological Institute of America. He led the 2012 and 2013 Oriental Institute tours to Egypt.

Additional Information

Calendar Year



  • Flights within Egypt. Surface travel by air-conditioned motor coach as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Accommodations in deluxe hotels/Sonesta St. George cruise ship or equivalent based on two persons sharing a twin-bedded room with private bath as listed or similar.
  • Meals as listed in the detailed itinerary, table d’hôte.
  • Baggage handling for one suitcase per person.
  • All gratuities to tour managers, guides, drivers, and porters.
  • A $600 contribution to the Oriental Institute.

NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR COST: International airfare, passport and visa fees, excess baggage charges, transfers to and from airports for tour participants arriving or departing on flights outside of the tour dates, insurance, beverages, and items not on the menu.

TARIFFS: Based on foreign exchange rates in effect January 2015 and a minimum of 15 participants. All rates subject to change.

DEPOSITS & PAYMENTS: A $750 deposit is required to book. Final payment is due twelve weeks before departure.

SINGLE ROOMS: For those traveling alone but who prefer to share with another, we will endeavor to work out congenial rooming arrangements. If impossible, or if a single room must be assigned due to the roommate’s canceling or incompatibility, or for any other reason, even if at the last moment or while on tour, the single supplement or prorate
thereof must be collected.

INSURANCE: Insurance is available and is recommended. By purchasing trip cancellation insurance within 21 days of your initial deposit, Travel Insured International will waive the usual exclusion for preexisting medical conditions.

CANCELLATIONS: In the event of cancellation, refund in full less the $750 deposit will be made until twelve weeks before departure. From sixteen to twelve weeks before departure, the penalty is $1500. From twelve weeks until eight weeks before departure, the penalty is $4900, and after that time the penalty is 35% of the total cost, 55% of the cost from eight weeks to six weeks and 75% from six to three weeks. Any cancellation from 21 days before departure will incur a 100% penalty. Single supplements are also subject to cancellation penalties. These penalties could reach 100% for last-minute cancellations. There will be no refund for cancellations on the day of departure or thereafter. In addition, if cancellation is made within 60 days of departure, the airlines require a penalty. Cancellation of the tour by the Oriental Institute: full refund. NOTE: Neither the Oriental Institute nor Archaeological Tours accepts liability for any airline penalties incurred by the purchase of nonrefundable airline tickets.

RESPONSIBILITY: ARCHAEOLOGICAL TOURS, a division of LINDSTONE TRAVEL, INC., and THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE in accepting bookings for the tour, clearly stipulates that it is not liable for the faults or defaults of other companies and persons that may be used in the carrying out of the tour services; also for accidents, baggage losses, delays, strikes, political unrest, riots and acts of God and war. In the event it becomes necessary or advisable for the comfort or well-being of the passengers, or for any reason whatsoever, to alter the itinerary or arrangements, such alterations may be made without penalty to the operator. Additional expenses, if any, shall be borne by the passengers. The right is also reserved to withdraw this tour; also to decline to accept or retain any persons as members of the tour. No refund can be made for absence from the tour unless arrangements are made at the time of booking. IATA carriers concerned are not to be held responsible for acts, omissions or events during the time passengers are not on board. The passage contract in use by the companies concerned shall constitute the sole contract between the company and purchaser of these tours and/or passengers.

For additional information, please contact the Oriental Institute Membership Office at 773.702.9513