DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MARCH 1: CAIRO, PYRAMIDS & SPHINX, MEMPHIS, SAKKARA, COPTIC CHURCH, EGYPTIAN MUSEUM
Today was the last day of our tour. We spent the entire day in Cairo, a busy city of about 22 million (including Giza). The sky was sunny to partly cloudy with highs in the 60s, and with clear visibility (uncommon for Cairo).
Giza Pyramids & Sphinx
Following an easy breakfast and leaving at 7 a.m., we drove south to the Giza area. Here one of the seven wonders of the worlds stands tall, the Great Pyramids of Giza! Among the 120 or so total pyramids uncovered in Egypt to date, the three here are most famous. We enjoyed seeing these 500 foot-high burial tombs dating back to about 2,500 (the Old Kingdom) from various perspectives. Not until you stand next to them do you realize just how massive they are. The largest one was built with about 2.5 million stones! A few in the group went into one of them. At the base of the pyramids stands the Sphinx. This too was impressive. Both the pyramids and the Sphinx were built about 500 years before Abraham!
After getting an early snack at a convenient store, we drove about 40 minutes to Memphis. This was the first capital of ancient Egypt (in the Old Kingdom) until it moved to Luxor/Thebes. The most impressive ruin here is the statute of Ramses II. It is laying down, with the lower part missing.
Close by was Sakkara. Here the very first pyramid was built. It is called the Stepped Pyramid. We first descended down through a smaller pyramid and saw the tomb of a nobleman. It dates back to the 2,300’s BC. The detail and color preserved was amazing! We then walked through the temple to get a close-up view of this pyramid built with 6 sets of steps in honor of King Zoser.
“To say Cairo is a busy city is un understatement! We spent all day here, bussing from one site to another. But our first stop to the pyramids was incredible. To describe them just goes beyond words. To even begin to think how they were built is mind-boggling.” -Tour Member-
St. Stergius Coptic Church
Driving to Old Cairo, we visited a church named St. Stergius. It is a Coptic Orthodox Church that preserves the traditional place where Moses was received by Pharoah’s daughter and where Jesus was brought by Joseph and Mary. About 15% of Egyptians at Christians. The lower foundational parts of the church was built in the late 4th/early 5th century AD.
We ended the day with a 2 hour visit to the Egyptian Museum. The size of the museum is enormous. We only saw the highlights of the artifacts. These included such things as Mentuhotep II (probably known by Abraham), Senusret II (the Pharoah who appointed Joseph vizier or prime minister), Hatshepsut (the probable Pharoah’s daughter who rescued Moses), Thutmose III (a possible Pharoah of the Exodus and great invaded), Amenhotep II (the leading possibly Pharoah of the Exodus), and Merneptah (who wrote about Israel in his stele). Upstairs we saw some of King Tut’s artifacts. We also saw the Amarna Letters. Some also went to see the mummy room.
We returned to the hotel for a fabulous dinner. We then (at the time of this writing) went back to our rooms for a few hours sleep until our 12:30 a.m. drive to the airport for our flight home.
DAY 13 – SATURDAY, MARCH 2: DEPART CAIRO / ARRIVE BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We will be flying home all day today.