Luxury River Cruises In Egypt And The Middle East
By Karen Cooke
The majestic River Nile, considered by many to be the lifeblood of Egypt and the Middle East, offers the ultimate in luxury river cruising. Temples, sacred valleys and amphitheatres abound on a cruise between riverside destinations. Few places on earth continue to captivate from one century to the next.
All luxury river cruises in this region feature Cairo as a top sightseeing destination.
Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt and aptly translates to "the triumphant."
Cairo is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north of Egypt.
Cairo is a fascinating juxtaposition of ancient and modern architecture, citing such monuments as the Pyramids, the Hanging Church, the Sphinx, and Heliopolis as its own. The oldest part of the city is east of the river.
The Egyptian pyramids are essential viewing when in Cairo. There are over 100 pyramids in Egypt. The best known Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest pyramid and the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.
No luxury river cruise is complete without a visit to the city of Edfu - situated on the west bank of the Nile River. Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement, Tell Edfu. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus is the best preserved.
Esna is a city is situated on the west bank of the River Nile, 55 kilometres south of Luxor. This city was built in the area of ancient Latopolis and is
the site of a major temple dedicated to the god Khnum. Ancient texts mention that it was built on the site of a temple that may have been constructed as early as the reign of Tuthmosis III.
Aswan is the ancient city of Swenet, which in antiquity was the frontier town of Ancient Egypt. It stands on the east bank of the Nile and is a busy market and tourist centre and one of the driest inhabited places in the world. The stone quarries of ancient Egypt were located at Aswan, due to its abundance of Syenite, a granitic rock.
One of the highlights of an Egyptian river cruise is a stop at Luxor. Translating to 'the palaces', Luxor is home to the most awe-inspiring collection of ancient monuments in the world. From the magnificent temples of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings on the river's West Bank, Luxor is the jewel of any journey.
One of the first stops in the city must be the Temple of Luxor - built by Amenophis III.
The Temple of Luxor is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile. The temple begins with the 24 metre high First Pylon, built by Ramses II. The main entrance to the temple complex was originally flanked by six colossal statues of Ramses - four standing, and two seated - but only two have survived.
Just outside of Luxor lies another spectacular destination for sightseeing. The Valley of the Kings is a valley where, for a period of nearly 500 years, tombs were constructed for the kings and nobles of the New Kingdom. The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, within the heart of the Necropolis. The area has been a focus of concentrated archaeological exploration since the eighteenth century. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site.
Outside Egypt, you may also want to explore Dubai by water. Dubai is a modern metropolis situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai Creek is a large body of water (suitable for large ships to enter) running northeast-southwest through the city, making for an ideal destination for river cruises.
A Dubai river cruise offers stunning views of the city. Tour Dubai and the Arabian Gulf and witness the beauty of Dubai in all its present and former glory. Points of interest along the way include: the National Bank of Dubai, the Heritage Village and Sheikh Saeed's house.
Dubai is known internationally as a premier tourist destination. Dubai offers an endless array of unique opportunities for things to see and do. Highlights include: desert safaris, dune driving; sand-skiing; moonlit Arabian desert barbecues, camel racing, horse racing, falconry, and exploring the old city markets.
Sightseeing opportunities include: traditional architecture; ancient mosques, magnificent palaces, dusty Bedouin villages, lush oases, and beautiful sunsets.
Karen Cooke is a professional consultant with Travel Associates, an exclusive Australian travel agency catering to the premium travel market. More helpful travel tips and suggestions are available at www.travel-associates.com.au.