Pre-Conference Day in Cairo
The Pyramids of Saqqara and the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
Friday, June 8th

With Normandi Ellis

If you are new to Egypt or if you want to glimpse its ancient splendor, we strongly recommend a day in and around Cairo prior to the conference. In the morning, we will visit the pyramids and tombs of Saqqara, the first of Egypt’s pyramids, and the oldest necropolis continuously used during dynastic times in Lower Egypt.  Even Plato made a pilgrimage to Saqqara to see the tombs of the sage Ptahhotep at this architectural wonder, which is now largest archeological site in Egypt. This vast burial ground served the ancient capital city of Memphis and contains numerous pyramids, including the famous Step pyramid of Djoser, whose chief vizier, Imhotep, was the master builder behind Saqqara. Saqqara is also home to the first hieroglyphic text, the Pyramid Text of Egypt, the oldest known religious book, whose passages eventually evolved into the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  In the afternoon we will visit the incomparable Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, with its 136,000 exhibits, a must for any student of the mysteries of Ancient and Ptolemaic Egypt. We will have dinner at an outdoor restaurant, spend the night at our five-star hotel near Giza, and depart by bus the following morning for Alexandria by way of the Coptic monasteries of Wadi El-Natrun.