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12 Day Pilgrimage to Egypt

BEST TIME TO GO Spring & Fall


ET +7 hours 


Welcome to one of the world’s great religious pilgrimages!  On our pilgrimage to Egypt, we’ll encounter the earliest religious experiences of the ancient Egyptians: their sacred spaces, concepts of God, moral wisdom, and yearnings for the afterlife.  We’ll discover the roots of our own biblical origins in Egypt, the country that saved Jacob’s family from starvation, educated Moses, and shielded Jesus and the holy family from Herod’s wrath. 


We’ll walk in the steps of Egypt’s earliest Christians, the members of the Coptic Church who trace themselves back to the mission of the Apostle Mark.  We’ll meet our sisters and brothers in the vibrant Evangelical Church of Egypt, the fruit of Presbyterian missions in Egypt in the 19th century.  Throughout this pilgrimage, we’ll learn what it means to live as a Christian today in a Muslim country and culture. 


Along the way, we’ll encounter the monumental remains of Pharaonic Egypt, historical treasures almost too old and magnificent to believe.  Throughout our trip, we’ll also experience modern Egypt, the Nile that gives it life, its mosques, squares, outdoor markets, and cuisine.  We’ll return as pilgrims with a greater appreciation of our Christian heritage and a deeper love for the world.

Dr. Theodore Hiebert

DAYS 1 & 2 : Chicago > Cairo

Upon arrival, we will be met by our tour manager who assist us through airport arrival formalities including visa handling, passport control, luggage gathering, and customs control.  We will then be transferred by coach to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (D)

DAY 3: The Pyramids, Sphinx & Grand Egyptian Museum

Constructed by the Pharaohs of the 3rd and 4th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (c. 2700-2500 BC) as monuments to their rule and to their life after death, the Pyramids of Giza stood in all of their glory for a thousand years before biblical history began. We then visit the Great Sphinx of Giza, the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and one of the most recognizable statues in the world. The archaeological evidence suggests that it was created by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of Khafre (c. 2558–2532 BC). After lunch at a local restaurant, we're off  the incomparable Grand Egyptian Museum where we will see the great artifacts of ancient Egypt.  Dinner at local restaurant. (B, L, D)

DAY 4: The Coptic Church in Egypt
By_ovedc_-_Hanging_Church_(Cairo)_-_01 (1).jpg

Tracing its beginning to the Apostle Mark in AD 64, the Coptic Orthodox Church goes back to the very origins of Christianity.  In the morning, we’ll visit Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, the Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, and learn about the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt. After lunch, we visit Old Coptic Cairo, sit in the pews and smell the incense in some of Egypt’s oldest churches, including the Hanging Church and the Abou Serge church that date back to the 3rd and 4th centuries.  After brief visit to Ben Ezra Synagogue, time permitting, we will visit nearby shops for Christian symbols, icons, etc.  Dinner at the hotel. (B, L, D)

DAY 5: The Evangelical Theological Seminary and the Protestant Church
Evangelical Seminary of Cairo.jpg

Begun as a mission of the United Presbyterian Church of North America in the late nineteenth century, the Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile) became independent in 1958 and flourishes throughout Egypt. We’ll pay an extended visit to its seminary, the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, the country’s oldest Protestant seminary, to speak with its faculty, students, and future church leaders, and to learn about the mission and work of the Protestant church in Egypt today.  After lunch at the Seminary, the afternoon is free to enjoy shopping in Cairo.  Back to the hotel for dinner. (B, L, D)

DAY 6: Islam in Egypt

For fifteen centuries the church has lived in Egypt under Muslim rule and in a Muslim culture. This morning we visit Mohamed Ali Mosque and Citadel of Saladin.  After lunch at a local restaurant,  we visit with a scholar from Al Azhar University, the world’s second oldest degree granting university and the most prestigious university for Islamic learning. The rest of  the afternoon will be spent exploring and shopping in Cairo’s great traditional outdoor market, the Khan el-Khalili. Get ready to bargain! Dinner at the hotel. (B, L, D)

DAY 7:  St Macarius Monastery and The National Museum

After breakfast, we worship in a local church before our journey into the desert and a visit to Wadi El Natrun where we will experience life inside the St Macarius Monastery. Established by the Desert Fathers during the 4th to the 7th centuries, it is still thriving as monastic community today. After lunch at a local restaurant we return to Cairo for a visit to the National Museum in Tahrir Square, which houses some of Egypt’s most important artifacts of Egypt’s history.  Dinner in a local restaurant.  (B, L, D)

DAY 8: The Holy Family in Egypt and Luxor 
Luxor Temple.jpg

This morning we check out of our hotel in Cairo and visit the Church of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Maadi, aka the Floating Church, where the Holy Family began their journey south.  After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Virgin Mary Church in Mostorod where tradition tells us the Holy Family stayed and The Virgin Mary bathed Jesus. We then go to the Cairo airport for our short flight to Luxor.  Check-in at the hotel.  Dinner will be followed by a horse and carriage ride along the Corniche and beautiful views of Luxor by night.  Back to the hotel for overnight. (B, L, D)

DAY 9:  The West Bank of the Nile

The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom built their tombs and mortuary temples on the Nile’s West Bank, the direction of the setting sun and the gateway to the kingdom of the west where Osiris admitted them to the day of judgment and renewal of life. We’ll descend into the dark tombs in the Valley of the Kings, walk up the broad ascent to the Temple of Hatshepsut—one of the world’s most perfect architectural achievements, explore Medinet Habu with its reliefs of the ancient Philistines, and stop to see the original site of the Merenptah Stele at Merenptah’s mortuary temple.  Lunch at local restaurant on the West Bank, before we enjoy a relaxing Felucca boat ride back to our hotel.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel.  (B, L, D)

DAY 10:  The Great Temples on the Nile’s East Bank

In the morning we’ll visit the Luxor Temple, where we will meet a member of the Epigraphic Survey of the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures of the University of Chicago. We will learn about the work the University of Chicago is doing to preserver the temple and record its inscriptions. After lunch, we visit the Karnak Temple, Egypt’s largest temple.  Dr Ted Hiebert will discuss two inscriptions at the Karnak Temple of particular importance for biblical history.  Dinner at a local restaurant.  (B, L, D)

DAY 11: Luxor to Cairo

This morning we check out of our hotel in Luxor and fly back to Cairo.  Upon arrival, we will visit Church of the Virgin Mary at Zeitoun (Church of the Apparition).  The rest of the afternoon is ours to relax, debrief our pilgrimage and to end our trip with an evening Farewell Dinner.  We return to the hotel for shower, refreshment and preparation for our late evening departure to the airport. (B, D)

DAY 12: Cairo to Chicago
What’s Included 
  • International roundtrip airfare from Chicgo to Cairo

  • Accommodation for (7) nights in Cairo at 5* hotel

  • Accommodation for (3) nights in Luxor at 5* hotel

  • Breakfast each day

  • 18 lunch and dinner meals as outlined in the program at local restaurants/hotels in Cairo and Luxor

  • Admission fees for all the sights mentioned in the program in Cairo and Luxor

  • Service of Christian, English-speaking Egyptologist guide and English speaking assistant throughout the pilgrimage

  • All transfers and sightseeing in private, 45-48 seat, air-conditioned coach

  • All service charges, applicable taxes & VAT

  • Entry visa cost

  • Domestic flights Cairo>Luxor>Cairo

Not Included

  • Tips to the guide, driver, escort or assistant, porters, etc.

  • Beverage and drinks

  • Any additional optional activity or any additional sights

  • *Single supplement of $1,200.  Minimum 25 pilgrims.

* Price is for double occupancy - single supplement is $1,200. $200 discount for check or Zelle payment (all payments must be check or Zelle, otherwise full price applies)
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