The Bible contains but a few verses about the years the Holy Family spent in Egypt - their flight from Herod's death sentence, the weary journey, and their return to Israel. But what exactly happened to Jesus and his parents in this ancient land of magic and myth? By pouring over narratives of the apocrypha and the traditions of the Coptic Orthodox church, this program was able to follow the Holy Family's route through Egypt - from their entrance across the burning sands of the Sinai Desert to their zigzagging path down the Nile.
Board your international flight to Cairo and begin your journey back in time to this charming, ancient land.
Arrive at Cairo International Airport where you will be greeted by TPT representative and escorted to a fine hotel for the first overnight stay.
Following a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the hotel, board the bus for a full day guided tour of Old Cairo. Visit the famous Hanging Church with its breathtaking icons and the synagogue of Ben Ezra which marks the spot where Moses was believed to have been found by the Pharaoh's daughter. Then visit the cave under what is now the Greek cemetery where the Holy Family hid from the soldiers of King Herod. At the church of Maadi on the Nile a Bishop from the Coptic Church will show you the tunnel where it is thought the Holy family escaped across the Nile. He will also talk to you about the creation of the Holy Family Trail by the Coptic Church. Following lunch at a local restaurant, the bus trip will continue to the church at Mostorod which is built over a cave where the Holy Family sought shelter. Then it's on to the famed tree of Mary in Matariya where the Holy Koran says that the Holy Family was concealed from pursuing soldiers by spider webs. That evening, return to Cairo for a delicious dinner before spending the night for the next day's journey. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
After a full buffet breakfast, you will board the bus for a voyage north to Wadi Natrun on the famed desert road. It is here that you will see the magnificent monasteries of al- Sorian, al-Baramose, al-Anba Bishoi and, if permission is granted, the monastery of Abu Makar. These are functioning monasteries where you will meet monks who will colourfully present the history of these incredible bastions of spirituality, places where Jesus was said to have predicted the presence of "spiritual fighters" almost 2000 years ago. A tasty box lunch will be provided on the bus. Dinner that night is provided at the hotel where you will spend the night in preparation for the next day's journey. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Buffet breakfast will be followed by a bus trip to the pyramids of the Giza Plateau. These magnificent structures are the only remaining monuments of the seven wonders of the world. It is here that you will visit history's first pyramid,and ponder life at its enormous necropolis. During lunch at a covered outdoor restaurant, you can discuss the meaning and purpose of the pyramids with a noted Egyptologist who will also talk about the Holy Family's crossing of the Giza Plateau and what it must have been like for them to see these Pharaonic tombs, structures that must have filled them with both marvel and disgust. Dine that night at the hotel's restaurants where you will also spend the night. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
An early buffet breakfast will be followed by a trip to the Saint Paul and Saint Anthony monasteries on the shores of the Red Sea. En route you will stop at Deir al Maimun to visit the Pharaonic tomb where St. Anthony lived for more than 20 years. This site is located inside an ancient church built with ruins of a Pharaonic temple. As you leave this church for the desert drive to the Red Sea, you will wonder about the spiritual beliefs that drove St. Anthony to build so many great monasteries like those you will see on the water's edge. Monks at these famous monasteries will tell you about the life of this famous Saint, known as history's first hermit. You will have a box lunch on the bus and that night dinner at a Red Sea hotel in Za'farana or Ain Sukhne, where you will spend the night at an excellent hotel. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Breakfast at the hotel will be followed by a bus trip back to Cairo, where you will visit the church of Zeitoun, where a vision of Mary in 1968 was seen for more than 3 months, even by President Nassar. A priest will show pictures of this amazing vision and will tell the story of what happened to Egypt when this vision was seen. Following a late lunch at a local restaurant, you will finish the day with a tour of the Egyptian Museum. Here a guide will take you on a tour of the relics of Ancient Egypt that have a strong connection with Christianity. Here you will see Pharaonic symbols used by modern day Christians and hear about ancient rituals used even today in church services. Dinner will be at the hotel where you will spend the night. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Buffet breakfast will be followed by a bus trip to Sakha. This northern Delta town is home to the footprint of Jesus, a stone impression of a foot believed to be that of the Divine Child, one that was left as the Holy Family passed through this area. After examining the stone and hearing its story from the priests who care for it, you will journey to the nearby town of Samanud where ancient Christian documents fill the library. That night you will overnight in Cairo after dinner at the hotel. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Buffet breakfast will be followed by a bus trip to El Minia, 250 kilometers south of Cairo. From here you will visit two extraordinary sites: Ashmunayn and Gabel el-Teir, both famous for visits by the Holy Family. The spectacular site of Ashmunayn was a thriving port on the Nile when visited by the Holy Family. What you will see now are impressive remnants from the many civilizations that have occupied this spot since before and after the visit of the Holy Family. Called Hermopolis by the Greeks who built tall Corinthian pillars that still stand proudly, Ashmunayn contains exquisite examples of Pharaonic ruins and a massive underground basilica that was built in the fifth century. A visit to this impressive site and its small museum will let you see and feel what life was like 2000 years ago. Then it's on to Gabel el-Teir to one of the most famous and beautiful site on the Holy Family Trail, the mountainside monastery built on the site of the cave where the Holy Family is thought to have stayed as they fled upriver from the pursuing soldiers. The priest will tell you why the entrance to a secret Pharaonic tomb might lie beneath the altar and why they cannot know for sure. That night, stay and dine at one of Minia's fabled Nile River hotels where the sound of the water fills the cool night air. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
After breakfast on the banks of the Nile, the bus will take you further south to Abu Hinnis, a small Christian town with a big history. Here you can tour an authentic country village and its ancient churches. Or visit Ansena, an ancient ghost town on the banks of the Nile that was visited by the Holy Family. The hardier of travellers can climb to the caves of Abu Hinnis, a fairly difficult hike that rewards your effort with a chance to view cave painting of the Holy Family's flight to Egypt. These cave paintings were done by sixth century hermits who lived in the tombs and quarries of these mountains and are among the great art treasures of the world. A box lunch will be served on the bus trip back to Cairo. Dinner will be served at the hotel where you will spend the night. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
After a buffet breakfast, prepare for a bus trip to the Sinai Desert and the magnificent St. Catherine's Monastery. It is here that you will see - even climb if you want - Mount Moses, thought to be the mountain where Moses received the 10 commandments from God. At St. Catherine's you will see its extensive library of ancient documents and hear the stories of the monastery as only the monks can tell them. A box lunch will be served on the bus and dinner at the monastery where you will stay. Special Note: The climb of Mount Moses starts at 1 am. The monastery is open to the public from 9 to 11:30 am. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Athletic travellers will welcome this arduous climb in the footsteps of Moses. The climb begins at 1 am and takes four hours. Once on top you will have a panoramic view of one of the most famous regions of the Holy Lands, the place where God revealed his law to man. Those not inclined to climb this mountain can spend the day touring the monastery, a beautiful facility with a deep history. Breakfast will be served at the monastery. By mid afternoon, you will board a bus for return to Cairo. There you can have a gala final dinner of your tour and spend the night before leaving for the airport. Meals Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Following breakfast you will be escorted to the Cairo airport for your departure flight. Meals Breakfast
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