European interest in Egypt began to grow after Napoleon Bonaparte invaded that country in 1798. In addition to soldiers, Napoleon brought 150 scholars — scientists, engineers, and academics – to study Egyptian culture and history. The temples and tombs of Luxor, Philae, Dendera, and the Valley of the Kings were recorded in scrupulous detail and the results were published in the colossal 20-volume Description de l’Égypte. Interest in a pharaonic Egypt never before seen by the outside world was born which led to comprehensive archaeological expeditions and countless collections of impressive antiquities outside of Egypt.
Led by renowned Egyptologist, Bob Brier, and Art Historian, Patricia Remler, Far Horizons offers 14 participants a truly unique 12-day sojourn through Germany and Austria, with an emphasis on each country’s great museums and their Egyptology assemblages. Travel from Hannover in northern Germany to Vienna, Austria, and along the way, stop to walk through historic centers with some of the most stunning architecture in northern Europe.
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Depart the USA.
Arrive Hannover in the morning. Lower Saxony’s capital is a university city and economic center that was once an imperial seat. Three men of the royal line, the House of Hanover, became kings to Great Britain. After lunch, we will stroll through the old center of Hannover to see the half-timbered houses, the magnificent neo-classical Opera House, and the splendid New City Hall, built in the early 20th century. Located within the historic center, the August Kestner Museum was founded in 1889 to house art works of the Kestler family. Celebrated for its Egyptian relics, the museum also displays superb Greco-Roman pieces. We continue to Hildesheim and overnight for two nights in the Van der Valk Hotel, located in the center of the historic area. (L)
In 1907, collector Wilhelm Pelizaeus gave his antiquities to his hometown of Hildesheim, and The Roemer- and Pelizaeus-Museum was established. Our all day walking tour begins here where we meet with one of the museum’s curators who will show us the outstanding treasures of the Old Kingdom. The most important epochs of the Egyptian culture, from the pre-dynastic to Christian times, are represented by more than 8000 objects. Lunch will be on our own in the museum’s Restaurant Nil. In the afternoon, we will walk through the medieval center of Hildesheim, one of the oldest cities in northern Germany. Although much was destroyed during World War Two, it was quickly rebuilt and the restored half-timbered houses in the old town are excellent examples of medieval Germany. This charming university town contains two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. St. Michael’s Church is an early-Romanesque church that was completed in the early 11th century. Installed in the early 1200s, and removed during the war which saved it, the glorious painted wooden ceiling in the nave shows the Tree of Jesse, the genealogy of the family of Jesus. St. Mary Church was built in the 9th century, and although almost completely destroyed in 1945, it was reconstructed soon after the war. The building contains many gems including the original 11th century cast-bronze doors depicting biblical scenes and a cast-bronze column depicting scenes from the life of Christ. A huge rose covering the outside wall of the apse is believed to have been established by King Louis the Pious in 815. Where it’s that old or not, documentation proves that ‘The Thousand Year Rose’ existed at least 400 years ago. Dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, it is the icon for the city. Our final stop is the City Museum to see the Hildesheim Treasure, unearthed in 1868 in Hildesheim, and the largest collection of Roman silver found outside imperial frontiers. Gather this evening for our welcome dinner party. (B/ /D)
Travel from Hildesheim to Leipzig, in what was once East Germany. After lunch in a traditional restaurant, we will begin our walking tour in the picturesque Market Square, surrounded by imposing buildings. Begun in 1556, the arcaded Altes Rathaus, or Old Town Hall, is the most beautiful historical landmark in Leipzig and is considered one of Germany’s best examples of Renaissance architecture. Between 1723 and 1750 Johann Sebastian Bach was the cantor at the nearby 13th-century St. Thomas Church, and it has been his burial place since 1950. Look for his ledger stone on the floor of the choir. Also, Martin Luther held sermons here in 1539, introducing the Reformation to Leipzig. Our visit also includes Nikolai’s Church, the oldest and biggest church of Leipzig, dating back to the Middle Ages and remodeled in the late-Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries. The church was the departure point of East Germany’s peaceful revolution in the summer of 1989 that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and the Reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990. Overnight for two nights in the Steigenberger Grand Hotel Handelshof in Leipzig (B/L/D)
The Egyptian Museum of the University of Leipzig holds the most important university collection of its kind in Germany with over 7,000 objects from Egypt. The large exhibition hall displays reliefs and statues dating back to the Pharaonic and Post-Pharaonic Epoch of Egypt. The Nubian room contains a stucco ceiling with griffins and items from Sudan’s Kerma. An entire room is devoted to the funerary equipment and painted coffins of Herishef-hotep, a priest who lived in the end of the First Intermediate Period. The highlight of the museum antiquities is the fine coffin of Hed-Bast-iru, created from the wood of the juniper tree and handsomely adorned with hieroglyphs. After spending the morning in the museum, the afternoon and evening are on our own for further explorations of the lovely town of Leipzig. For the last 800 years, the Boys Choir has been singing in St. Thomas Church, and, if performing, we may have an optional opportunity to hear them. (B/L)
We leave Leipzig this morning and drive into Bavaria to Regensburg, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by water, the city is at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen Rivers. It survived the Second World War in exceptionally good shape, and the number of historic structures traversing almost two thousand years bear witness to the city’s importance as a trading center through the ages. In 179 Marcus Aurelius built the town of Castra Regina and the Porta Praetoria, the original 2nd century gate through the northern wall. It still stands strategically facing where the Regen River flows into the Danube. During our afternoon walk through the streets and alleys, look for other parts of the Roman walls and buildings incorporated into more modern buildings. Our stroll begins at the 12th century stone bridge that once was the only way to reach the town. A masterpiece of medieval engineering, 16 arches span the Danube River. The intrepid will have the opportunity to climb the clock tower that stands at the south end of the bridge for a wonderful view over the city. Regensburg’s 11th to 13th century architecture defines the character of the old town with its patrician houses and fortified towers built by merchants, a status symbol to show their wealth and flaunt their influence. The more important the family, the taller the stronghold. Walk through Haidplatz, the scene of jousting tournaments in the middle ages, and enter Regensburg’s St. Peter’s Cathedral, a perfect example of Gothic architecture. In the late afternoon, we will drive to Munich and overnight for two nights in the Hotel Platzi. (B/L/D)
Begin this morning in The State Museum of Egyptian Art where Dr. Sylvia Schoske, the museum director will host us. Displaying treasure troves from both the pre-dynastic and dynastic periods, the museum has attained worldwide renown and proudly stands as one of the few museums outside of Egypt to be devoted entirely to ancient Egyptian artefacts. Since 2013, the museum has been housed in a stunning new building designed specifically for this collection, and the museum director, Dr. Sylvia Schoske will join us to talk about the museum and its fascinating architecture. Lunch will be in the Hofbräuhaus, the iconic beer hall originally established in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as the official Royal Brewery. Here, the servers wear traditional outfits – lederhosen, or decorated leather breeches, on the men, and dirndl, the colorful dresses of the Bavarian countryside, on the women. In the cavernous interior, we will see the elaborate frescoes in the baroque style that embellish the ceiling in some of the rooms as we enjoy our typical ‘beer hall’ cuisine. The afternoon and evening are free to revisit the museum or for further sightseeing in Munich. (B/L)
We leave Munich, cross the border into Austria and continue on to Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with UNESCO world Heritage status. Picturesquely located on both sides of the Salzach River in the foothills of the Alps, Salzburg is gorgeous! Internationally known for its baroque architecture, this ‘Rome of the North’ has one of the best-preserved historic centers in Europe. This afternoon, we will weave through the narrow streets and Romanesque archways of the old city, pass through the Jewish District, the Judengasse, and stop to see St. Florian Fountain in the Alter Markt, a marketplace that dates back to the 13th century. Along the way, stop to see several fascinating sites. Mozart’s Birthplace at No. 9 Getreidegasse is a shrine to the world-renowned genius. Salzburg’s cathedral, Dom zu Salzburg, is an impressive Baroque monument to the wealth, power and religion of the city. Towering above the skyline, the marble façade is crowned by brilliant turquoise domes atop each of the twin towers. Dominating the city, Hohensalzburg Fortress was originally built in 1077 in preparation for a conflict between Pope Gregor VII and Emperor Henry IV. We will ride the cable car to the top for a view over the city and the luscious mountainous scenery beyond. Overnight in the Hotel Bristol Salzburg. (B/L/D)
We leave Salzburg and head to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Located on the banks of the Danube River, the city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is rich in architectural grandeur. Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks are on display. Upon arrival, we will experience the city’s celebrated cuisine for lunch at one of Vienna’s exceptional restaurants. The afternoon and evening are free for independent explorations. Overnight in Vienna for three nights In the Hotel Kaiserhof Wien. (B/L)
Our all day tour of Vienna takes us to many captivating sites. The Ringstrasse is a circular grand boulevard that serves as a ring road around the historic Innere Stadt, or Old Town. The Viennese Opera House was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse, begun in 1861 and completed in 1869. The Austrian parliament building was created in the Greek Revival style. The Votivkirche, Votive Church, is the only church on the Ring Road. Following the attempted assassination of Franz Joseph in 1853, the Emperor’s brother decided to create a church to give thanks for the Emperor’s life being spared. In the Middle Ages, Vienna was home to a thriving Jewish community, one of the largest and most important in Europe. Famous Rabbis taught and worked here, making Vienna an influential center of Jewish knowledge. This lively and creative environment was forced to an abrupt and violent end in 1420-21, with the expulsion and murder of the Viennese Jews. The ruins of the then-destroyed synagogue, excavated under the Judenplatz in 1995, testifies to the life and destruction of that medieval community. We will enter the Judenplatz Museum to learn of Jewish life in the 14th century. The Sigmund Freud Museum in what was once his private quarters was founded in 1971 and covers Sigmund Freud’s life story. This is where he lived for 47 years and produced the majority of his writings. Housed within the Austrian National Library, the Papyrus Museum displays 3,000 years of Egyptian cultural history and 200 unique papyri. The Schonbrunn Palace was the summer imperial residence under the Habsburgs for more than three hundred years. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Monument. The spectacular baroque gardens were created as a demonstration of Habsburg power and an attempt to outshine the grounds at Versailles. Dinner is on our own. (B/L)
This morning, we enter Kunsthistorisches Museum. Housed in a palatial building on Ringstraße, it is the largest art museum in the country. The Egyptian and Near Eastern Section is among the world’s most important assemblage of Egyptian antiquities with more than 17,000 objects dating as far back as four thousand years. Among the highlights are the richly decorated Offering Chapel of Ka-ni-nisut from the Old Kingdom, numerous sarcophagi and coffins, animal mummies, examples of the Book of the Dead, grave stelae, divine figures, objects of daily life such as clothing and cosmetic articles, and masterpieces of sculpture such as the Reserve Head from Giza. Reserve heads are distinctive creations made primarily of fine limestone that have been found in a number of non-royal tombs of the Fourth dynasty of Egypt. The striking individuality of the pieces makes them some of the earliest examples of portrait sculpture in existence. Lunch will be on our own in the museum café. The afternoon is free to return to the museum or visit other sites in Vienna. Gather this evening for our final gala dinner party. (B/ /D)
Return to the USA. (B)
Price is based on double occupancy and includes:
Trip prices are based on a minimum number of participants. If this minimum number is not met, trip prices are subject to change. Should the prices need to change, Far Horizons will reach out to registered guests to discuss directly.
Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement must be charged.
As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural sites and projects which we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant donate to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person. Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.
Prices are based on currency exchange rates keeping below a projected level. While it is unlikely, if the exchange rates should change substantially, Far Horizons reserves the right to charge an additional amount to the trip cost.
A deposit of $1000 per person is required along with your registration & health forms, which will be linked in the email confirmation you receive once you pay your deposit on our booking platform. Final payment is due 120 days before departure. Prior to departure, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information.
Cancellations received in writing at least 120 days before departure will receive a refund less a $500 per person administrative fee. Cancellations received less than 120 days before the departure date will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the trip, Far Horizons will not reimburse any fees. Upon registering for the tour, the purchase of travel protection with both trip cancellation and emergency evacuation is strongly advised. Links to recommended insurance policies will be included in the email you receive confirming receipt of your deposit.
International round trip flights are not included in the cost of the trip. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. Please send your complete air schedule as soon as you have it. NOTE: Please contact Far Horizons if you would like for us to handle your air ticketing.
The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be on site when our groups arrive due to other commitments.
Far Horizons expects all participants to be physically active and able to walk and climb independently throughout the full touring days. This includes walking over uneven terrain (uphill and downhill) for 2 miles or more at each site. You should expect to be on your feet for much of each day, averaging as much as 5 miles of walking per day. As such, each participant should be able to walk unaided at a pace of 3 miles per hour for at least an hour at a time, and to stand unsupported for at least 60 minutes. Bearing this in mind, we suggest that, if you have not already done so, you begin walking several miles every day, ideally including stairs and hills. If you have questions about your ability to keep up with the group or the strenuous nature of this trip, please contact the Far Horizons staff.
This tour is designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. We have designed this trip to be as comfortable as possible, while also aiming to visit some remote or unique sites that other companies do not attempt to include in their itineraries. There may be days where we have very long drives and the conditions of the roads may vary. Hotels and transportation in some remote areas may not be up to western standards. There may be times when no bellhops are available; please pack with the understanding that you need to be able to handle your own luggage at times. At times we may be walking over uneven trails for a mile or more; hiking boots are strongly recommended. Not every meal will not be haute cuisine and several lunches may be picnics or box lunches. By maintaining a flexible attitude we will soon be captivated by the beauty of the natural scenery, the hospitality of the local people, and the fascinating sites we will see. Your flexibility and patience will be appreciated.
Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. While we are committed to keeping as close to the published details as possible, sometimes it is simply not possible. Weather events, government affairs, or other factors out of our control sometimes come into play. A good book to read as well as patience, flexible attitude, and a sense of humor are essential.