Piraeus, port of Athens.

Already dazzled by the remains of the Greek capital, cruise passengers who climb aboard the majestic

Crystal are

preparing to travel back in time to the shores of the Levant.

At the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, these luminous borders will offer them the keys to the past.

The eastern Mediterranean has indeed been producing wonders since the dawn of time.

Those of the ancient world serve as a common thread for this scholarly circuit, imagined by the Greek company Celestyal Cruises.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Artemision of Ephesus unfortunately only feed the legends.

But the Great Pyramid of Cheops, it continues to challenge the centuries and the imagination.

First stage of the journey aboard the

Crystal

, Egypt is the heir to the most gigantic monuments that have ever been built. On the Giza plateau, a three-hour drive from Port Said, the pyramids and their Sphinx bear witness to limitless architectural daring. These indestructible masses, four and a half millennia old, automatically cause amazement in their visitors: why, how and by whom were they erected? The numbers are hardly credible. With a height of 146 meters for an area of ​​5 hectares, the pyramid of Cheops has 5 million tons of cut stones. Its site would have mobilized 200,000 workers for 20 years! The extraction and transport of huge boulders seems never to have posed a problem, not only to the Egyptians, but to all the populations of antiquity.The rest of the trip demonstrates this at each stopover.

In Jerusalem, the notion of “World Heritage” takes on its full meaning at the foot of the impressive Western Wall. The visit of this holy city for the three great monotheistic religions is the second highlight of the trip. Chosen by King David to bring together the tribes of Israel, then by Solomon and Herod to build their Temples, Jerusalem has symbolized the unity of the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years. The main founding acts of Christianity also took place there. It is here that Jesus preached and suffered the Passion before resurrecting. For Muslims, finally, the city is linked to the initiatory journey of the Prophet Muhammad. After its conquest in 638 by Caliph Omar, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque were built on the former Temple esplanade.

Muslims, Jews and Christians then lived there in peace, until the bloody parenthesis of the Crusades.

In 1099, the Frankish knights who came to deliver the Holy Sepulcher of Christ sacked the city.

They occupied it throughout the 12th century, but ended up yielding to Saladin's troops.

By following the retreat of these Crusaders of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem to the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes, the

Celestyal Crystal

continues to sail the thread of history.

The passion for old stones

The two large islands in the eastern Mediterranean have always been highly coveted for their strategic position. But despite successive influences, they have never denied their Greek identity, based on mythology. For archeology enthusiasts, Cyprus is an open-air museum. It is indeed in the foam of its waves that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, would have appeared. From the port of Limassol, ancient sites stretch along the south coast of the island to Kourion. Known for its magnificent mosaics, this important “city-kingdom” has above all a perfectly restored Greco-Roman theater. At dusk, the spectacle offered by this stage open to the sea allows visitors of the 21st century to understand why men decided to celebrate the cult of beauty here.

Mythology also tells of the genesis of Rhodes. Helios, the sun god, was absent when his fellows divided the world among themselves. It was then decided that "all the new islands that emerge" would come back to him. This is how Rhodes, coming out of the waves, became his. Since then, the island has always benefited from his warm benevolence. In homage to their tutelary divinity, the Rhodians erected a gigantic statue at the entrance to their port. 33 meters high, this bronze Colossus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Overturned by an earthquake, the mythical work has completely disappeared. But its aura still hangs over the old town.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rhodes is today considered to be the best preserved medieval inhabited complex in Europe. Protected by imposing fortifications, its citadel was the seat of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem after their departure from Cyprus. Rhodes was then occupied by the Ottomans, then by the Italians. From these historical adventures results an original architectural ensemble, where the palace of the Grand Masters, defenders of Christendom, adjoins the mosque of Sultan Soliman and the Mussolini theater.

He too, heir to a turbulent history, Ephesus is the final stage of the journey. Unmissable crossroads of the ancient trade routes between Asia and Europe, this major archaeological site compiles Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains. Its houses with delicate murals bear witness to a sumptuous life focused on the arts, culture and pleasures. The city, abandoned after the silting up of its port, has indeed reached us in an excellent state of conservation. Now, it is about ten kilometers, in the city of Kusadasi, that the ships must dock. Back on board, leaning on the rail, captivated travelers remember the extraordinary variety of sites visited. And yet, from the Nile delta to the coast of Turkey, a unity also exists. A unit made up of architectural feats,of religious devotion and Mediterranean light.

Trip

Svalbard, the ultimate adventure in a polar nature sanctuary

Trip

Cyprus, the other island of beauty

Cruise

The "Three Continents" tour developed by the company Celestyal Cruises allows you to discover 6 destinations in 8 days / 7 nights.

Athens in Greece, Port Said in Egypt, Ashdod in Israel, Limassol in Cyprus, the Greek island of Rhodes and Kusadasi in Turkey are the stops on this original itinerary.

In addition to the cruise in a standard interior cabin and full board, the rate of 879 euros / person includes excursions to the Egyptian pyramids and Ephesus.

The Celestyal Crystal, which has 476 cabins, is the setting for this cultural cruise.

On board: two restaurants with Mediterranean specialties, four bars, two lounges, a swimming pool, areas dedicated to well-being, a casino… And a very elaborate program of musical and acrobatic shows.

Information and reservations on the company's website or by phone on 01 78 42 51 73

  • Tourism

  • Trip

  • Mediterranean

  • Cruises

Keywords: