Luxor is famous for being the world’s biggest open air museum and until now no one else comes close to this treasured spot. Nothing on the planet can measure up to the magnificence of antiquated Thebes. The cutting edge town of Luxor is the site of the renowned city of Thebes, also known as the City of a Hundred Gates.
During the reign of the 12th dynasty in 1991 BC, it served as Egypt’s main capital city and arrived at its pinnacle amid the New Kingdom. In spite of the fact that the mud-block houses and castles of Thebes have vanished, its stone sanctuaries have survived. The loveliest of these is the Luxor Temple. It is located in the city center and close to the banks of the Nile and must be absolutely visited. The facade of the temple has inspired the sets of the movie “The Ten Commandments” by Cecil De Mille.
When To Go:
Indeed the winter months in Egypt can achieve temperatures of up to 80 degrees, so going to Luxor at the opportune time is advisable, particularly if going with youngsters or more seasoned grown-ups. The coolest months range from November to April, yet that being said its highly advisable to drink plenty of water and to take continuous rests (particularly amid the hot lunch hours). Despite the fact that the days get warm, the nights can be noticeably cool, dropping all the way down to as low as 50s. Verify that you pack appropriate clothes in your luggage for both temperature extremes.
With respect to uncommon occasions, Luxor brags a few celebrations that agree both to customary antiquated Egyptian traditions, and in addition religious occasions of different organizations (counting all inclusive celebrations like Prophet Mohammed’s birthday).
To enjoy your stay, explore and discover these top things to do when in Luxor…
The Luxor Temple is just a few meters away from the Temple of Karnak and it is much smaller than that, but no less impressive. In the past, there was a street that connected these two great temples. This temple was dedicated to the God Amun, Mut the deities (Amon’s wife) and Khonsu (Gods triad of the city). Its ancient name was ISPA-resit and once a year a gathering is held at this place in which the organizers take great effort to transport the statues of Amon, Mut and Khonsu at Karnak to Luxor. There are also colossal statues of Ramses II, in particular that is displayed around the temple.
The exciting entry with the two statues of Ramses and the obelisk (the twin of the one that stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris) leaves a good impression to all spectators who explore Luxor. Worth a visit with a guide who will explain and make you notice things that otherwise you’ll miss or not understand.
Temple of Karnak
The Temple of Karnak was dedicated to the gods of Ammon and located three kilometers from the temple of Luxor and consists of three areas divided from each other and separated by a wall of bricks The are occupied by the temple is so vast that the guide explained may occupy at the same time the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Milan Cathedral and the Cathedral of Westminster for you to have an idea and range of how wide it really is, in fact, it is the largest temple in the columns of the World. You can walk along the stunning boulevard filled with sphinxes, see the hall of 134 columns with lovely obelisks, the beetle granite and finally visit the sacred lake where the priests make their sacred rites.
The temple is something great that even if today there are only ruins it still provides a quick journey into the past where you can only imagine what it might be at the time, with the floor covered with silver, and more than 100 massive columns to hold the roof that served as a roof, with the sacred lake in which purified the priests and the long avenue lined by sphinxes with ram’s head. A place with rich history and great insight about early Egypt, a visit here is truly a must if you’re in Luxor.
Valley of The Kings
This place has a mystical atmosphere; the climate drives and hot air looks like being on another planet. At first sight it appears like only the grandeur of the valley is above you, but when you get to the inputs of the tombs you will have an impression that you are just like an ant because of the enormous landscape. The Valley of the Kings is an impressive project that was done by the ancient Egyptians to dig those works of art in the heart of the mountain and meant to guard the deceased persons. The exhibited works of precision seems beyond belief and performed in the conditions at the limit of the human being. They knew exactly what they were doing when the architects have chosen this site that is hidden in the mountains. The humid and dry heat has helped preserve the graves in a fantastic way. Too bad that they do not allow to take pictures inside, but you also need to understand the need to preserve these masterpieces.
The air inside is very moist and considering the influx of people it becomes very stale, every meter a new discovery, a new hieroglyphics, tunnels stairs, in short it is a real art gallery in the middle of the desert. It is so nice and highly recommended, but only to those who do not care about the heat, high humidity and not claustrophobic. Get a guide and visit it calmly for every grave is a discovery and has lots of stories to tell. These are the true tombs of the Pharaohs and all the graves, without exception, tells a story; especially about the Pharaoh who is buried there. All throughout the drawings and paintings that cover both the walls and the times connects with the information that you can also find inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Temple of Medinat Habu
Medinet Habu is the Arabic title of the mortuary temple of the late pharaoh Ramses III, a huge complex second only to Karnak but better preserved. The Temple of Medinat Habu is not often seen by travelers but it definitely deserves more attention. The temple is surrounded by a wall partially intact and beautiful are the representations that still fail to see Ramses III was the second pharaoh of the 20th dynasty and is considered the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom. Ramses III, like the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt, was also buried in the Valley of the Kings, but he built this great mortuary temple to honor his memory and to house the cult that connected with the gods. The most striking thing about the complex of Habu is the colors that are intact in many of the rooms and places of the temple itself.
It is one of the best temples of Luxor that truly deserves a visit. The Temple of Medinat Habu is not perhaps as famous as the other famous temples around Luxor, but it hides some unique treasures like its very rich hieroglyphics. Another surprising fact is the good state of preservation of the colors used to paint the walls and columns, up to now it still looks vivid and bright.
It is exciting to visit this complex with its entrance portal that looks truly majestic. Among the architectural structures built during the New Kingdom, this temple is very special, even for the function for which it was built; they will only officiate the funeral ceremonies and the pompous last stage before burial in the Valley of the Kings.
It is very much different from other temples because it is not a religious temple (you will not find religious symbols such as the papyrus and lotus), but built to celebrate military victories of Ramses III, that the people had to do to give glory to this pharaoh and you can already see that in the immense façade designed in classic style, with two towers (east and west) and the representation of the Nile in the middle. In this temple, the representation of the Pharaoh is different. In fact he wants to be represented in Nubian style. Another difference with the other temples here is that the incisions are much deeper. Also the colors here are preserved much better than in other temples, because, in later times, the walls were covered with lime to hide them.
The Luxor Museum is located not far from the walk along the river or better known as the frame and is also relatively close to the temples of Luxor and Karmak. Although it is small, it is very well organized and non-dispersive. At the entrance you will see the beautiful head of Hathor and in another room there are some natural size statues. Typically you can admire furnishings and jewelry found in the valley of the kings and queens, and other artifacts that have not been moved to the most famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The museum contains a modest collection of works of art of high quality dating from the Pre-dynastic Period until the Islamic era. The modern building is very spacious with lots of room to move around and view objects that are well exposed.
The Temple of Luxor or the Ipet Reswt (Harem Southern) for the Ancient Egyptians, is dedicated to Amun-Ra, and where you can also find under the floor, twenty-six statues of the Pharaohs of the most famous of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The small but elegant and well organized Luxor Museum, was born to make room for these beautiful artifacts enriched however with others of equal importance. Thus we can see a selection of statues ranging from Amenhotep III (father of Akh-en-Aton), at the same Akh-en-Aten and his son (according to the latest findings) Tut-Ankh-Amon. In particular, it is essential to stop to admire the statue of Tuthmosis III (perhaps the greatest pharaoh of all Egyptian History) considered one of the most beautiful statues, not only in Egypt but of all time.
Tomb of Ramses VI
Each tomb has its magic and reason to remember why we need to visit it. The Tomb of Ramses VI is very interesting because it paints much what it has to do with theology, the fundamental elements for the Egyptians of the Sun, the Moon, and then the Light of Life and what it is used and where it takes us. The designs on the ceiling are wonderful and you can imagine how it was in ancient times all with astronomical reasons, while the walls contain writings by various important books – Book of the Dead, Day, Night, Amduat, the Gates, Cave, etc. If you love or just plain curious visitors you will not be disappointed by this tomb though it is small and contains unique elements.
The tomb of Ramses VI, is located in a modern large courtyard, near the gates of the Valley of the Kings. The presence of graffiti marks suggests that it was used as a Christian church or existed since the 5th century AD. An ancient map of the tomb drawn on papyrus is now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. When they decided to build the tomb in the Valley there were already several other and for this reason it was dug in an easily recognizable spot on a hillside. Although he lived a little, his tomb has remained one of the most beautiful, rich in decorations with old hieroglyphics that are still visible. Through a hallway, a bedroom and another corridor you can explore and get all in a row up to the hall of the sarcophagus. You cannot take pictures inside and you must leave all gadgets with camera at the entrance.
Tomb of King Tutankhamun (Tut)
To enter the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (Tut), you have to pay a little extra ticket because this is perhaps the most famous pharaoh of Egypt. On signs at the entrance to the tomb it is listed as KV62.Tutankhamun was the boy pharaoh who came to power at the age of nine and died when he was maybe around twenty. His tomb was discovered in all its glory and still perfectly preserved.
There is a nice underground, a small staircase and a corridor and several rooms including the hall where you can find his sarcophagi. Although it is a very small tomb, it is here where you can find the objects of inestimable value as well as the wonderful golden mask of the boy pharaoh. The walls are in bright colors with great pictures and easy to recognize in their history.
Avenue of Sphinxes
At the time of the New Kingdom, the Avenue of Sphinxes is a spectacular street that unites about 3 kilometer distances between the two Temples of Karnak and Luxor; a street lined with beautiful sphinxes. Now, unfortunately, there are only some sections, although some are being painstakingly unearthing the recent urbanization of Luxor. The best preserved side is however the one immediately to the north of the Temple of Luxor and connected to it. It is a must see attraction where you need to contemplate or observe not only from within but also from this road along the north Temple.
Tomb of Ramses III
The tomb of Ramses III, is located in the central area of the Valley of the Kings, you enter it after a steep staircase and you immediately meet the disk of the sun god with the beetle. The tomb is large with several rooms, located in the beautiful valley of the kings, and like the other tombs can be reached with a train – the taftaf – ranging from the parking at bus entrance of the area of the graves.
Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina)
The Valley of the Artisans (Deir el-Medina) is considered an immortal place and it is hard to find words to describe the grandeur and wonder of this site. Everything you can see on the web or in books makes absolutely no justice to such great beauty. It seems like a little Pompeii, even if the walls are low and there are no buildings. The tours do not go there because it is not as sensational as the temples, but the atmosphere is special. You have to read a lot about this particular heavily guarded village. If you can and you have time, go there when you’re in Luxor, the visit is worth the time and effort. This is where the workers who have made the Valley of the Kings and Queens, are accommodated in a row of small houses where they lived altogether.
Luxor is located on the east bank of the Nile, where once stretched the Ancient Thebes, the first capital of Egypt. The Luxor Temple is one of the most fascinating monuments of Ancient Egypt, which the ancient Egyptians often called the harem of Southern Amon. The nearby temple was finished by Ramses II and then joined by the temple of Karnak through an avenue of sphinxes which were lined with ram heads replaced with human heads. For those who are fond of ancient Egypt a tour of Luxor is a must, but also for all the other tourists, it is a site to put absolutely in the “agenda” of exciting places to see in Egypt.