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LUXOR

Luxor, once the Ancient Egyptian capital city of Thebes, is often described as the world’s largest open-air museum. Magnificent temples, avenues of Sphinxes, giant obelisks and royal tombs provide evidence of the advanced civilization present in Egypt thousands of years ago.
Thebes was divided in two parts: where the sun rises, the east bank of the river Nile, was the land of the living, while the west bank, where the sun goes down, was reserved for the afterlife.

KarnakSphinxesstretch

Luxor is located 670 km/420 miles south of Cairo. Domestic and international airlines provide scheduled and chartered flights directly to Luxor and Aswan. Nile cruises start either in Luxor or in Aswan.

SIGHTS

luxorgodinLuxor Temple
The temple of Luxor is at the heart of Thebes, along the eastern bank of the Nile. The temple is dedicated to the triad Amun-Min, Mut and Khonsu. Two enormous statues of Ramses II greet the visitor before entering the temple, which was originally built by pharaoh Amenophis III. The pylons at the entrance show Ramses II’s victorious campaigns, while the inner walls feature details of the lives of the pharaohs. Evidence of the temple once being used as a Christian church can be seen on colorful murals, and immediate left of the entrance is the mosque of Abu El Haggag, which makes this site an ongoing place of worship. A 2 km Avenue of Ram-headed Sphinxes connected the Temple of Luxor with the Temples of Karnak. When you walk on what remains of the avenue you can easily grasp its glory during the time of the ancient Egyptians.

Karnak RamsesThe Temples of Karnak
An overwhelming feeling emerges from the sight of the immense Great Temple of Amun-Ra. Initially built by pharaohs of the 12th dynasty, successive pharaohs expanded the complex over a 2000-year period. Massive pylons and pillars loom above the smaller chapels scattered throughout the enclosure. Important features, are the Hypostyle Hall with more than 100 massive sandstone columns, two of the largest pink granite obelisks ever erected, the imposing giant scarab representing the young sun god Khephera, and the man made Sacred Lake, which served the priest for their daily purification rites and other water ceremonies.
After sunset you can enjoy a fascinating and dramatic ‘Sound and Light Show’.

Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum offers a collection of premier artefacts, beautifully displayed with lots of care. The museum has a number of original intact statues of pharaohs and deities and also houses the royal mummies of pharaoh Ahmose I and Ramses I. All items are well chosen for their historical or artistic interest. 

Mummification Museum
The unique collection has an extensive selection of mummies, including animal mummies, and ancient tools used for embalming. Step-by-step you will learn about the process of mummification and the reason why the ancient Egyptians were so keen on preserving the deceased.

hatsjepsuttempel2Temple of queen Hatshepsut
What a magnificent layout - the modern looking mortuary Temple of queen Hatshepsut against a background of the golden desert mountains. The system of terraces, colonnades and ramps leads naturally into the cliff, where the innermost rooms are carved. Hatshepsut was the first female pharaoh. Statues of Hatshepsut as an Osiris stand next to the entrance, majestically looking over the valley. Imagine yourself standing next to Hatshepsut waiting for the sun to rise over the Temples of Karnak: a magical moment and everlasting impression.
Next to the main temple are the small temples of Hathor, the goddess of love, music and joy and the jackal headed god Anubis, the guide in the afterlife.

tumb_tuthanchamonValley of the Kings
Hidden in the Western desert are the royal tombs of more than 25 pharaohs of the 18th to 21st Dynasties, among them the most illustrious rulers of Ancient Egypt. The long corridors leading deep inside the mountain and the halls are delicately decorated with colorful scenes of life in ancient Egypt, gods and goddesses and the journey in the netherworld. The royal sarcophagi are still to be admired; however the only sargophage containing the mummy is that of King Tutankhamun. Mummies of other pharaohs are exhibited in the Cairo and Luxor museum.

Valley of the Queens
The formal site of burial for royal wives and children was the Valley of the Queens, with tombs that are generally smaller and less majestic than those of the kings. By far the most interesting and beautiful tomb belongs to queen Nefertari, great wife of Ramses II. Due to the fast deterioration of the exquisite paintings, the number of visitors has been strictly limited.

Tombs of the Nobles
Although there are 300 graves, only a few are well preserved. The tombs of Ramose, Sennufer and Nakht are worth a visit, showing beautiful reliefs of couples and lively coloured stories of everyday life, celebrations with music and dancing, various agricultural activities, fowling and fishing and the afterlife.

Deir El-Medina, village of the workmen
Hidden in a narrow valley lived the artisans who built the royal tombs. Due to the secrecy of their work, the small community lived for generations in total isolation. They intermarried among themselves and taught their children their crafts. Since the workmen were qualified tomb builders and had access to first quality decorating materials, they prepared for themselves impressive decorated tombs. You can admire these extremely beautiful and colourful decorations in the tombs that belonged to Pashed and Paynedjem.
On the same site is a lovely temple for the goddess Hathor, built in the Graeco-Roman period, long after the village was deserted.

Ramesseum
Ramses II was the greatest builder among the Egyptian pharaohs. The Ramesseum is the king’s funerary temple, however not only was the temple used as a residence for the royal Ka, but also an administrative center. It’s ‘House of Life’ served as library, archive and scriptorium for the learned priests. Its unusual ceiling bears paintings of astronomical nature. Medinet Habu
The temple of Ramses III provides a well-preserved example of a royal funerary monument. In ancient times, a water canal coming from the Nile allowed access to the temple by boat, as required by tradition. The wall reliefs show famous scenes of war against the People of the Sea and a vivid scene of a royal boar hunt. A royal palace was appended to the temple, which served the king and his entourage during festivities. It was probably in this palace that Ramses II was finally attacked in the course of a “harem conspiracy”.

Colossi of Memnon
Two huge identical seated statues of pharaoh Amenophis III stood at the entrance to the Temple of Amenophis III before it was destroyed.
Nicknamed the ‘singing statues’ literally welcomed visitors with the ‘Song of Memnon’ at sunrise and sunset, due to a crack. Unfortunately after restoration the singing can no longer be heard.

 

Sights outside of Luxor

Daytours or halfday tours from Luxor

denderaTemple of Hathor at Dendera
The site has had a long history of occupation since the earliest dynasties. The temple of Hathor, goddess of love, music, fertility and sensuality is very well preserved. Particularly impressive are the high massive columns with capitals in the form of Hathor faces. Two staircases with reliefs of priests mounting and descending in procession lead to the roof where chapels where constructed. The ceiling of one of the chapels has the famous large zodiac circle. The ceiling of another chapel depicts the beautiful sky-goddess Nut eating the sun at night and giving birth to the sun in the morning. Within the brick enclosure wall of the complex, a square depression with abundant vegetation indicates the site of the sacred lake of the temple.

abydos_muur2_2Abydos
One of the holiest cities of Ancient Egypt and the main cult place of Osiris, the god of the dead, was Abydos where the head of Osiris was supposed to be buried. Therefore Abydos was an important site of pilgrimage and even now you can still consider it a privilege to visit Abydos. Pharaoh Seti I constructed part of the temple, which was completed by his son Ramses II.
The temple is a true Temple Of Love. The refined artwork of the colorful reliefs in the seven sacred chapels is of outstanding beauty, many of them showing the tender love between the Gods and Goddesses and the Pharaoh. A famous feature of the temple is the “List of Kings”, consisting of a long series of names in cartouches of the royal ancestors of Seti I ever since the beginning of Egyptian monarchy.
Behind the temple of Seti I is an even older temple, the Osireion, built with enormous massive granite blocks.

KhnumtempelTemple of Khnum at Esna
This Graeco-Roman temple was primarily dedicated to the ram-headed creator god Khnum, who fashioned man and his Ka upon the potter’s wheel.
The only part remaining of the original temple is the well-preserved hypostyle hall. Many of the inscriptions refer to the local version of creation by the god Khnum. Others deal with the yearly festivals that were celebrated in the temple. The ceiling bears celestial decorations of vultures with outstretched wings and astronomical themes. The eighteen columns bear each a different floral design.

horus_iwanTemple of Horus at Edfu
The temple of the falcon god Horus is the best preserved among the Graeco-Roman temples and the most detailed on matters of cult and temple functions. A close cult connection existed between the Temple of Edfu and the Temple of the goddess Hathor at Dendera. Every year, on a fixed date, a fleet of boats towed the sacred bark of Hathor upstream, accompanied by many pilgrims participating in the festivities of the “beautiful reunion” of the two lovers Hathor and Horus. The celebration lasted fourteen days, where after Hathor and her cortege made their way back to the temple in Dendera. The product of their union was the child Harsomtous, who thus completed the divine triad.
The legitimate king regarded himself as Horus; therefore much emphasis was placed on the myth of the triumph of Horus over his enemy Seth, represented as a hippopotamus in the hieroglyphic scenes on the walls.

kom_ombo-verTemple of Kom Ombo
This unique symmetrical divided temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and Horus the Elder (Haroeris). It has a double entrance corresponding to the axes of the two adjacent temples. Live crocodiles were probably kept in the temple precinct. Several specimen of the nearby cemetery of mummified crocodiles can be seen in the small Hathor chapel. On the wall beyond the sanctuary are the famous reliefs of surgeon’s tools that the ancient Egyptians used. Kitchener’s Botanical Island Lord Kitchener, a passionate botanist, turned the island in the beginning of the last century into a delightful garden with plants and trees imported from the Far East, India and Africa. The island is a perfect place for a peaceful stroll along shaded paths.