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Luxor is located 670 km south of Cairo. It is considered as the greatest outdoor museum in the world as it contains nearly one third of the world’s antiquities. There is hardly a place in Luxor which has not a relic that reflects the greatness of the ancient Egyptians and their civilization that dates back to seven thousands years ago.


Luxor is part of the ancient “Thebes” that the renowned Greek poet Homer describes as “the city of one hundred gates”. It remained the seat of power from 2100 to 750 BC.

The Arabs called it
Luxor meaning the city of Palaces, because they were impressed by its magnificent edifices and huge buildings.

Luxor still attracts hordes of visitors, from all over the world to enjoy the monuments of the eternal city and its temples with their towering pillars on the two banks of the Nile. The City of the living on the east bank where sunrise is source of life and growth and the City of the dead on the West Bank where sunset symbolizes the eclipse of Life.

On the East Bank stand the Luxor Temple, a graceful ornament on its waterfront and downtown quarter, while just to the north is Karnak Temple, a stupendous complex built over 1300 years.

Across the river on the West Bank are the amazing tombs and mortuary temples of the Theban necropolis: the Valley of the Kings, the valley of the queens, Hatshepsut temple, valley of the artisans, valley of the nobles and Memnon Colosse
Recently, a bridge connecting the east and the west banks has been constructed to speed up tourist traffic to the West Bank.

Luxor also serves as a base for trips to Esna, Edfu, Dendara and Abydos Temples up and down the Nile valley.
You can enjoy the wonderful tourist sites of
Luxor soaring in a balloon above the temples on the east and west banks which lasts for one and half hour!

 places to go

Karnak Temple


The temple of Karnak used to be connected to the Luxor Temple via a long stone processional street called a Dromos. This road was built along a canal that once connected the Nile to the Temple. There was a dock in ancient times, but now all that is left is the quay and the raised dais. To arrive at the entrance one follows the Dromos with its crio-sphinxes. They have the head of a Ram and the body of a lion and are symbolic of the God Amun. Arriving at the temple, there is a statue of Ramesses II with his son between his feet.

The Temple of Karnak is actually three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples. This vast complex was built and enlarged over a thirteen hundred years period. The three main temples of Mut, Monthu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls. The Open Air Museum is located to the north of the first courtyard, across from the Sacred Lake and displays various statues found through out the temple complex. The main complex, The Temple of Amun, is situated in the center of the entire complex. The Temple of Monthu is to the north of the Temple of Amun, while the Temple of Mut is to the south.
The Second Pylon of Karnak was built by Ramesses II. The Ptolemies did some extensive repairing and some new building on the center section.
The Hypostyle Hall is found after passing through the Second Pylon. The hall is considered to be one of the world's greatest architectural masterpieces. Construction began during Ramesses it's reign. He was the king who founded the Nineteenth Dynasty and was king for only one year. The work continued under Seti I (1306 - 1290 BC). Seti I also built the Temple of Abydos and many other temples. The hall was completed by Seti's son, Ramesses II.

The walls, ceilings and columns are painted with the natural earth tones. The light that was allowed in originally kept most of the hall in shadows. The hall ceiling was 82 feet high and was supported by 12 papyrus columns. The columns are made of sandstone and set in two rows of six. Each row is flanked on either side by 7 rows of columns that are 42 feet (12.8m) high. Each row has 9 columns; however the inner rows have 7 columns. The reliefs throughout the hall contain symbolism of Creation. The reliefs in the northern half are from the time period of Seti I, while those in the southern half are done by his son Ramesses II.

The outer walls of the Hypostyle Hall are covered with scenes of battle. It is unsure whether these scenes are based on historical fact or of ritual significance. It is thought that when the battle details are very precise, real events are most likely involved. Seti's battles take place in Lebanon, southern Palestine and Syria. The southern walls of Ramesses II have hieroglyphic texts which actually record details of the Hittite king and Ramesses II signing a peace treaty in the twenty-first year of Ramesses reign. This is the first evidence found for a formal diplomatic agreement and is certainly historical.

Leaving the hypostyle hall through the third pylon you come to a narrow court where there once stood several obelisks. One of the obelisks was erected by Tuthmosis I (1504 - 1492 BC) who was the father of Hatshepsut. This obelisk stands 70 feet (21.3m) tall and weighs about 143 tons. Beyond this obelisk is the only remaining Obelisk of Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BC). It is 97 feet (29.6m) high and weighs approximately 320 tons. Besides the Lateran obelisk in Rome (101 feet high), this is the tallest standing obelisk. The top of the obelisk was visible for 50 miles (80 km). Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BC), Hatshepsut's successor, built a high wall around her obelisk. This wall hid the lower two-thirds but left the upper towering above. It has been thought that this was an easier and cheaper way of destroying her memory than actually tearing it down and removing it.
The Sixth Pylon, which was built by Tuthmosis III, leads into a Hall of Records in which the king recorded his tributes. Very little remains of this archive beyond two granite pillars. Just beyond these pillars lies the Holy of Holies or sanctuary. Originally it was the oldest part of the temple. The present sanctuary was built by the brother of Alexander the Great, Philip Arrhidaeus (323-316 BC) who was the King of Macedonia. The present sanctuary, built on the site of the earlier sanctuary built by Tuthmosis III, contains blocks from the Tuthmosis sanctuary and still contain Tuthmosis' inscriptions. The sanctuary is built in two sections. Why this was done is not known.




Abydos, or Abjdu, lies in the eight nome of Upper Egypt, about 300 miles south of Cairo, on the western side of the Nile and about 9.5 miles from the river. It spreads over 5 square miles and contains archaeological remains from all periods of ancient Egyptian history. It was significant in historical times as the main cult center of Osiris, the lord of the netherworld.Abydos was the burial place for the first kings of a unified Egypt. But it contains remains from earlier, in the Predynastic period.

The Predynasty/Early Dynastic cemetery is located in the low desert. It consists of three parts: predynastic Cemetery U in the north, Cemetery B in the middle with royal tombs from Dynasty 0 and the early 1st Dynasty, and in the south the tomb complexes of six kings and one queen from the 1st dynasty and two kings from the 2nd dynasty. Most of the 1st dynasty tombs show traces of immense fires. Many had also been plundered many times.North Abydos contains an ancient settlement and also the remains of a large stone temple from the 30th Dynasty, along with a portal structure of Ramesses II, and a fairly recently discovered temple built by Tuthmosis III. Most of the early town lies beneath modern groundwater and the remains of later settlements. Another temple, that of Khentyamentiu which was later identified with Osiris as his temple, dates from the later third millennium BCE.

A residential and industrial section have also been found to the southeast of those excavations, dating to the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period. A number of mudbrick houses, consisting of between 7 and 10 small rooms, courtyards and a narrow street have been found. A workshop, the earliest and most complete faience workshop in Egypt, was also uncovered, complete with kilns.

The tombs of the first kings of unified Egypt were deep brick-lined structures topped with mounds of sand, later called mastabas, the Arabic word for bench, since their square or rectangular shapes resembled benches. Later in the 1st Dynasty, one structure was placed underground, supported by a retaining wall, and the second mastaba was placed above ground directly over the first, to protect the lower one.

The Northern cemetery was the principal burial ground for non-royal individuals at Abydos during the Middle Kingdom, and continued to be so used through the Greeco-Roman period.

The temple of Esna


The temple, which lies in a pit below the level of the houses in Isna, is dedicated to the god, Khnum. This the ram god that was worshipped through out this area and who fashioned mankind from mud of the Nile on his potter's wheel.
He was associated with other gods, including Menhyt (his consort), Nebtu (the goddess of the countryside) and Hka (the manifestation of vital energy).

While all that remains of the temple is the Great Hypostyle Hall, surrounding ruins of the ancient complex and city have yet to be excavated due to the modern housing built on the site. The temple sits atop the ruins of earlier temple(s).Ptolemy VI originally began this building project, but the Temple of Khnum was a later addition built by the Roman emperor Claudius in the 1st century.The rectangular hall opens to the west.

The roof is still intact, supported by 24 columns decorated with a series of text recording hymns to Khnum and relating the annual sacred festivals of Esna with scenes illustrating the surrounding countryside.The sacred festivals are the creation of the universe by Neith, the raising of the sky by Khnum, and his victory over the human rebels.
These texts were done between the Graeco-Roman period and the rule of Decius in 250 AD, but were never finished.

There are 16 different palm and plant capitals on the columns, still with some good color.
The west wall of the Temple of Khnum is all that remains of the original Ptolemaic temple and has reliefs of Ptolemy VI and Philometor and Euergetes II.
In the forecourt of the temple are blocks from an early Christian church. Then also is an inscription found on the back of a block from Emperor Decius decreeing that Christians will suffer death if they do not sacrifice to the pagan gods.

Edfu Temple

Dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god, it was built during the reigns of six Ptolemies. We have a great deal of information about its construction from reliefs on outer areas. It was begun in 237 BC by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and was finished in 57 BC. This is not only the best preserved ancient temple in Egypt, but the second largest after Karnak. It was believed that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth.

The main building, which includes a great Hypostyle Hall, was uncovered by Mariette in the 1860s.
There are numerous reliefs, including a depiction of the Feast of the Beautiful Meeting, the annual reunion between Horus and his wife Hathor. The reliefs are mostly situated on the inside of the first pylon, and spiritually connect this temple with Hathor’s Temple at the Dendera complex.

During the third month of summer, the priests at the Dendera complex would place the statue of Hathor on her barque (a ceremonial barge) and would thus bring the statue to the Edfu
Temple, where it was believed that Horus and Hathor shared a conjugal visit.
Each night, the god and goddess would retire to the mamissi, or berthing house.
There is still an entrance colonnade to the mamissi, and reliefs with considerable remaining color just outside the main temple. These images portray the ritual of the birth of Harsomtus, son of Horus and Hathor.
The pylons of the main Temple are about 118 feet high with typical scenes of the pharaoh in battle with his enemies. Within the pylons is the colonnaded courtyard with distinctive, pared columns, which leads into the great hypostyle hall. But on either side of the courtyard there are gates which lead to an area behind the temple and inside the bounding walls.Here, there are inscriptions recording donations of land which were probably transferred from demotic documents.
There are also dramatic images depicting the defeat of Seth by Horus. There was an annual ritual called the known as the Triumph of Horus (10 harpoons) which ended in the slaying of a hippopotamus, the symbol of Seth.
The facade of the first hypostyle hall has images honoring Horus and Hathor, and there is an immaculate ten foot tall colossi of Horus as the falcon god here (a matching colossi was destroyed). Beyond the great hypostyle hall is a second, smaller hypostyle hall which leads to a well called the Chamber of the Nile where the Priests obtained pure holy water.

Valley of the Kings

The king's formal names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his images and statues. Beginning with the 18th Dynasty and ending with the 20th , the kings abandoned the Memphis area and built their tombs in Thebes. Also abandoned were the pyramid style tombs.

Most of the tombs were cut into the limestone following a similar pattern:
three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber.
These catacombs were harder to rob and were more easily concealed.
Construction usually lasted six years, beginning with the new reign.
The text in the tombs are from the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Gates and the Book of the Underworld.
 The Valley contains 62 tombs to-date, excavated by the Egyptologists and archaeologists from many countries. Not all of the tombs belonged to the king and royal family.
Some tombs belonged to privileged nobles and were usually undecorated.
Not all the tombs were discovered intact, and some were never completed.
With the increasing tourism, urban and industrial growth, pollution, and rising groundwater, the tombs have suffered over the decades.
Today their access is rotated, so that a smaller number of tombs are open at one time, and even then, many of the decorations and walls can only be seen behind glass.

Examples of the most important and preserved tombs:
Ramesses IV:
Three white corridors descend to the sarcophagus chamber in this tomb. The chambers ceilings depict the goddess Nut. The lid of the pink granite sarcophagus is decorated with Isis and Nephthys, which were meant to serve as guardians over the body. Their duties fell short, however, as the tomb was robbed in ancient times. Originally the priests placed the sarcophagus in Amenhotep II's tomb in order to hide the body, which was a common practice
Ramesses IX:
Two sets of steps lead down to the tomb door that is decorated with the Pharaoh worshipping the solar disc. Isis and Nephthys stand behind him on either side. Three corridors lead into an antechamber that opens into a pillared hall. The passage beyond that leads to the sarcophagus chamber.
The steep descent into the tomb is typical of the designs of the XIX Dynasty. The entrance is decorated with Isis and Nephthys worshipping the solar disc. Text from the Book of the Gates line the corridors. The outer granite lid of the sarcophagus is located in the antechamber, while the lid of the inner sarcophagus is located down more steps in the pillared hall. Carved on the pink granite lid is the figure of Merneptah as Osiris.
Ramesses VI:
Originally built for Ramesses V this tomb has three chambers and a 4th pillared chamber was added by Ramesses VI. Complete texts of the Book of the Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Book of Day and Night line the chambers. Portions of the Book of the Dead are located in the pillared chamber, along with scenes of the sky goddess, Nut.                                                                                                                     Ramesses III: 
The tomb is sometimes referred to as the "Harpers Tomb" due to the two harpers playing to the gods in four of the chambers. Ten small chambers branch off of the main corridors. These were for the placement of tomb furniture.

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