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Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near describing this extraordinary place. Nothing in the world comp...

Дата загрузки:2021-01-12T07:05:10+0000

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Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near describing this extraordinary place. Nothing in the world compares to the scale and grandeur of the monuments that have survived from ancient Thebes.

The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, the Nile flowing between the modern city and west-bank necropolis, backed by the enigmatic Theban escarpment. Scattered across the landscape is an embarrassment of riches, from the temples of Karnak and Luxor in the east to the many tombs and temples on the west bank.

Thebes’ wealth and power, legendary in antiquity, began to lure Western travellers from the end of the 18th century. Depending on the political situation, today’s traveller might be alone at the sights, or be surrounded by coachloads of tourists from around the world. Whichever it is, a little planning will help you get the most from the magic of Thebes.

What to see at Luxor

KARNAK

Karnak is a grand complex of sanctuaries, kiosks, and obelisks dedicated to the god of ancient Thebes and the glory of pharaohs. The site extends more than 2 square kilometres, large enough to fit 10 cathedrals! At the center is the Temple of Amun, the local god. Built, extended, restored, and decorated over nearly 1500 years, Karnak was perhaps the most important place of worship in ancient Egypt.

The area is dominated by the Temple of Amun-Ra, one of the world’s largest religious complexes. This temple is famous for its hall lined with giant papyrus-shaped columns. The main structure is surrounded by two other imposing temples built for the god Amun’s wife Mut and their son Khonsu.

A 3 kilometre-long avenue of human-headed sphinxes links the great Temple of Amun at Karnak with Luxor Temple. Most of what you can see today was built by the pharaohs of the 18th to 20th dynasties (1570–1090 BC), who spent fortunes adding their mark to this sacred place. The further into the complex you venture, the older the structures are.

LUXOR TEMPLE

Built by the pharaohs Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and Ramses II (1279–1213 BC), this temple is a grand monument now standing in the heart of a modern town. Also known as the Southern Sanctuary, it was used for the annual religious celebrations, when the statues of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu would be brought from Karnak along the Avenue of Sphinxes to the temple. In ancient times the temple was surrounded by houses, markets, and workshops. The temple is less complex than Karnak, and again, the further in you walk, the older the structures get. In front of the temple begins the Avenue of Sphinxes that run 3 kilometres all the way to Karnak. It is now almost entirely excavated.

The temple’s imposing 24 meter-high pylon was raised by Ramses II and is decorated with depictions of his military success, including the Battle of Kadesh. The pylon was originally enclosed by six colossal statues of Ramses II – four seated and two standing. Today, only two of the seated figures and one standing remain. Beyond this is the Great Court of Ramses II, with walls decorated with scenes of the pharaoh making offerings to the gods. On the back wall of the temple is a relief of Ramses’ 17 sons, along with their names and titles. Beyond the court is the splendid Colonnade of Amenhotep III, built to be the grand entrance to the Temple of Amun.

THE TOMBS OF THE NOBLES

These tombs (also called the Valley of the Nobles) are some of the best, lesser-known attractions on the west bank of Luxor. Nestled in the foothills are more than 400 tombs of Egyptian nobles from the 6th dynasty to the Roman period. The nobles decorated their tombs with brightly detailed scenes of their daily lives. There have been several new discoveries here in recent years and these tombs are still being studied. The tombs open to the public are divided into groups, and each group requires a separate ticket to enter.

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

The west bank of Luxor has been the site of royal burials since around 2100 BC, until the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1550–1069 BC) chose this isolated valley to be the official royal burial grounds. This area was once called the ‘Great Necropolis of Millions of Years of Pharaoh’. To date, 63 magnificent royal tombs have been unearthed in the Valley of the Kings.

LUXOR MUSEUM
MUMMIFICATION MUSEUM
MEDINAT HABU
TEMPLE OF SETI I
VALLEY OF THE QUEENS
MORTUARY TEMPLE OF QUEEN HATSHEPSUT
COLOSSI OF MEMNON
MORTUARY TEMPLE OF RAMESSES III AT MEDINET HABY
DEIR EL-MEDINA (VALLEY OF THE ARTISANS)
TOMBS OF THE NOBLES
RAMESSEUM
HOWARD CARTER HOUSE
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE

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