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Activities in Luxor

Things to Do

Medinat Habu

The mortuary temple of Ramesses III is notable for its well-preserved (still colorful) decor and its depictions of the pharaoh’s defeat of the mysterious invaders known as the Sea Peoples. No one knows where the Sea Peoples came from, but Ramesses III beat them in three separate 12th century BC campaigns. The most vivid art (vultures, falcons, ankhs, etc.) in Medinet Habu can be seen on the columns and ceiling. I also like the Ramesses-shaped columns in the open-air peristyle hall, and the migdol (gate house) entrance.

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Luxor Temple

Small but attractive complete complex right in the middle of Luxor. Like the first place you’ll visit when you arrive. Easy to walk to and attractive at all hours. Be sure to visit in the evening when the lighting adds to the ambience.

literally have to lay on the ground, with my panoramic camera lens, trying to get the gigantic obelisk at the entranceway of Luxor to fit into a single picture frame. Now I know how an ant must feel, because juxtaposed against those colossal monuments and columns in the Hypostyle Hall, I am little more than an inconsequential speck in the universe. You too will stand in amazement at this sanctuary, forged from Nubian sandstone in the ancient city of Thebes. No wonder that this hallowed temple, and indeed the entire city, has emerged as the religious capital of Egypt.

 

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Temple of Hatshepsut

This incredible mortuary temple was designed by the architect Senemut for Hatshepsut, a powerful 18th Dynasty queen, who ruled Egypt as Pharaoh. The way this terraced temple harmonizes with its natural surroundings (massive limestone cliffs) is stunning, and inspired the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, among many other modern architects. The gods Horace and Hathor are represented throughout, as is the divine birth of Hatshepsut (her mother is shown seated with Amun-Ra). The walk up the long, stone ramp to the top colonnade is one you’ll never forget.

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Luxor Museum Luxor Museum

The museum in Luxor, although not on the scale of it’s illustrious Cairo predecessor does house a large collection of tremendously significant objects. These include statues from the famous Cachette found buried in Luxor temple as well as a small selection of items from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

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The Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings and nearby Valley of the Queens is where many Egyptian nobles have their final resting place — the inside of the tombs have been protected from the elements and the faded paintings still on the wall are otherworldly. The tourist-friendly valleys are near Luxor (originally named Thebes), which is ground zero for anyone who wants to see Egyptian ruins up close and personal. In the Valley of the Kings, famous tombs include Tutankhamen and the sons of Ramses. In the Valley of the Queens, the tomb of Nefertari is the most well preserved you’ll ever see.

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The temple of Karnak

The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theben triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu. This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many of the wonders of the modern world and in its day must have been awe inspiring.

The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings.
  • Builder:
    • Senusret I
  • Periods:
    • Middle Kingdom to Ptolemaic Kingdom
  • Part of:
    • Thebes

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