Luxor and Upper Egypt Sights
A small Egyptian city, Luxor can easily claim to be one of the most interesting cities in the world. It is here are concentrated many of the ancient sights, for which thousands of tourists come to Egypt every year.
Tomb of Tutankhamun
In the 1970s Moscow was gripped by unprecedented excitement: the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb were brought to the Pushkin Museum. Endless queues stood by day and night, and not getting into the exhibit meant missing the first and last chance to see the ancient luxury.
The Valley of the Kings
Hearing the question “The most grandiose cemetery in the world?”, domestic tourists, who have long fancied Egypt as a modern “all-Russian health resort” will not be confused and will answer: “the Valley of the Kings. And it will be true.
Karnak Temple – the largest temple complex in ancient Egypt – unites a series of buildings, more like a separate city than a temple. Construction of the Karnak Temple began around the 20th century BC. And every pharaoh after that in one way or another completed a part of the temple.
Luxor Temple is located on the right bank of the Nile in the City of the Living. It is directly connected with the Karnak temple complex. In ancient times, these two sites were connected by an alley of 365 sphinxes. The alley has not reached our days, but it is gradually restored.
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Temple of Amon Ra
Temple of Amon Ra is the main religious building of Ancient Egypt, it is located near the town of Luxor, in the village of Karnak (about 270 km from Hurghada). This area was once the great Thebes – the capital of ancient Egypt.
The Temple of Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut Temple occupies one of the most important places among all attractions in Egypt. This majestic structure is located at the base of the steep cliffs of Deir el-Bahri. The significance of Hatshepsut’s temple can be judged by what it was called in ancient times – Jeser Jeseru.
The Temple of Abydos
Abydos temple is of great historical value, tourists here can be counted on the fingers. Abydos is a decent distance from Luxor and Dendera, so a trip to the temple is rarely included in the tour package. And look here, believe me, there is a lot to see.
If you travel to Egypt, you can not miss the ancient city of Dendera with its majestic temple of the goddess of fertility Hathor. Dendera is located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the town of Kenya. From Hurghada, the journey takes about four hours.
The small Egyptian city of Edfu is famous for its sugar cane processing factories and ancient pottery production. Its quarters are spread along the Nile about halfway between Aswan and Luxor.
The City of the Living and the City of the Dead, the largest cemetery and the long avenue of sphinxes – this is only a small part of Luxor – ancient and majestic. Once you get here, tourists immediately remember the history textbook, where Ancient Egypt is presented with pictures of huge columns under the bright sun. Remember? This is Luxor!
The best way to get to Luxor is to stay in Hurghada, because you will spend less time on the road.
The rulers of ancient Egypt in general did not hesitate to spend public money to erect monuments, temples, palaces and tombs. Everyone wanted to leave his mark on history (though some of them simply “left their legacy”) and fix the memory of his power in stone. So there were whole temple complexes – Karnak and Luxor. And to the construction of the temple devoted to Amon Ra (the Sun God), joined many – who would not be flattered to resemble God?
Discovered only in the early 20th century and dug out of the ground (some columns reach a height of over 130 meters!) The stone palaces still retain their carved images and inscriptions.
So how have all these buildings survived for thousands of years? Largely due to the fact that most of the structures have stood under a thick layer of sand for centuries. Discovered only at the beginning of the 20th century and dug out of the ground (some columns are more than 130 meters high!) stone palaces still have carved images and inscriptions on them.
Luxor is far from the sea, in the desert, so even in winter it is very hot. Take plenty of water and hats and wear clothing with long sleeves.
Luxor – the ancient city of the living and the dead
Luxor is a city in Egypt located on the eastern bank of the Nile, the former capital and cultural center. It is conventionally divided into the “City of the Living” and the “City of the Dead.
Luxor is the former capital of Egypt and the real jewel of the Nile. It is located 500 kilometers south of Cairo and attracts many tourists with a large number of ancient buildings on one square kilometer. Here everyone can find anything he likes: a lot of hotels and restaurants, amusements and nightclubs for every budget.
Interesting fact! Luxor in Arabic (Al ‘Uqṣur) means “castles”.
How to get to Luxor
Many experienced travelers who are not new to Luxor already know the best way to get there. Still, each mode of transportation has its own advantages.
Luxor has an international airport (IATA:LXR) that can be reached in one hour directly from Cairo. Domestic transportation is provided by Egyptair. By the way, tickets to Luxor with this company will cost you 230 USD. Please note that getting the luggage can be difficult due to the small size of the airport.
A cheaper option is a bus from Hurghada, Safaga, Makadi or El Gouna. Note that the travel time will take 4-5 hours. This option is one of the most uncomfortable.
By train .
You can go to Aswan first and from there take the train to Luxor. The trains from the railway station Midan al-Mahatta run three times a day and the journey takes three hours.
The sights of Luxor are at every step. Below are the main ones:
Attractions on the east bank of the Nile
Most of the modern city and its amenities are on this side. Here you will find many hotels, hostels, train and bus stations, and a market. Any excursion to Luxor is not without a visit to places like:
Luxor Temple: founded by Amenhotep III. It is located near the waterfront and the bazaar. At night the place is illuminated by green lights.
Karnak Temple: one of the largest monuments in Egypt. It is said that the temples of Luxor and Karnak were once connected by 2,000 sphinxes.
Luxor Museum: is a haven for many statues, funerary relics, and other finds from major sites in the city. Here the ancient finds have explanations with labels and descriptions in English.
Bazaar: The Grand Bazaar or Al Suk Sharia. This place sells everyone’s favorite Egyptian souvenirs.
Mummification Museum: Located near the ferry terminal on the West Bank of the Nile. Here you can listen to fascinating lectures by experts in Egyptology. They are held in winter and focus on ritual practices and beliefs dating back to ancient Egyptian times.
Attractions on the West Bank
Valley of the Kings: A tour of this place in the city of Luxor should be at the top of the list when traveling to Egypt. The valley has about 65 hidden tombs. Tutankhamun’s tomb is the most famous of them, and the first to be discovered by archaeologists in complete safety.
Temple of Hatshepsut: the funerary temple of Egypt’s most famous female ruler. Its central part is built directly into the base of the rock. On a clear day it is visible from the East Bank.
Valley of the Queens: Here are eight tombs of royal children, queens and high officials; however, during the excavations most of them have not been restored.
Noblemen’s Tombs: located near the village of Old Gurna. The site is famous for its collection of tombs in which many noblemen were buried extravagantly and openly.
Ramesseum: The site is the memorial Temple of Ramses II. Any tour in the city of Luxor is not without this attraction, after visiting which many tourists leave only positive reviews.
Interesting fact! If the right bank of the Nile River is called the City of the Living, then the left bank is called the City of the Dead.
Where best to stay
In terms of accommodation Egypt is similar to Europe, so you can find hotels in Luxor for every taste and budget: five-star apartments, camping, hostels, etc. Popular Luxor hotels are Princess Hotel, Nefertiti and Venus. Most hotels are indistinguishable from each other, but prices vary enormously. This is why in the city of Luxor accommodation should be chosen leisurely.
Between the railway station and the main temple are the most hotels. By the way, most of them have access to the sea, so do not miss the opportunity to see the beaches of Luxor.
Where to eat and what to eat
The cuisine in Egypt is nourishing and, most importantly, diverse. It offers the popular meze and pita, as well as the oriental salad tabouleh or Baba ganoush. Cucumber, tomatoes and many other vegetables are common ingredients of the dishes.
Meat is also not excluded. Eat mostly rabbit and poultry (in some areas may offer pigeon). Be sure to try the cheese Gibna Baida, which tastes like feta, but softer. By the way, ask to reduce the sweetness of the dishes, as sugar is not spared here. Such a holiday in Luxor will make you come back to Egypt again.
Popular with experienced tourists are such restaurants as The Lantern Room (among the ten best service trip advisor), Al-Sahaby Lane, Sofra Restaurant & Cafe and Aboudi Coffee Break.
Where and What’s Best to Buy
When you arrive in Luxor you should have no questions about what to buy. The largest number of stores can be found near the Old Market near the Luxor Temple. This place is shielded from the scorching sun with wooden bars, so shopping here is a pleasure. The same merchandise is found everywhere, so make your purchases after visiting several stalls. Don’t forget to haggle.
Look for the main bazaar of Luxor in Abd El Hamid Taha. By the way, there is an area for both tourists and locals. The downside of this place is that you can’t get rid of the vendors easily. Don’t be lazy and walk through the garden. Soon a real Muslim bazaar will open before your eyes, where no one will bother you because there are no tourists at all.
In the city of Luxor such a tour to the markets will certainly not do with just photos. As souvenirs you can bring Jalabiya cotton, traditional tea, a chair, statues of the Sphinx and other small joys like jewelry made of natural stones and small pyramids.
In the city of Luxor transport is not only buses and camels. You can get around by renting a horse-drawn carriage calèche, but it’s worth the bargain. People with extra stamina (there is the heat, after all) can borrow a bicycle.
Baladi ferries run from one side of the Nile to the other.
What to do on vacation
In the city of Luxor vacation is never boring. Here’s just a small list of things to do in this beautiful place: