When I thought of this title for the post about Luxor, I myself got bit startled.
Am I correct in calling it this way?
Let’s have a quick glance on the history of Luxor – “Thebes” – was the capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom (~3700 years back!!). It served as the cultural center and was the wealthiest city of ancient Egypt. Certainly Thebes ruins lies within the area where modern city of Luxor stands. In fact, the sheer grandeur of sites located in Luxor will make you believe me and leave you astonished on how such a strong civilization might got plundered!!
Now, the title make perfect sense right? Let’s look into some more jaw-dropping facts about this glorious ancient city!
- Based on few archaeological expeditions Luxor is believed to have inhabitants from as long as 250,000 years back.
- Luxor’s name originates from the Arabic word ‘al-quṣūr’, which literally means “The Palaces”.
- Famous Pharaoh Tutankhamun reign during Luxor’s high time and responsible for building the city.
- Even Alexander the Great found a place at the temple of Luxor. There is a granite shrine towards the temple’s rear dedicated in his honor.
- The ancient town of Luxor was one of the most famous towns in the entire realm, and its population between 1500 and 1000 BC was estimated to be around 50,000 people – a huge number for those times.
- With several intact relics and carvings and a place still high on archeological radar, it represents the wealthiest heritage site in the entire world.
A lot of knowledge sharing? Then it’s the time to visit this great city. I happened to visit Luxor during a forced low season time. Usually November to February attract quite a lot of tourists in Egypt and so does in Luxor. But, I got lucky; there were global concern related to ISIS during late 2015 and there I was visiting Luxor the way I want it to!!
Beautiful Temples of East Bank!
Firstly, let me tell you if you are an Indian and reading this, believe me you will feel like a celebrity roaming around. Indian movie industry is quite popular here and so do Indians among Egyptians.
The East bank is the home to two of the world’s most famous temples from ancient Egyptian civilization namely “KARNAK” and “LUXOR” . Visiting both the temples at your own pace in itself is more than half a day affair. Intact pillars of Karnak on both sides of an imaginary pathway gives an intense feeling of richness that once dwelled almost 3500 years back. Gigantic and beautiful halls of Luxor temple with nicely carved pillars as well make you ponder over the artistic capability of artisans that reigned during those times. With Huge Obelishk (A nicely carved pointed pillar – symbolizing sun god Ra) and sitting statues of Ramesses II, Luxor temple entrance itself entice its visitors.
I got to meet an Egyptologist during my trip who told me
“If you really want to understand just 1% of architectural treasure that lies within these two monuments you need to spend at least a month in Luxor!!”
Another amazing and breathtaking thing in Luxor is “Avenue of Sphinxes” – a double line of human-headed sphinxes that once connected the Temple of Karnak with the Luxor Temple. This 2.5 Km long (more than 1000 sphinxes) paved pathway was used to move back and forth various religious precessions from one temple to another.
Adventures of West Bank!!
Archaeologists from all over the world were always more attracted to west bank than that east bank of river Nile in Luxor. Pharaonic mortuary temples along with attractively decorated tombs of nobles, the west bank offers an extremely different experience to any kind of tourist.
Temple of Hatshepsut,
An extremely beautiful temple is an ancient funerary shrine. A monument so fascinating that it finds its place in almost all the travel magazines. There are quite a lot of interesting facts about this temple. Few of the most notable ones are:
- One of the very first temple reciting the tale of divine birth of female Pharaoh,
- The astronomical alignment of this temple is such that sunlight slowly moves from the central axis of the temple to first illuminate the god Amen-Ra (king of gods) and then shining on the kneeling figure of Thutmose III before finally illuminating the Nile god Hapi.
Valley of King,
Basically world’s most outstanding excavation site with multiple tombs which left hidden for hundreds of years.
- Place from where all the treasure of Tutankhamen was found,
- site from where 100’s of royal mummies were found,
- it boasts of tombs with remarkable wall paintings detailing the concepts of after-life as per ancient Egyptian mythology.
Mortuary temple of Ramesses III is undoubtedly one of the best preserved monument in terms of inscription clarity. Recently a photograph of this temple is covered under cover page of a world famous travel magazine. Temple is best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the sea peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
Colossi of Memnon,
two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. These are more than 3000 years old statues which rise 60 ft. (18 meters) high and weigh ~720 tons each; both carved from single blocks of sandstone.
There are numerous things to do in Luxor, but what remain is the experience and gaining a drop of insight into an ocean like history of ancient Egyptian civilization.
Luxor can never disappoint anyone. So, what are you waiting for?? Pack your bags and go on!!
I hope you liked this post, if not or otherwise please let me know by replying using comments section below.
Stay connected and happy travelling…