What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Egypt”? Pyramids, the Sphinx, Cairo, Alexandria, Nile. Probably these would be your top-5 picks. And we don’t judge. These would be our 5 picks as well. But what if we told you that in Central Egypt, there is an amazing destination, which is the world’s greatest open-air museum? In case you haven’t heard of Luxor before, keep reading! We are sure that by the end of this article, you will want to visit this unique place!
Luxor lies in the ruins of the ancient city of Thebes (or Waset, as ancient Egyptians were calling it). It was the capital of the New Kingdom since 1600 BC, although there are references for the existence of the city since 2000 BC, making it one of the oldest inhabited places in the world. And without any further ado, let’s check 5 places that you must visit if you go there!
- The Karnak Temple
And you will begin with “The Karnak Temple”. A vast open space, surrounded by temples, pylons, statues and other buildings which demonstrates the mastery of these builders, in order to create something so unique. The Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re has 134 gigantic columns, with beautifully crafted hieroglyphics in all of them. You will also visit the Sacred lake in the same precinct and you will wander around the massive statues around. “The Karnak Temple” is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
2. Deir el-Bahari
The “Deir el-Bahari” lies on the West Bank of the Nile and it is part of the Theban Necropolis. Initially, it was a mortuary temple for the pharaoh Mentuhotep II, back in 21st century BC! However, everybody knows it now as the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, one of the first female pharaohs ever. An impressive monument under the mountain, consists of 3 floors. Sandstone, granite and limestone are the materials used for the creation of this building. You will also find unique drawings in all three floors.
3. Valley of the Kings
Can you visit 62 underground tombs and multiple chambers in one day? If you are brave enough and replied, “yes”, then the “Valley of the Kings” is the place for you! Most of the Ramessess II sons and later pharaohs are buried here. However, the most famous tomb is Tutankhamun’s one (although his sarcofago is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo). As you go deep into the ground, in each tomb and chamber, pay attention to the hieroglyphics. They are outstanding!
4. The Avenue of Sphinxes
Imagine walking for 2,7 kilometres in the city center surrounded by Sphinxes! Well, that’s exactly what happens in the center of Luxor! You can enjoy this unique monument for free, because they are visible from any side of the street (for example, you have to pay a fee to enter in the Karnak temple). And if you are a fan of Agatha Christie’s novels, a bit after the Avenue of Sphinxes, you can find the Winter Palace! The famous English novelist wrote “Death on Nile” while staying in that hotel!
5. The Ramesseum
Situated in the west side of Nile, The Ramesseum is a memorial temple of pharaoh Ramesses II, arguably the most important pharaoh of all dynasties. Unfortunately, time was not an ally of this temple. During the years, the flooding of Nile affected this monument and the excavations also did not help. However, being there, you feel the ambiance of a glorious past and all Art lovers should visit it!