Luxor derives from the Arabic Al Uqsur meaning the palaces and refers to the appearance of the town until the end of the nineteenth century when it lay largely within the remains of the palace like the Temple of Luxor, the ancient Egyptian called their city waste though it is best known as Thebes the name given to it by ancient Greek historians when Thebes was at the height of its glory during the new kingdom, the city extended across both sides of the Nile on the east bank. Thebes encompassed both the temple of Luxor to the south and immense temple of Amun at Karnak four kilometers to the north while it shared with a vast necropolis and several royal funerary temples also on the western side, and hidden within the rugged folds of the barren range of the Theban hills was the valley of the kings.
The Luxor Temple(open daily 6 am –9 am winter, 6 am -10 pm summer was built largely under Amenophis III and dedicated to Amun, the local god of Thebes who rose to prominence during the new kingdom and was combined with the sun god as Amun Ra. The Karnak site open daily 7 am – 5 pm winter, 7 am – 6 pm summer ) covers an enormous area and encloses several temples and shrines, most famously the great temple of Amun founded in about 1950bc and repeatedly enlarged over the following 1.3000 years, at the height of the new kingdom when Egypt ruled over a vast Empire, Also Since many of the exterior surfaces contain relief carvings and hieroglyphs, this type of deterioration brings with it especially heavy losses to the historical record, threatening the integrity of the site and compromising scholars’ abilities to understand the meaning of these decorative elements.
The avenue of Sphinxes:
Amenophis III laid out a processional avenue between the temple of Luxor to the great temple at Karnak, during the opet festival when Amun, Mut, and Khonsu sailed from one temple to the other along the Nile , their ships were followed by celebrants along this sacred way, a thousand years later Nectanbo I lined the avenue with the sphinxes, the route can be followed today, it is a pleasant country walk and offers glimpses of village life.
The Ramesseum, the funerary of Ramesses, is largely ruinous but it is famous for its fallen col0ossal statue of the king, the first century BCE Greek Historians Diodorus was impressed, coming upon the granite colossus of Rameses he fancifully interpreted its inscription and was dedicated to the god Ra. Most of the Temple is in ruins today. The entrance to the temple once had two pylons that have since collapsed.
The road climbs toward the oven of white sand and sun that is Biban al Muluk- gates of the kings – where unblinking tomb entrances star vacantly from the narrow valley walls, each tomb is numbered in order of discovery, sixty –two in all, though only a few are to the public.
Burials at the valley of the kings date from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth dynasties, the tombs were cut into the soft limestone by two teams of twenty-five men working alternating ten-day shifts they normally lived at Deir al Madina, but when on shift stayed in huts within the valley. construction of a tomb began at the beginning of a reign and took no more than six years to complete a similar pattern of construction and decoration was followed in each of the toms in the valley of the kings which three corridors leading to an antechamber giving onto the main hall with its sunken floor for receiving sarcophagus.
The Noble tombs which include the tombs of priests and high officials are in the plain on the West Bank, mostly between Deir Al Bahri and Madint Habu . they were more than tombs at their upper level they were funerary chapels where priests and visitors left offering and performed various rites while below this was the burial chamber where deceased was laid to rest in his sarcophagus and the access shaft was filled in. the decorations in the upper chambers were usually painted on stucco walls the poor quality of the limestone in the plain meant that the tomb chambers were generally not suitable for cut Reliefs, nevertheless, many contain delightful decorations, for unlike the royal tombs in the valley of the kings, where the decorations serve impersonal and ritualistic functions, in these private tombs there was the free Dom and desire to covey a very personal and vivid picture of life.
Like other new kingdom pharaohs, Amenophis III built himself a funerary temple, but it was destroyed Almost entirely with in the next two centuries by his successors who used it as a quarry for building their own works, all that remains are two famous colossi of Memnon that once guarded its outer gates, the colossi are gigantic statues of the enthroned and divinized Amenophis himself and were the largest Free Standing Status In Ancient Egypt. At the one time, they wrote the royal crown was even higher. over the centuries all memory of Memphis was forgotten and Greeks decide the statues were Memnon, a Legendary king of Egypt and Eos, the dawn both status have been damaged by lightning and earthquakes and are lacking their faces, and the torso of the colossus on the right was heavily restored by the romans.
The Nile south of Luxor:
The landscape along the Nile changes as you head upstream toward Aswan. the limestone bed of Egypt gives way to the harder sandstone used in almost all ancient temple building. The cultivation begins to be narrow and forbidding desert encroaching on either side. Though Egyptian skies are virtually rainless.
Are you ready for breathtaking views? Luxor Hot Air Ballooning is an exhilarating and unique adventure where you float with the breeze several hundred feet in the air, there is no sensation of movement, as you travel with the wind. you feel the thrill of soaring high above the landscape and the calm of soft breeze carrying you. You’re in a hot air balloon—a ride that’s peaceful, picturesque, and just a little hair-raising.