Built on the ashes of ancient Thebes, Luxor houses the homonymous museum, which houses some of the most important artifacts from the legendary city. Official starting point of most Nile cruises and served by an important international airport, it is a town with a tourist vocation.
It owes its fame to the surrounding area, scattered with very important archaeological sites, including the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.
2- The Valley of the Kings
Along the western edge of the city of Luxor, 3km from the bank of the Nile, stands the scenic Valley of the Kings. For nearly 500 years it was chosen as the honorary burial place of the ancient rulers of Egypt. Located in the shadow of the El-Qurn peak, the necropolis includes more than sixty tombs.
It has survived the centuries, the floods, the smugglers and more recently the heavy consequences of mass tourism. Yet it perfectly preserves its solemnity and it is difficult to remain immune to the power of its charm from a very distant past.
Once the guardian city of Ancient Egypt of which it represented the southern border, Aswan is today a lively city animated by tourist and commercial traffic. Here the rush of the Nile is dampened by the first natural cataract and slows its course, placidly enveloping small villages, imposing black granite rocks and islets covered with palm trees.
4- Temple of Philae
The ancient Egyptians considered the island of Philae a sacred place, since it was the burial of Osiris. Here arose one of the most beautiful and articulated temple complexes in all of Egypt: a succession of pillars, anti-courtyards and courtyards leads to the hypostyle hall and subsequently to the sanctuary, the heart of the whole building.
In the 1960s, like many other monuments, the Temple of Philae was literally dismantled and moved piece by piece to the nearby island of Agilkia to prevent it from being submerged by the rising water level of the Nile caused by the construction of the Aswan dam.
5- Abu Simbel
You are in front of one of the emblems of Egypt, so much so that you will seem to know it even though you have never been there before. The temple complex of Abu Simbel , built by Ramses II to demonstrate the greatness of his power to the Nubians and to commemorate the victory in the battle of Qadesh , was excavated directly into the mountainside and consists of two main temples: the Greater Temple , with the famous four twenty meters high statues depicting Ramses II, and the Minor Temple , dedicated to Hator, goddess of fertility, with whom Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, was associated.
The construction of the great Assan dam greatly affected the water level of the Nile and jeopardized the survival of many archaeological sites facing the shores of Lake Nasser. To save it from disappearing, the temple complex was dissected into hundreds of blocks and completely moved to the area where it is now located.
Small town on the west bank of the Nile, in the past it was Behedet , the capital of one of the nomòi of Ancient Egypt. Center known for tourism, for the trade of its famous pottery and for sugar cane, it owes its fame above all to the presence of legendary temple complexes.
7 - Temple of Horus
This temple dedicated to the god Horus is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites, a source of important historical evidence relating to the cult of the god, the religious rituals related to it and the Ptolemaic dynasty.
If you are patient enough to be able to overcome the crowded bazaar and the hordes of street vendors, you can admire the two large statues of Horus in black granite, to be then introduced to the main pylon, inspired by the most ancient pharaonic architectures and decorated with very dense bas-reliefs depicting the pharaoh defeating his enemies in the presence of Horus and Hator.
The extraordinary state of conservation and the grandeur of the structures will make your visit a real journey through time among the most ancient mysteries of Egypt.
Published by Mohamed Ahmed