Luxor is unique among the cities of the world. Wherever you tread,
you feel you are experiencing the past and the present at one and
the same time. There is hardly a place in the city that does not
have a relic that tells of the grandeur of the Ancient Egyptians
several thousand years ago. Luxor is the world's greatest open-air
museum, filled with awe inspiring monuments of ancient
History Of Luxor
Divisions Of Luxor
Tourist Attractions On The East Bank Of The Nile
Tourist Attractions On The West Bank Of The Nile
Map of Luxor
Where does the
name 'Luxor' come from?
Luxor is part of ancient Thebes: the one hundred-gated city' as it
was called by the renowned Greek historian, Homer, because of its
buildings and large gates. The city grew over the years, and the
Arabs, impressed by its beautiful palaces and huge edifices,
re-named it Luxor: City of Palaces.
Luxor remained the seat of power from 2100 to 750 B.C. That is why
the visitor is awed by the city, made immortal by its huge
pillared-monuments along both banks of the Nile, in the City of the
Living, in the east, where the life-giving sun rises; and in the
City of the Dead, in the west, where the sun, in its never-ending
orbit, bids farewell to life!
The Divisions Of
The East Bank of the Nile: The
Temples of Luxor and Karnak, and the Museum. : The Temples of Luxor
and Karnak, and the Museum.
The West Bank of the Nile: The
Colossi of Memnon - The Tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens
- Mortuary Temples - The Tombs of the Nobles - The Tombs of Deir al-Madina.
Tourist Attractions On The East Bank Of The Nile:
Temple of Luxor: Built
by the two pharaohs: Amenhotep III and Ramses II.The temple was
dedicated to Amun-Ra, whose marriage to Mut was celebrated annually,
when the sacred procession moved by boat from Karnak to the Luxor
The entrance is a huge pylon built by Ramses II and has two
seated statues of the king. Originally, two large obelisks stood
in front of the pylon. However, only one remains, while the
other now stands in Place de Ia Concorde, in Paris.
Beyond the pylon, is the peristyle hall - built by Ramses II -
and bordered on three sides by double rows of columns with bud
papyrus capitals. In the north-eastern part of the hall is the
Mosque of Abul Haggag.
The rest of the Temple was built by Amenhotep III, starting with
the Colonade that has fourteen hug pillars in two rows. Seated
statue of Ramses II.
Then we come to the large Court of Amenhotep III that is
surrounded on three sides by double rows of pillars. This leads
to the hypostyle hall, containing 32 pillars, and on to the
Sanctuary of the Sacred Boat. Alexander the Great built a kiosk
within that of Amenhotep III. Finally, we reach the
four-columned Holiest of Holies: the Sanctuary of the Sacred
Karnak Temples: This
is the greatest place of worship in history. It includes many
singular temples, dedicated to Amun, his wife (Mut), an their son (Khonsu),
the moon deity. Since the Arab conquest, it became known as
Ôal-Karnak': the Fort.
The temple starts with the Avenue of the Rams, representing Amun:
symbol of fertility and growth. Beneath the rams heads, small
statues of Ramses II were carved. The colossal statue of Pinedjem in
the first courtyard
We start our visit to Karnak by passing through the First
Pylon, dating to King Nekhtebo of the 30th Dynasty, on to the
large forecourt where on the right we find the chapels of the
Thebes Triad, dating to Seti 11. On the left, there is the
Temple of Ramses Ill.
Then comes the remnants of the Second Pylon which leads to the
large hypostyle hall which has 134 columns, with the double row
in the middle higher than the rest.
We then come to the remnants of the Third Pylon, before which
stands the obelisk of Thutmosis I, and on to the Fourth Plyon,
guarded by the obelisk of Hatshepsut. Beyond, are the remains of
the Fifth Pylon, leading to the Holiest of Holies.
We finally come to the court, from the Middle Kingdom, which
leads to a large Hall of Ceremonies, dating back to Tuthmosis
The Sacred Lake: The
Sacred Lake, used for purification, lies outside the main hall where
we have a large statue of a scarab, dating to King Amenhotep.
The Sound and Light Spectacle: This
spellbinding show, through the exquisite use of words, light and
music, tells the story of this magnificent temple. The programme is
presented twice daily in Arabic, English, French and German.
The Luxor Museum: The Museum is situated between the Temples Of
Luxor and Karnak. It houses pharonic relics from Luxor and the
nearby areas.The picture on the right displays how illuminating the
museuem is at night.
Attractions On The West Bank Of The Nile:
The Colossi of Memnon: The
only remnants of a temple commemorating Amenhotep Ill, these statues
are 19.20 meters high. When they suffered cracks, and where said to
sing, the Greeks named them after Memnon, the legendary hero killed
at the Trojan Wars, who, each morning, called his mother Eos, the
Dawn goddess, and she bewailed him, shedding tears that were the
The Tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens: These
are the two tombs, ordered by the kings and queens of the New
Kingdom to be carved in the rock-faces of the valley so as to
safeguard them against grave-robbers. The tomb is composed of
several rooms and corridors leading to the Burial Chamber. The chief
tombs of the Valley of the Queens are those of: Queen Nefertari,
wife of Ramses II (shown to the left). The most important of these
tombs are those of:
1) Tut-Ankh-Amun III 2) Ramses
Ill 3) Seti
I 4) Ramses
VI 5) Amenhotep
6) Hur-Moheb 7)Tuthmosis
Deir el-Bahari Temple: This
temple was built by Queen Hatshepsut to perform the rites of the
nether world. Deir el-Bahari is a fairly recent nomenclature from
the 7th century B.C. when the Copts used it as a monastery. The
Temple is composed of three impressive rising terraces, split by a
The Ramesseum: built
in commemoration of Ramses II, its murals record the Battle of
Madinet Habu Temple: built
in commemoration of Ramses Ill, characterized by its well-preserved
religious and military scenes. These paintings still retain their
The most important tombs of the area are:
Tombs of the Nobles: portraying
the lives of nobles andtheir families.
The Tomb of Nakht: the
inscriptions portray the skill of the Egyptian artist.
The Tomb of Menna: scribe
of the fields of the Two Lands, during the reign of Tuthmosis IV.
The Tomb of Ramose: one
of the state officials during the reign of Amenhotep III and
Akhnaten. The tomb contains inscriptions depicting Akhnaten and his
The visitor to Luxor may also see the Temples of Dendera and Esna:
Temple of Dendera: This
Graeco-Roman temple lies about 60 kms north of Luxor. The temple was
first initiated by Ptolemy III with numerous additions by subsequent
Roman Ptolemic rulers. It houses a famous painting of Queen
Cleopatra, and Caesaron, her son from Julius Caesar. The temple is
renowned for its horoscope inscriptions.
Temple of Esna: Located
south of Luxor, the temple has a hypostyle hall with pictures and
texts telling of the Roman emperors who came to Egypt and offered
sacrifices to its deities. Among the landmarks of Luxor are:
Abul Haggag Mosque, within the compound of the Temple of Luxor.
The Coptic Church, next to the mosque, inside Luxor Temple.
Deir el-Shayeb, located 7 kms north of Luxor.
Deir Marie Girgis, on the west bank.
Deir el-Muhareb, about 4 kms from the quay on the west bank.