Our arrival in Luxor was a welcome one. Cruising on the Nile in a Felucca, basically a floating mattress shared with 13 other people after 3 days and 3 nights, was a wonderful experience but it was so nice to put my feet on terra firma once again. We were transported to our hotel by horse-carriage where we finally had a proper shower and hot water! Then once again we were taken by horse-carriage to the Karnak Temple, dedicated to the God Amun, and considered one of the greatest of ancient Egypt’s monuments.
TEMPLE OF KARNAK
This is considered the most extraordinary complex of temples, pylons, obelisks and sanctuaries in all of Egypt. It’s a stunning example of the power and prestige of the pharaohs and their Theban gods. I truly felt like an ant that could be stepped on by one of the many Egyptian gods in this sprawling 2-sq-km site. This was the most important place of worship in Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the main structure, the Temple of Amun, is considered to be the largest religious building ever built. It was built, modified, enlarged and restored over a period of 500 years. As one
enters, there is a sphinx-lined path that once went to the Nile; it leads to the Great Court. To the left is the Temple of Seti II, dedicated to the triad of Theban gods - Amun, Mut and Khons. Beyond the enormous obelisk is unforgettable and immense 6000 sq. metre Great Hypostyle Hall. This hall is a pylon garden of 134 papyrus-shaped stone pillars that can only be described as gargantuan and humbling.
Literally in the middle of “downtown” Luxor is the Luxor Temple which was built on the site of an older sanctuary dedicated to the Theban triad. Largely built by the New Kingdom pharaoh Amenhotep III, Alexander the Great and various Romans all left their mark with additions to it over the centuries. The Arabs also built a mosque in an interior court in the 13th century. Two years ago a 3km stretch of sphinxes were unearthed and are still being dug out. The archeological dig uprooted many people from their homes and the destruction of a mosque and a Coptic church which were on site for hundreds of years.
VALLEY OF THE KINGS - WEST BANK OF THE NILE
Our trek to the
Valley of the Kings began by donkey. Our caravan of donkeys was made up of over 20 people. I must say I was quite impressed at how comfortable the ride but two others in the group would disagree with me as they were booted off by their donkey and helped to their feet by the local guide.
The West Bank of the Nile has come to be known as the largest open air museum in the world. It was here that the pharaohs built their memorial temples as a standing reminder of their immortality. Hundreds of tombs were excavated into the hills, built for kings, queens, royal children, nobles, priests, artisans and even workers.
The Valley of the Kings, this famous royal necropolis is dominated by Al-Qurn Mountain. The tombs were designed to resemble the underworld; a long, inclined corridor descends into either an antechamber or a series of halls, and ends in a burial chamber. It is at this site that the most famous of tombs, the tomb of Tutankhamun, was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. It is far from the most interesting but infamous because it was the only tomb that had not been pillaged by grave
robbers thus leaving the modern world an open window into the customs and treasures of the ancient past. Unfortunately, no cameras are allowed into the site.
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