Luxor - Ancient Thebes


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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor
March 24th 2019
Published: March 31st 2019
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If you want to catch up there is an entry for the Pyramids. Didn't want to create too many emails.
Our tour has taken us to Alexandria where we visited the National Museum, the Catacombs, the New Alexandria Library, before moving to El Alamein to visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery including the grave of the youngest Australian soldier buried there. He was 16. There are 7367 graves here.
We returned to Cairo for a visit to the Egyptian museum which deserves it's own post. (if I get time).
Then to Luxor.

KARNAK TEMPLE AND LUXOR TEMPLE

Everything about the Karnak Temple is huge. The site covers 2km and is large enough to contain 10 cathedrals. Karna was the most important place of worship in Egypt during the New Kingdom. Construction began in the 16th century and continued through the Greco-Roman period. About 30 pharaohs contributed to the building overtime explaining its huge size. It is dominated by the Temple of Amun-Ra.

The Luxor Temple was once joined to the Karnak Temple by a 3km avenue of sphinxes. There is a 25 metre high pink granite obelisk at one end. Originally there was 2 but Mohammed Ali gave one to Louis Phillipe of France and is now in the Place de la Concorde in France in return gave a clock tower that has never worked. A poor exchange.🥴

Later that night I returned to see a Sound and light show at the Temple. Parts of it were good and it was great to walk through the Temple under floodlight but it could have been so much better given today’s technology.

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

The tombs suffered from tomb raiders and floods over the years and more recently increased tourism. To help this some of the tombs have glass screens installed over the decorations and there is a rotation system of which tombs are open for visiting. The visitors centre at the start of the visit runs a quick movie of Carter's discovery of Tutenkahmen’s tomb. The ticket covers 3 tombs with it coating extra to see Tutankhamen's tomb. We didn't bother as everything is in the museum. All the tombs are carved into the limestone rock and there are usually three chambers, an antechamber and a sarcophagus chamber within the tomb. Many of the colours have been well preserved and vibrant.
Next the Memorial Temple of Hatsephut . It looks almost modern blending into the cliffs. Queen Hatsephut is one if the rarest Pharaoh's with the title usually only given to males.

THE LUXOR MUSEUM

This modern museum was an optional extra but we are glad that we did it. It was so well displayed and explained. From mummies to granite statues to coins and sarcophagi. There were a number of artefacts from King Tut‘s tomb.



VALLEY OF THE QUEENS and THE WORKERS VILLAGE NEAR DEIR EL-BAHRI

The wives of Pharoahs were buried in the valley of the Queens. The wives of Ramesses I, Seti I and Ramesses II were buried here. One of the best known is the tomb of Nefetari, the great love of Ramesses II. The reliefs in her tomb are still in tact. Several other tombs were started but not finished.

The Worker’s village show the shape of houses where the workers who built the tombs in the Vally of the Kings. The village dates from 1506 BC. There was an average floor space of 70 sq m and each house had a grinding stone for wheat ( which were part of how the workers were paid ). It would not have been an easy life. The main well was 30 metres from the village and the workers each day had to walk over the hill to work in the Valley of the Kings. It was hot the day we visited and it was only March. The positions were highly sought after and inheritable. Because of the work that they did many could read and write including women.

We saw many wonderful temples and artefacts. Too numerous to mention and even recall the detail. The relationships between the pharoahs are intricate and our Egyptologist continually read and explained the reliefs and hyrogliphics until our heads were spinning.

From here we headed to a 4 day Nile Cruise where we had a balloon ride over the Temple of Hatshepsut and cane fields. We visited the Temple of Horus which we reached via a horse and carriage and then in the afternoon visited the double temple of Komombo. The hyrogliphics showed one panel of medical instruments which looked very similar to those still in use today. It I saw called a double temple because it is symmetrical. One half dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, god of fertility and creator of the world and the Northern side for Horus, the falcon god.

Next stop Abu Simbel.


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