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Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor
May 9th 2009
Published: May 13th 2009
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DAY 26

Well, we both decided we would not fit into Angelina's Lara Croft outfit, maybe Frangie might.

Today's tour will take us to the Valley of the Kings. This is only a 30 minute ride from Luxor. At the entrance to the valley we stop to see two very impressive statues of Memnon, one intact and the other was damaged in an earthquake in 200BC. At this time the statues were said to sing and did so for hundreds of years until when the area was taken over by Rome, orders were given to fix the statues. From this time they stopped singing. The cracks in the rock had been filled and the wind could no longer sing through the statues.

The valley and mountains are rock and sand. No trees anywhere. It is a desolate area and on the West bank of the Nile which is side associated with the setting sun and after life. We are very lucky today, there is a cloud cover and a slight breeze blowing, a fantastic day for exploring the hottest places on earth. Today, only about 33c or 85f.

The approach to the Valley of the Kings has
VALLEY OF THE KINGSVALLEY OF THE KINGSVALLEY OF THE KINGS

The top of the mountain. Chosen for its shape like a pyramid
many open tombs of workers that are buried on the east side of the mountain and they are visible from the road. We are only allowed too view our choice of 3 of 10 tombs. The first one was the Tomb of Ramses VI which was a short straight decline down into the mountain. The colors and the carvings were great. The second tomb was that of Sety II this one was another straight decline into the mountain much much deeper and steeper. Again the decorations inside were amazing. They also contained large granite coffins in the end chambers. The tombs were stifling hot and no one wanted to linger too long in the poorly ventilated rooms. The 3rd tomb was of Thutmes (Thutmosis) III and this one is the highest one in the valley. The climb was us several flights of steps to the entrance then down several flights. This one is from the 18th dynasty. Thutmosis died after only four years as King. The decoration of the tomb was only partially complete. Upon his death the workers only had 70 days to complete as much work as possible. 70 days is how long it takes to complete the mummification process. There were not any carvings only vivid paintings and writings. Some of the artwork had been lightly sketched yet not completed in detailed colour. The shape is also different in that the shafts are shaped and the burial room is an oval, the shape of the cartouche.

Our next visit is to the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut's Temple. This is an amazing temple built beside 2 older ones that are barely visible. This is where in l998 terrorist attacked foreign tourist. But today it was pleasant and nothing to be concerned about.

Our next stop is to the workers tombs This is a village area where the workers for the tombs were kept for over 400 years. They were never allowed to leave and there only duty was to work constructing the tombs. The skills were passed down generation to generation. The total grew from 100 to 400 including wives and children. They also constructed there own tombs. The tomb of Sennutem was a supervisor of the workers and his tomb was totally preserved with vivid paintings and minimal damage. The tomb next to him was that of a unknown worker and his tomb was very nicely decorated and only minor damage to the paintings. These were of course much smaller than those of the kings.

Our last stop of the day was to another temple this one for Ramses III, by this time we are all dragging and the names of the 1500 ancient gods were rolling around in our heads. The temple was nice with fantastic carvings that are the deepest in all of the temples so that others could not erase his name from the temple walls as had been done in the past.

Our bodies are tired our brains are full of knowledge that we will never remember and all we long for is a cool room and a soft bed.

Francine and Angie take a short rest but go out to the souq to buy watches because both of ours have stopped working and we end up buying a couple of shirts. We take a horse and buggy to the market even though its a quick 10 minute walk and the driver takes all around and to the opposite end of the souq to a tourist shop and we have to walk 15 min. back to the market. Never trust an offer of a cheap ride, always hidden loop holes.
DAY 25

The winds have slowed down and not as powerful as they had been and the breeze is refreshing after breathing in sand for such a long time. We have breakfast on the boat of crepes, jam, honey, boiled eggs and fresh bananas. We bid farewell to our wonderful crew and hop a mini van that has come to pick us up and take us to Luxor. We pass up the opportunity to stop at 2 minor temples in favor of a shower and a few hours of rest at our hotel; because we begin a tour at 4:00pm to the Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple.

Today was filled with travelling and sightseeing. We had a local guide who has completed studies in Egyptology. So we were thoroughly informed of all the customs, rituals and order of ancient Egyptian life. Just don't ask us to repeat any of it when we get home. We are on overload. Our day was completed by a meal at Sofra restaurant. The décor and food is traditional and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
TEMPLE OF QUEEN HATSHEPSUTTEMPLE OF QUEEN HATSHEPSUTTEMPLE OF QUEEN HATSHEPSUT

This area gets hot, so we get the little road train, about 400 metres from the entry


KARNAK Temple complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It consists of four main parts (precincts), of which only the largest, the Precinct of Amun-Re, is open to the general public.

The temple of Karnak is famous for its 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows in the Hypostyle Hall. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The architraves on top of these columns weigh an estimated 70 tons.

LUXOR Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes) and was founded in 1400 BC.

Known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the southern harem", the temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was built during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile
QUEEN HATSHEPSUT'S COLUMNSQUEEN HATSHEPSUT'S COLUMNSQUEEN HATSHEPSUT'S COLUMNS

Trying for THAT photo
from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-isut) to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility ⦥uro;“ whence its name.

Many festivals were celebrated in Thebes. The Temple of Luxor was the center of the most important one, the festival of Opet. Built largely by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, it appears that the temple's purpose was for a suitable setting for the rituals of the festival. The festival itself was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine office.



Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


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A TEMPLE BEFITTINGA TEMPLE BEFITTING
A TEMPLE BEFITTING

We are amused
VALLEY OF THE WORKERSVALLEY OF THE WORKERS
VALLEY OF THE WORKERS

Remains of the village of the workers. Tombs in the hills in the background
RAMSES III TEMPLERAMSES III TEMPLE
RAMSES III TEMPLE

Columns with engraving and colour
RAMSES III TEMPLERAMSES III TEMPLE
RAMSES III TEMPLE

The carvings were done so as to remain forever


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