Egypt

Egypt Part 3: Luxor – Must see places, and tips to avoid scammers in 2018

 

 

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What I hate is ignorance, smallness of imagination, the eye that sees no farther than its own lashes. All things are possible…who are you is limited only by who you think you are. ”  Egyptian book of the dead

Hey guys!! 

Today we are talking all about the city  Luxor and the wonderful things to be seen on that part of the Nile River. There are plenty of things that others might want to stop by and see that are not included on my list but from the locals these are the must see top tourist spots. There are seven locations on my list and I’m going to try to give you all of the necessary information about them and I might also throw in a little bit of history to intrigue you enough to want to linger for a while.

Egypt is an ancient place with tons of history, so much so that even one person couldn’t do it justice to bullet point it for you, so I’m going to try not to bore you (if that’s possible considering Egypt is extremely fascinating).  Alright let’s jump in and get started.

 

Three major tips/rules to follow when visiting Luxor:

  • Number one rule of all time with visiting the tombs: NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY of any kind is allowed at all inside the tombs. It will ruin the artwork and can destroy the integrity of the artifacts. Tomb guards will catch you but you need to refuse to hand over your camera. Just give them 20 pounds Egyptian and you can technically get away with it – advice from locals. Just be aware and don’t be super obvious.
    • It’s a little money making scam some of the guards play with tourists.
  • Scammers will try to get money for guided tours around the sites (handle them the same way as in Cairo: either ignore them or only give them a few Egyptian pounds for their services).
  • Try to avoid Alabaster shops since Luxor is famous for them unless you want to be pressured into spending a lot of money there for souvenirs.

 

Luxor:

Temple of Karnak 1

Temple of Karnak columns 1

Luxor Day Tour to Karnak and Luxor Temples

Temple of Karnak 2

Temple of Karnak columns

  • Temple of Karnak

    • Biggest attraction on Eastern bank of Nile River in Luxor 
    • Second largest religious complex in the world
    • Building it took over 2000 years by over 30 different Pharaohs
    • Ticket prices:

      • Roughly $10 USD – 180 Egyptian pounds
    • Highly recommended to take at least 30 minutes to just wander around and take it all in. The height of the columns (which is architecture that hasn’t been replicated since ancient times), the beautiful artwork, and overwhelming size of the entire temple.
    • Hypostyle Hall (architectural term for big space/room with roof supported by pillars). Last pictures shown above.
      • 54,000 square feet open aired
      • The most famous hypostyle hall in the world
      • Biggest columns with very detailed designs not only in the hieroglyphs but also the Lotus flowers on the very top of the columns 
      • Obelisk that stands 97 feet tall, statues, etc.
      • Mosque inside is still used today so it’s an active site of worship
    • It is the second most visited place in Egypt after the Pyramids in Giza.

Valley of the Kings 1Valley of the KIngs 2Valley of the Kings 3

  • Valley of the Kings

    • IMPORTANT ~ Bring water with you – It gets really hot in the valley
    • Start at the back of the valley and walk back towards the entrance for the best experience
    • FYI – steep steps in the tombs and valley/mountain side sites
    • Holds Tombs of the greatest Pharaohs
    • Western bank is the Nile River
      • Egyptian’s buried over 5 centuries of rulers here
    • Scammers aren’t as bad in Luxor vs Cairo
    • Ticket prices:

      • Roughly $10 USD for the entire complex (except a couple other tombs that are an extra ticket) – roughly 180 Egyptian pounds
      • The main site and 3 tombs are included (they rotate which tombs are open due to excavation, repairs, etc.) Below are the main tombs to see
        • King Valley tomb 11 – Ramses III
        • King Valley tomb 16 – Ramses I
          • Easy accessibility
        • King Valley tomb 17 – Seti I
          • Biggest and best tomb in the valley
        • King Valley tomb 34 – Tutmos III
          • Located at the back of the valley
          • Lots of steps to into entrance and then down into mountain where tomb is located
          • Less busy because some tourists don’t want to bother with all the steps
        • King Valley tomb 35 – Imhotep II
          • Remained undiscovered until 1898
      • Extra ticket to see tomb of King Tutankhamun ($15 USD more – roughly 270 Egyptian pounds)
        • Most famous Pharaoh in Egyptian history
        • You get to see his real mummy since it wasn’t moved to the Egyptian Museum like others
          • It was hidden by the ancient priests to help prevent robberies
      • Extra ticket to see Ramses VI (was unable to find ticket price online but I’m assuming close to King Tut’s price)
        • This tomb has very beautiful artwork

Luxor Temple 1Luxor Temple 2Luxor Temple 3

Avenue of the Sphinxes

  • Luxor Temple

    • Ticket price
      • Roughly $8 USD – 140 Egyptian pounds 
    • Located in downtown Luxor
    • Luxor Temple and Temple of Karnak are connected by the Avenue of the Sphinxes  built under Queen Hatshepsut (shown above)
      • A seal of Cleopatra was found on some of the pedestals the sphinx’s sit on during restoration
      • Almost 2 miles (3 kilometers) long separating both temples
    • The back part of the temple contains a Shrine for Alexander the Great
    • There has been some graffiti and defacing of statues so please be respectful

luxor Museum 1luxor Museum 2

luxor Museum

  • Luxor Museum

    •  Ticket price
      • Roughly $8 USD or  140 Egyptian pounds
    • Ground floor holds a gallery with preserved masterpieces including limestone etches of Tutmos III, artwork from the Old Kingdom, Crocodile for Sobek, etc.
    • New Wing, which was opened in 2004, is dedicated to the glory of Thebes’ New Kingdom period
    • Two Pharaohs mummies are displayed without wrappings in darker rooms in this wing
      • Pharaoh Ahmose I
      • Pharaoh Ramses I
    • Upper floor of this wing showcases their military advances with new technologies used in the New Kingdom time period
    • Old Wing holds a granite figure of Imhotep (ancient scribe), overseer of Amenhotep III’s works (which is known for many of the greatest buildings throughout Egypt)
    • The Museum also contains 16 statues that were discovered in Luxor Temple in 1989

Time is the wisest counselor of all”

~Pericles

Temple of Deir el-Bahri 1

Temple of Deir el-Bahri 2

temple of deir 1temple of deirtemple of deir 2

  • Temple of Deir el-Bahri (Queen Hatshepsut) 

    • Ticket Price
      • Roughly $10 USD or 180 Egyptian pounds
    • Also known as the Mortuary temple for this queen
    • Brief history:
      • Born a princess (Tutmos I was her father) and married her half brother Tutmos II
      • She was the chief wife of Tutmos II
      • Became a regent of her nephew/brother/son Tutmos III
        • Pushed him aside and become the first female Pharaoh since her son was too young to fully take the throne
      • Rule for a couple decades before she died then Tutmos III became Pharaoh – which he ordered that his people destroy all traces of her temples and statues
      • She dressed like a male Pharaoh and that is why her statues have a feminine face with a beard to resemble the Pharaohs of that time

Medinet Habu 1Medinet Habu 3Medinet Habu 2

 

  • Medinet Habu

    • Ticket price
      • Roughly $3 USD or 40 Egyptian pounds
    • Located at west bank of Luxor
    • Well known for preserved reliefs (word meaning sunken art in stone) and massive statues of Ramesses III
      • Locals say that Reliefs are easiest to see in early mornings or late afternoons when there is more shadows to accentuate them from the sun
    • Also known as Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III
    • Second largest temple discovered in Egypt 
      • 66,000 square meters
    • Holds the ruins of the Royal Palace of this ruler
    • Has a small temple dedicated to the god Amun
    • Originally built by Queen Hatshepsut, later on altered by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, and then later after that modified again during the Roman period

Rammesseum

Relief stone example

  • Ramessuem

    • Ticket price
      • 60 Egyptian pounds or roughly $4 USD 
    • Located in Theban Necropolis – popular area in the New Kingdom
      • Upper Egypt across from the Nile River
      • Western bank of the Nile
    • Memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II 
      • Also known as Ramesses the Great
      • He was the last great Pharaoh in Egypt and spent 20 years building this structure during his 67 year reign
      • His vanity, power, wealth, and popularity resulted in the largest and most grandiose mortuary temples
    • Dedicated to Ramesses II and God Amon Ra
    • Measures roughly 132,000 square feet
    • Besides the enormous statues and hypostyle halls, it also contains the earliest arches IN HISTORY
      • Held funeral materials, workers personal items, and corn (which was worth more than gold back then)
    • Temple dedicated to chief wife Nefertari is north of the hypostyle hall 

O you sycomore of the sky, may there be given to me the air which is in it, for I am he who sought out that throne in the midst of Wenu (Hermopolis). I have guarded this egg of the Great Cackler.

“If it grows; if it lives, I live; if it breathes air, I breathe air.”

~Egyptian Book of the Dead (spell giving the deceased the ability to breathe)

This has been a huge post but this is a huge city with plenty of amazing places to see and experience. If you only take three things out of this post please let them be: 1 – Do not take flash photography of ancient things, 2 – There is soo much more to see in Egypt than just the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, and finally 3 – Marvel at the wonders of the ancient world.

I hope this helps everyone get into the exploring mood and give them the travel bug. I am dying to go there and to see everything with my own eyes. To literally take a step into history and imagine what these structures looked like in their original forms.

As always,

Happy Travels Everyone!!

~Julie

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Let me know if there is another other adivce you have heard on your travels about this location.

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