LUXOR — East Bank of Luxor

The town of Luxor found on the east side of the Nile River is a pretty place with its wondrous temple almost in the centre of the town. A lot of the larger hotels are arranged along the Corniche and these are elegant places with beautiful views of the Nile. The corniche is the main thoroughfare with its many shops and the cruise boats and feluccas vying for space on the riverside. Luxor also has a thriving bazaar with many types of Egyptian souvenirs. leather goods, food, fabrics, jewellery and perfume.

The sights found here are:
Luxor Museum
Luxor Temple
Mummification Museum
Temples of Karnak

Luxor Museum
This museum is found about hallway between the Luxor Temple and Karnak. It mostly contains artefacts found around the Thebes area from the end of the Old Kingdom through to the Mamluk period. The displays include pottery, jewellery, furniture, statues and stelae (a stone or wooden slabs, built for funerals or commemorative purposes and usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living). There are a number of exhibits of Tutankhamun including a cow-goddess head from his tomb on the first floor and his funerary boats on the second floor. Some of the highlights include a statue of Tuthmosis III (circa 1436 BC) on the first floor and 283 sandstone blocks arranged as a wall from the ninth pylon of the Karnak Temple. In the outdoor area in front of the museum is a statue sofa Amenhotep 111 from Qurna and a stele with an image of Amenhotep 11 as an archer from Karnak.
For information about times and prices visit the following website: http://touregypt.net/egyptmonumentpricing.htm

Traveller's Tip

Before you leave this museum make sure you visit the small hall on the left just before the exit. It contains a wonderfully preserved statue of Amenhotep 111 along with other statues that were uncovered in Luxor Temple in 1989.
Luxor Temple 1

Luxor Temple
This temple is located close to the town and is situated on the banks of the Nile River. It is a magnificent sight during the day but if possible you should return in the evening to see the eerie but magnificent effect that the light has on the shadows.
The inner part of the temple was built by the pharaoh, Amenhotep 111 and the outer part by Ramesses 11. It stands on an older sacred site built by Hatshepsut and dedicated to the gods, Amun, Mut and Khonsu. It seems that it was built as a suitable setting for the festival of Opet which was when the pharaoh got his divine right to rule reconfirmed after a procession from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple.

Luxor Temple 2

Luxor Temple has been added to many times over the centuries by other pharoahs such as Tutankhamun; Seti 1; Ramses 111; Ramses 1V as well as Alexander the Great and it is huge in scale. One of the first things you notice when you arrive at the temple is the line of sphinxes which originally led to Karnak Temple but in the ensuing centuries were covered up by the encroaching town of Luxor. Excavation work has been going on to uncover this avenue of sphinxes.
At the entrance to the temple is a massive pylon over 24 metres high which was built by Ramses 11 to celebrate his military battles and in front of this are some magnificent statues of him. The pink granite obelisk found here is one of a pair — the other obelisk was given as a gift to the French by the Egyptian ruler in the 1800s and today you will find it in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
As you go further into the complex be sure to look for the Mosque built in the 10th century known as the Mosque of Abou El-Hagag.
Other notable sights are the splendid columns found in the the courtyards and these date from Amenhotep’s original construction. The best preserved of these columns are found on the eastern side and you can still see some of the original colourings.
For information about times and prices visit the following website: http://touregypt.net/egyptmonumentpricing.htm

Traveller's Tip

As you go into the inner sanctums note the Roman stuccoes that can still be seen above the Egyptian carvings below.

Mummification Museum
This small museum located near the Mina Palace Hotel on the Corniche is a fairly new addition to the town. The museum features displays of both human and animal mummies. There are also displays of tools used in the mummification process and artefacts of items buried along with the mummies for use in the afterlife. It is an interesting place because it gives you all the information you would want to know about mummies including the mummification process itself, though this is a bit short on detail. There is a statue of Anubis, the jackal-god who presided over the dead, at the entrance to the museum.
For information about times and prices visit the following website: http://touregypt.net/egyptmonumentpricing.htm

Traveller's Tip

If you like weird or unusual things make sure you see the exhibit of the spoon and metal spatula used for scraping the brain out of the skull in the mummification process.
Karnak Entrance

Temples of Karnak
The Karnak Temple that we see today was built mainly by pharaohs of the 18th dynasty who were responsible for the city of Thebes’ rise to power.
Karnak Temple is a huge complex situated on 247 acres that is too vast to be fully appreciated in a few hours. It is best to come here a few times, preferably at different times of the day to experience the way the light changes on its magnificent columns and statues. The Temple of Karnak consists of three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about three kilometres north of the city. The three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun are enclosed by enormous brick walls. At the centre of the main complex is the Temple of Amun, reached by a grand avenue with ram-headed sphinxes on each side of it.

Karnak Hypostle Hall

Visitors then pass through the massive Hypostyle Hall which is part of the Temple of Amun and is famous for its rows and rows of columns. The paint at the tops of the columns can still be seen today, thousands of years after it was applied. This room is 54,000 square feet and has 134 columns, and to this day it is the largest room of any of the world’s religious buildings.
This temple enclosure also contains a large sacred lake. To the south is The Temple of Mut. which was once connected to the main temple by an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes. The Temple of Montu is to the north of the Temple of Amun. There was once an avenue of human-headed sphinxes linking Karnak with the Luxor Temple, parts of which you can still see today.
There is a Sound and Light show in the evening that is worth seeing if only for the nighttime walk through the temple.
For information about times and prices visit the following website: http://touregypt.net/egyptmonumentpricing.htm

Traveller's Tip

The best way to travel to Karnak Temple is by taxi or caleche (horse-drawn carriage). You will find both of these in abundance on any street in Luxor. It is best to negotiate a price before starting to get you there and back as well as having the driver wait for you while you look around. The price will be somewhere in the region of 20LE for an hour, depending on how well you can bargain. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours here as it is huge and there is a lot to see.