Luxor and Pharaohs – what is the connection?
When the first pharaoh of ancient Egypt Menes was a child, Egypt was still divided into two parts – the Upper and the Lower. Thereafter, on the period between 3111 and 3045 BC, Menes united two states into one and the next 1000 years the country was prospering. It was a time of geometry and astronomy development, written language formation, solar calendar invention. There were six changes of Pharaohs’ Dynasties. The reign of Mikerin, between 2447 and 2442 BC, was the time when Thebes were first mentioned. It was a capital of pharaohs, the religious and political centre of the country, the place where the kings were born and buried. Afterwards on the place of Thebes there were built another city, in which the main sanctuaries of the ancient rulers were preserved. Keep on reading to know why you should visit Luxor – “world’s greatest open-air museum”.
Living are to the right, dead are to the left
To live in ancient Thebes is to reside either in city of the living or in the city of the dead. On the right side of the Nile, in the city of the living, merchants, warriors, priests and pharaohs were settled. There were palaces and temples, fruit gardens and oases with exotic birds. And on the other side of the river, in the city of the dead, people were buried or mummified, sarcophagi were crafted and traders sold funeral incense. Modern Luxor is also divided into two parts, each of which is unique.
The Temples of Luxor or why today you are almost pharaoh?
Clay bowls merchant named Jahi, who lived in the XI centuries. BC. in Thebes, never saw the main temples of the city. And all because their territory was closed by a high fence. 208 meters length and 54 meters wide Luxor Temple was chic, decorated with bas-reliefs and portraits of the pharaohs. A three-kilometer alley of sphinxes connected him across the river with another temple – the Karnak Temple. The great-grandson of Jahi named Mohammed, who was born 150 years later, saw only bizarre structures that rose from the ground right next to the huts. These were the Luxor Temple tops, buried under multimeter layers of dust and sand. Only in the IXX century it was dug out and restored. Therefore, our contemporaries are the most fortunate. Today we can see what only the pharaohs used to admire.
Verified lifehacks along the sights of Luxor
Luxor sights can be seen in a few days. But if you have enough time for a sightseeing tour, don’t rush. Start at morning to avoid tourist rabble, find 1 hour and a half for each place. Dedicate the first day to the Luxor Temple and to the Karnak Temple as well as to historical museum. It’s better to visit the Karnak Temple in the evening. Every day there is a light and sound show, which tells the story of ancient Thebes (entrance fee is charged separately, from 35 $ for adults and from 20 $ for children). Please note that many tourist groups attend this place. And the next day, go to the city of the dead. The main attractions are open from 6 am: the tombs of Tutankhamen and Rameses VI, The Ramesseum, The Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the others. If you get tired of walking, you can ride on a donkey along the desert between the Valleys of the Queens and the Kings. The journey takes about one hour.
Where can I get information?
Guide to Luxor will allow you a better navigation along the city and will tell you a lot of useful information. The best editions are as follows: “The Treasures of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings” by Kent Weeks, “Lonely Planet Egypt Travel Guide” and “Rough Guide to Egypt”. They contain a detailed description of routes, current prices, basic phrases in Arabic, photographs and practical tips for tourists.
What can you eat in Luxor except pigeons?
Falafel, pita, tahini, cofta are not just unusual words, but the names of the original dishes that are served in Luxor. This city is a paradise for vegetarians and discovery for meat eaters. Among must eat list the following dishes should be highlighted: ful medammes – a dish with beans, aish baladi – an Egyptian version of pita and of course hamam mahshi – a baked pigeon with rice. In addition to the national, you can also easily find restaurants with Middle Eastern, Persian, Greek, Indian and other cuisines of the world.
What else can I do in the city?
In Luxor you can walk, go by vehicle, swim and even fly to the sights. Judge for yourself: on a sailing boat (felucca) you will see ancient ruins from the sea side. If you have time, go on a two-day cruise to Aswan, not far from Luxor. By bike you can travel west coast, and on a balloon you can view the geometry of architectural structures from above. Take time to markets: behind the main tourist market there is a local one, where the prices are lower, and sellers are less intrusive.
Accommodation in Luxor: important aspects
In Luxor there are many options for accommodation: from campsites and hostels to 5-star hotels. In the summer (low season) prices are 2 times lower than in winter (high season). East coast, the city of the living is more developed, noisy and party area of the city. While the western part, the city of the dead, is suitable for those who enjoy the pleasures of solitude. It is better to book accommodation in advance, and girls traveling alone should think twice before accepting “welcome drink” at the hotel. If you decide to choose where to stay upon arrival, don’t fall for persuasion of “especially affable” strangers. They get 25% commission for settling you to the right hotel. Wherever you stay in Luxor, you really will feel yourself in a huge open-air museum. After all, there will be buildings, history and atmosphere, very similar to the one that reigned here several thousand years ago.