Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Luxor

City: Luxor       State: N/A       Country: Egypt
Luxor is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. Its population numbers 376,022 (1999 survey), and its area is about 416 square kilometres (161 sq mi) [1]. As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor standing within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the Nile River, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Thousands of international tourists arrive annually to visit these monuments, contributing a large part towards the economy for the modern city.If you want to see Pharaonic Egypt in all its glory, visit Luxor, a ci:y unlike any other on earth. The extraordinary quality, quantity and scale of the monuments here, liberally scattered on both banks of the Nile, is impossible to truly appreciate without seeing them for yourself. Visitors have always come here, but despite today's tour buses and the phalanxes of Nile cruisers, you can still sometimes find yourself alone in front of a superb bas-relief, carved over 3,000 years ago.Known as Thebes, the city's glory days were between 1540-1069 BC, following the reunification of the country by Montuhotep II and the removal of the capital to Thebes. The Temple of Karnak, dedicated to the god Amun, is gigantic - its Hypostyle Hall, just one part of the complex, could easily hold Notre Dame Cathedral. In the golden afternoon light the sight of 134 enormous columns soaring upwards, casting diagonal shadows, is utterly astounding.Luxor Temple, started by Amenhotep III and added to by many, including Tutankhamun and Ramses II, stands overlooking the Nile. The avenue of Sphinxes, obelisks, papyrus columns, monumentalateways, huge statues and spectacular reliefs must be seen. Floodlit at night, it is magnificent.Crossing to the west bank, you'll suddenly come upon the Colossi of Memnon, all that remains of Amenhotep Ill's funerary temple, once as large as Karnak. The great necropolis that is in the Valley of the Kings, contains 62 excavated tombs, the most beautifully decorated of which is probably that of Seti I. Hatshepsut's Temple and the Temple of Ramses III are both majestic sights.Luxor town itself is full of hotels, restaurants and shops. Persistent hustlers suggest felucca trips, caleche tours, taxi hire, and much more. Hire a bicycle and set off early, rest up somewhere during the midday sun, and get going again later. By the evening, after a meal and a beer, you'll have just enough energy left to fall into bed.Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of the God Amon-Ra. The city was regarded in the Ancient Egyptian texts as WST (Pronounced "Waset"), which meant "the foremost" or "city of the sceptre" and also as T-IPT (probably pronounced as "ta ipet" and meaning "the shrine") and then, in a later period, the Greeks called it Thebai and the Romans after them Thebae. Thebes was also known as "the city of the 100 gates", sometimes being called the southern city of the sun ('Iunu-shemaa' in Ancient Egyptian), to distinguish it from the city of Iunu or Heliopolis, the main place of worship for the god Ra in the north.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: March to October

Directions | How to Reach

By Air:- Many international flights now go directly to Luxor. Alternatively, you can fly into Cairo and catch a domestic connection to Luxor. From Cairo, Egypt Air operates regular flights to Luxor, taking 45 minutes.By Rail:-You can get to Luxor from Cairo by rail. Trains depart from Ramses Station. Arriving in Luxor can be a stressful experience, as you may be mobbed by hotel-touts and taxi drivers, among others. As most places are less than 15 minutes walking distance away from the train station, it's fine to start walking if you don't have too much luggage.By Road:-Buses and service taxis leave from Ahmed Halmi Terminal near Ramses Station. By bus, you'll arrive at the new station on a side road just north of Luxor Temple. If you arrive by service taxi at the depot off Sharia el-Karnak, just to the north of the centre, you'll be able to walk to the centre in under 20 minutes. It's also possible to catch a minibus, caleche or taxi if you are heading for the southern part of town.

miscellaneous | Important Information

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