Breathtaking in both size and complexity, Luxor is described as the “world’s greatest open air museum” and showcases all that is left of the Ancient city of Thebes. Despite a rather turbulent past few decades, the site is currently fully operational and an increased emphasis on security has made visiting this ancient city safer than ever. The stone buildings that characterise this region are almost perfectly preserved and do a lot to help visitors piece together the cultural and historical heritage of Egypt. Being over 4000 years old, this site holds the key to millenia of mystery and myth.
The first port of call for anyone visiting Luxor should undoubtedly be the Temple of Karnak. With its incredible stone carvings, it is sure to leave you dragging your jaw along the floor in amazement. Equally spectacular is the eponymous Luxor Temple, which sits right in the middle of the city, overlooking the Nile, and is covered with elaborate ancient wall carvings. It is often said that the best time to visit this temple is at night when the walls are lit up and the mystical vibe is all the more powerful.
Naturally, no trip to Luxor is complete with seeing the Valley of the Kings, the world’s most impressive graveyard and the site of the most famous tomb on the planet, that of Tutankhamun. Many visitors to Luxor hire a driver for the day who will ferry them from location to location but, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, it can actually be more rewarding to travel between the attractions on foot. The heat is fierce so be sure to take plenty of water if you decide to explore on foot.
Luxor is the premier travel destination in Upper (southern) Egypt and the Nile Valley. The dynastic and religious capital of Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Egypt, Luxor has much to offer the traveller, from vast temples, to ancient royal tombs, via spectacular desert and river scenery and a bustling modern life
Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.
Luxor is a rather unique Egyptian city, standing proudly in the Nile Valley and offering an appealing mixture of past and present. Today, Luxor is composed of three main areas, the busy city centre, the north-easterly village of Karnak, and also the many ancient remains of Thebes, located on the West Bank of the world-famous River Nile.
Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. However, Sharia al-Karnak is known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda. Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual.