One of the soundest pieces of travel advice we’ve ever given we will repeat here: take some time to learn about Luxor before seeing it. Yes, you will have a skilled guide who will regale you with tales of temples, tombs and treasure. Yes, you will walk the same stone passageways once traveled only by royal entourages and worshipping priests (comfortable, sturdy shoes are essential here). And yes, you’ll wish for panoramic vision to better absorb the massive majesty of the monuments. Fully expect to be overwhelmed by the effects of Karnak, Luxor and the entire West Bank of the Nile. But true appreciation goes hand in hand with understanding and for that, you’ll need to invest some quality time with a good guide book. All of our set tour itineraries allow two days in Luxor (of course if you’re customizing your itinerary and ancient Egypt is a passion, plan on at least another day here) and a very full, energetic two days it is.
Today’s Luxor (from the Arabic al-Uqsor “the Palaces”) stands on the site of Thebes, capital city throughout the dynasties of the New Kingdom and, without doubt, one of the most impressive imperial cities ever conceived. On the river’s east bank are the two tremendous temple complexes, Karnak and Luxor, built to honor the Theban Triad of Gods: supreme Amun-Re, his consort, Mut and their son Khonsu. Both were built over centuries,with succeeding pharaohs adding layer upon outer layer of courtyards, pylons, shrines and hypostyle halls, lavish sculpture and decorations. Karnak covers 60 acres and is the largest dedicated religious site ever constructed. Ramses the Great added Luxor’s phenomenal peristyle court and established his grandiose building concepts. Ramses’ influence is everywhere…lying collapsed at the foot of his West Bank mortuary temple, the Ramasseum, is the largest granite colossus on record, the statue which inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1818 to write … “Ozymandias King of Kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair.”
Is it obvious that Luxor is a special favorite with us? We hope so. Luxor is a living, breathing museum, a collection of the phenomenal, a place of sheer wonder. A place you’ll never forget.