Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near describing this extraordinary place. It has been estimated that Luxor contains about a third of the most valuable monuments and antiquities in the whole world, which makes it one of this planet’s most important tourist sites. Monuments such as The Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, Deir El-Bahri (the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut), the worker’s village at Deir El-Medina, the list goes on and on and on. Alhough most visitors will stay for just a few days, it would take a substantial amount of time to visit everything in this amazing town.

The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, the Nile flowing between the modern city and west-bank necropolis.

Luxor has a population of round about 230,000, most of whom are employed in tourism somehow

Once known as Thebes, Luxor’s importance in ancient Egyptian history cannot be denied. It was the religious capital almost all throughout the Pharaonic period which is why the town is dominated by the two temples: the Temple of Luxor and the immense Temple of Karnak: the world’s largest temple complex dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Amun Ra, the Temple of Karnak was constantly expanded by successive pharaohs, each adding his, or her, tribute to the god.

Most people know that Luxor was once Thebes, but “Thebes” was not what the ancient Egyptians called it. Ancient texts show that it was called T-apt, “The Shrine”, with the ancient Greeks calling it Tea Pie. The Arabs had problems with pronunciation and so it became Thebes to them. The name vanished then as the area submitted to the desert and then by the 10th-century Arab travelers thought the ruins were of grand buildings so started to call it Al-Oksour, or “site of the palaces” which evtnually became Luxor.

Luxor is situated 670km (416 miles) to the south of Cairo, 220km (137 miles) to the north of Aswan, and 280km (174 miles) to the west of Hurghada. It is the second most popular place to visit in Egypt, behind Cairo, and is accessible in a number of ways.

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  • Luxor 2
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