Egypt has always been a draw for travelers. The monuments of ancient civilizations stand as rugged reminders of empires and cultures passed. These grand palaces, temples, and tombs are tremendous feats of engineering – milestones in the history of the world. Which brings us to Luxor. The Luxor Temple and Karnak are sites to behold, to wander about in awe of its hieroglyph-covered walls and columns… a magnificent museum open to the elements.
Luxor, once known as Thebes, was considered to be the religious capital of Egypt until the Greek period. Egyptians built Thebes in the name of Amun-ra, the chief god of their religious beliefs. The modern city of Luxor was built around the ancient structure of Luxor Temple, located on the Nile bank and in a central part of the city. And, in the northern part of the city, sits the well-preserved Karnak Temple Complex. This proximity to amazing Egyptian architecture is quite convenient for the traveler.
Luxor’s stunning views are ever-present when catching site of the Luxor Temple. Constructed around 1300 BCE, along the eastern bank of the Nile River, it was known as “the southern sanctuary.” The Nubian Sandstone temple was mostly covered in rubble and sand until its excavation, which lasted from 1884- 1960. Before the temple is the Avenue of Sphinxes, a path of sphinx statues leading to the main entrance. On each side of the entrance was once two great obelisks, though only one still stands. These are bordered by a 79 ft pylon wall on each side, a dramatic entrance to be sure. When entering the temple, the Great Court of Ramses II opens with a double-lined path featuring statue and engraving representations of the Ramses lineage. Deeper into the Luxor Temple are the Colonnade of Amenhotep III, Sun Court of Amenhotep III, and the final chamber called the Sanctuary of Amenhotep III. A walk through this temple is an astounding wake up call to the old ways of the world… and shouldn’t be missed.
Approximately 2 miles to the north is Karnak, a temple complex that was once connected to Luxor Temple through the Avenue of the Sphinxes mentioned earlier. As one of the world’s largest complexes dedicated to religion, its construction began around 2000-1700 BCE. Here, like Luxor Temple, the traveler will see the temples within unfold as they enter past massive pylons. Within are multiple areas, though the Precinct of Amun-Ra is the most popular. This temple is a grand gesture to Amun-Ra, featuring mighty columns covered in hieroglyphs. Statues standing, and sitting, watch over the sacred grounds. The Great Hypostyle Hall, in the Precinct of Amun-Ra, is a 54,000 sq. ft area with 134 columns in 16 rows – a magnificent example of majesty in architecture. Other areas include the Precinct of Mut, Precinct of Montu, and the currently dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV. Each area gets progressively older as the traveler goes inward. Considered to be one of the greatest archaeological finds in the world, Karnak will not disappoint the traveler one bit with its sights built to please the gods.
As if Luxor wasn’t enticing enough, just opposite the Nile River is the famous Theban Necropolis. This area is well-known for such sites as the Valley of the Kings, where the traveler can experience a valley corridor of rock-cut tombs lining its walls. To the north of Luxor is Aswan, a tourist centre full of bustling markets. Egypt’s cultural treasures are plentiful, and the southern temples of a once great empire stand against time’s pressure – to the delight of the traveler. Getting to, and around, Egypt is especially easy using EgyptAir . As the state-owned carrier and member of the Star Alliance, EgyptAir is looking forward to delivering the traveler to Egypt for a look upon the magical works of ancient people.
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