"Luxor should be on most people's "Bucket Lists", with so much history and culture dating back to 3500 BC..."
Luxor is sometimes nicknamed the world’s greatest open-air museum, a nickname that it more than lives up to. It is the closest modern city to Ancient Thebes, where the size and grandeur of the monuments that survive will take your breath away.
On the west bank of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings is dotted with tombs of Pharaohs, including that of Tutankhamen, while close by is the Valley of the Queens, Temple of Hatshepsut and the massive Colossi Memnon. Nile Cruises usually start at Luxor and sail to Aswan and back, making Luxor an ideal place to enjoy a stay on dry land before or after your cruise down the Nile. Along with the vast Temple of Karnak, which plays host to a vast array of incredible Egyptian statues and monuments. This coupled with the excellent weather and good tourist facilities, make it a must-visit for anyone that loves history or sightseeing.
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Located on the Nile River, approximately 300 miles to the south of Cairo, its built on top of the ancient city known as Thebes by the Greeks and Waset by the Egyptians. This means that it is steeped in history, with the most famous sites, being the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the giant Temple of Karnak. The city is medium sized with a population of close to 500,000 people, making it ideal for people who want to go to an ancient and modern place.
Luxor generally has a hot and dry climate throughout the year. The months of June, July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 degrees and rain almost non-existent. The Spring and Autumn months remain hot, with little chance of rain. The rest of the year remains hot with the coldest month of the year being January, where the temperature is a pleasant 14 degrees.
History and Culture
Thebes, served as Egypt’s capital during various periods in its history, with Memphis which is located close to modern day Cairo the other capital. It was believed to be home to the god Amun, in ancient times, who became associated with Egyptian royalty and later Alexander the Great. Many of Egypt’s most famous rulers chose to be buried there, during the ‘New Kingdom’ period including iconic rulers such as Tutankhamun, whose golden facemask has come to symbolise ancient Egyptian civilization. It is also home to the massive Karnak Temple, which covers an area of more than 100 hectares, making it one of the largest temple complexes in the world. The city was later sacked by the Persians and gradually lost its glory, being nothing more than a small village by the 18th century. This changed when the Europeans became obsessed with Egypt in the 18th century, and once the Valley of the Kings was discovered it became one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
The city is perfect for families that love to learn, with a vast array of interesting educational activities that people of all ages will enjoy. The Temple of Karnak is a massive archaeological site that is more than 4000 years old and contains a huge range of fascinating statues. Added to this is the Valley of the Kings, where pharaohs such as Tutankhamun were buried. A river boat trip down the Nile, is the perfect way to explore the ancient waterway that made Egypt so rich and fertile.
Tours and Attractions
Steeped in ancient history, with places like the Temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings, it is a must visit for anyone who is interested in ancient Egyptian culture. This combined with lesser known sights like the Valley of the Queens and Luxor Temple, make it perfect for those who love history. The mummification museum is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about this fascinating practise. While Luxor’s proximity to the Nile, means that visitors can sail along it and visit some of the famous sights on it such as the Pyramids near Cairo.
The nightlife in Luxor is fairly limited, as it is mostly there for the benefit of tourists, rather than locals. There are a spattering of restaurants and pubs, in the tourist areas and various hotels have cafes and pubs, however, it is not the kind of place where you can party from dusk until dawn.
The area has a fairly muted shopping scene, which isn’t famous for large shops. This makes it ideal for those who want to find bargains or Egyptian souvenirs, which typically include items such as carvings, images of the ancient gods, Egyptian cotton, leather, gold and silver. Many shops in Luxor will offer you the chance to test your haggling skills, although the main shops on the Station Street and Television Street are more official and organized.