Sam's Exotic Travels to Luxor, the World's Greatest Open Air Museum
Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of the God Amon-Ra. The importance of the city started as early as the 11th Dynasty, with king Montuhotep II who united Egypt after the troubles of the first intermediate period. With the rise of Thebes as the foremost city of Egypt, the local god Amon rose in importance as well and became linked to the sun god Ra, thus creating the new 'king of gods' Amon-Ra. His great temple, at Karnak just north of Thebes, was the most important temple of Egypt right until the end of antiquity. Thebes also played a major role in expelling the invading forces of the Hyksos from Upper Egypt and it was another family from Thebes, the 17th Dynasty that again united Egypt and started the New Kingdom as the 18th Dynasty. From the time of this 18th Dynasty, through to the 20th Dynasty, the importance of the city had risen as the major political, religious and military capital of Ancient Egypt. The political and military importance faded during the Late Period, with Thebes being replaced as political capital by several cities in Northern Egypt, like Bubastis, Sais and finally Alexandria, but as the city of the god Amon-Ra Thebes remained the religious capital of Egypt until the Greek period.
As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor standing within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the Nile River, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Thousands of international tourists arrive each year to visit these monuments, and their presence represents a large part of the economic basis for the modern city. As a result, Luxor represents an excellent base for touring Upper Egypt, and is a popular holiday destination, both in its own right and as a starting or finishing point for Nile cruises.
Places visited include the following:
You can also click below to view my impressions of daily life in Luxor:
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