Obelisks can be found throughout the world, many of them originally coming from Egypt. Almost always, you will find them as a single obelisk that stands out on its own. The obelisks at Karnak Temple in Luxor is an example of having multiple obelisks at the same site. There are two remaining obelisks of the four that originally existed at the site. We took many different photographs of the obelisks during our time touring the temple and the pair of obelisks provides some interesting symmetry in the pictures that we took. There were also time when they could be seen framed between different columns and doors, which was probably the intention of the ancient Egyptians when the obelisks were erected.
Luxor is certainly the highlight of any trip to Egypt and there are many wonderful ancient sites to visit. Luxor takes at least a couple of days to truly see and you should divide your time between the west and east banks of the Nile. It is a short flight from Cairo, although it can certainly be reached by bus or car if you prefer. There are plenty of hotel choices in Luxor, but because we were there to start our Nile River cruise, we stayed on board our ship. Out of our entire time in Egypt, many of our favorite memories came from our time in Luxor.
Karnak Temple – After the Great Pyramids in Cairo, this is probably one of the most visited and photographed places in Egypt. We visited both during the day and then again at night for one of the light and sound shows. Regardless of the time of day, it is an amazing location with so many sights to see. From statues, columns, obelisks, to the hieroglyphs and temple walls, it is a labyrinth of fascinating art and architecture.
The Valley of the Kings – If you have watched any mummy movie or ever imagined yourself as an archeologist discovering an ancient site, walking through one of these ancient tombs is a memory that you will never forget. Even though all of the treasures have been removed and can be found in museums throughout the world, seeing where the pharaohs were buried centuries ago is worth the time.
Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon – Although these are two separate sights, they are close enough to each other that we are combining them as one attraction. The sheer size of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is amazing to see and it is definitely different than most of the other temples that we visited in Egypt. As for the Colossi of Memnon, it will only take about a half an hour to visit, but seeing these enormous statues that face the Nile River is quite impressive.
Luxor Temple – Although not as large as the Karnak Temple Complex, it should definitely be on your list of places to see while in Luxor. There is a road between the two temple complexes that is being reconstructed that will be absolutely amazing when complete. By the time you have visited a couple of the temple complexes, your head will be spinning with all of the historical, mythological, and cultural information that you will be told if you use an Egyptologist guide as we did.
Nile River Cruise – Taking a cruise from Luxor down to Aswan is an incredible experience that you will treasure forever. As you leave Luxor and start to head south, you will see the mountains that house the Valley of the Kings off of the banks of the Nile. It is also a great way to get out of the heat of the desert and travel in relaxing style.
Alabaster Factories – Going to one of the many alabaster factories is certainly worthwhile, even if you don’t purchase anything. Just seeing the artisans who create unique works of art from the translucent stone makes it something that you should do while in Luxor.
There are many other sites to visit while in Luxor, such as the Valley of the Queens or the Luxor Museum, if you have the time. If your time is limited, though, we would certainly recommend that you at least visit these particular places.
The Luxor Temple Complex is certainly a highlight of any trip to Luxor, Egypt. Although, not as large as the Karnak Temple Complex, it is still quite impressive. One can only imagine what it must have been like 3000 years ago when both temples were in use and there was an avenue that connected the two complexes with statues of lions with different heads lining the entire road. Work is currently being done to restore the area between the two temples and it will be another amazing sight to see when visiting Luxor.
Unlike many of the other temples in Egypt, the Luxor Temple Complex is not dedicated to any specific god or specific king. Many of the pharaohs added temples to the complex, as with other temple complexes, including Amenhotep, Alexander, Ramesses II, and Tutankhamun. One interesting feature within the complex is the remains of a statue that was very much in the style of the Greek’s.
The entrance to the Luxor Temple Complex is quite dramatic with the sitting statues of Ramses II on either side. In addition to all of the statues, there were also two obelisks in the complex, one of which is still standing. Another interesting aspect to the Luxor Temple is that there is a working mosque on the temple grounds. It is an example of how the modern world and ancient sites can become merged over time.
With so many different sites to see in Luxor such as the Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Colossus of Memnon, and the Temple of Hatshepsut, it definitely takes at least a couple of days to visit. Even with all of these temples, tombs, statues, and historic sites, the Luxor Temple Complex is as important to see as these other sites.