Luxor – the capital of ancient Egypt


Luxor is considered the second capital of Egypt and the capital of the pharaohs. In ancient Egypt, this city was called Thebes – it was here that many pharaohs ruled. Now Luxor is the largest archeological site and tourist center. The city’s population is 375 thousand people. In the photo: Luxor temple.

The road from Hurghada to Luxor took about 4 hours and went through mountains and deserts. It was very picturesque in some places.

Local people on one of the stops on the way to Luxor.

The closer we got to the Nile, the more green it became. The fact that 90% of the population of Egypt live in the valley of the Nile, where very fertile land allows you to get up to 4 crops a year. Life here is boiling. drive such cheerful trucks.

The locals. Egyptians love to sit and watch others work – such is their mentality). The Suez Canal was built by the British and the French, the Aswan Dam by the Russians, the railroad by the British, the subway in Cairo by the French, but the Egyptians are watching.

Irrigation canals are dug along the road – water flows into them from the Nile and is used to irrigate the fields. Work in the fields is extremely hard and non-prestigious – there is very little automation – almost everything is done by hand. In Egypt, they grow cotton, sugar cane, almost all fruits, as well as yellow tea and red tea (Carcade), but black tea and coffee are not grown here for some reason.

Luxor Street. In general, the city is cleaner and nicer than Cairo. Luxor is a tourist center, there are a lot of hotels and tourists, and most of the local population is busy serving tourists. A little about the climate – when we were there – it was about +30 degrees – and it’s winter (January), in summer the temperature reaches +50 in the shade.

One of the many Luxor hotels.

An important feature of Egypt – here are almost always unfinished buildings begin to operate already in the process of construction.

You can walk around the city on these carts.

Luxor is an archaeological center and even now there are excavations right in the center of the city. Here in the photo they are digging up the alley of sphinxes that runs from the Luxor temple.

I was surprised to learn that a second obelisk from this temple is on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It was a gift to France in the early 1830s on behalf of the Egyptian Viceroy for having a French citizen decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The study of the history of Ancient Egypt began only in the early 19th century, and before that as such the concept of Ancient Egypt did not exist. And here we have to thank Napoleon for bringing the French here :).

This is the famous Luxor temple, was built in honor of the god Amon during the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.

Some of the sphinxes are very well preserved.

These sphinxes are about 3.5 thousand years old. And from here (from this alley) were taken those sphinxes, which are now located on the University embankment in St. Petersburg.

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View of the Luxor temple.

Next to the statues of Ramses II is a small white mosque where the remains of Abu’l-Haggag are kept. The mosque was built much later on the ruins of the ancient temple.

The temple of Luxor and the city of Luxor itself (ancient Thebes) are located on the east bank of the Nile. The Egyptians believed that the sun is born in the east and dies in the west, so they lived on the east bank of the Nile, and arranged all the burials on the west bank, which is where the city of the dead is. We crossed the Nile on these boats called GHOST 1 and GHOST 2 (GHOST for ghost).

The Nile is about 500 meters wide at this point.

The waterfront of Luxor on the east bank of the Nile.

There is lively shipping on the Nile – these boats cruise the entire Nile.

The west bank of the Nile.

So we landed on the west bank. The panorama of the Luxor temple.

“The City of the Dead” consists of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Early burials were made in pyramids, which are essentially tombs, but they were very conspicuous tombs and were often looted. The ancient Egyptians believed that the soul of the deceased should ascend the steps of the pyramid into heaven, but the pyramids are long and expensive to build and are constantly being looted, but the outlines of the local mountains are very similar to the pyramids. Therefore, later burials were made here. The Egyptians are very “reverent” about their history, so you can not take pictures in the burial grounds :(.

After visiting the Valley of the Kings we were shown a stone workshop. The technology here had not changed for thousands of years.

God of fertility and cattle breeding Ming :).

The landscape of the west bank of the Nile River.

An Orthodox Muslim must pray five times a day.

And this is the temple of Queen Hatshepsu – it was carved into the rock and is actually very poorly preserved. What you see behind me has been restored for decades.

Egyptian wall paintings.

I feel like Indiana Jones )) the tomb raider.)

Temple of queen Hatshepsu.

Our guide Mustafa – perfectly spoke Russian and joked all the time.

Sunset over the Nile.

“Handsome” Egyptian President Mahammad Hosni Mubarak, but he’s not really handsome anymore – he’s 81 years old and has been president for about 30 years.

That was the end of the trip to Luxor. Next time I will tell you about the motor safari and meeting the sunset in the desert.

The Luxor trip on your own – what to see and how to see everything in two days

Temple in Luxor of ancient Egypt. Photo:

Temple of Luxor in ancient Egypt. Photo:

Founded on the banks of the great Nile River and surrounded by both mango plantations and the desert, Luxor is a city of half a million people and the world’s largest open-air museum, housing some of the largest and most striking ancient monuments ever built.

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The history of Luxor (originally called Thebes) goes back to 3200 B.C. However, the city did not thrive until 2134 B.C. During the 11th dynasty when Mentuhotep II brought peace and stability to the region and Thebes began to grow as a city, becoming during the 18th dynasty in 1550 BC the religious and political capital of ancient Egypt.

Luxor was ruled by some of the most famous and important pharaohs, and today most of their tombs, monuments, and temples are still very well preserved, including the tomb of the world-famous Tutankhamun.

Shrine of Tutankhamun. Photo:

The tomb of Tutankhamun. Photo:

Luxor is the most important archaeological site in Egypt, and without knowing everything there is to do in Luxor, it is difficult to plan a trip there for only 2 days. It is better to be prepared and think everything through in advance.

The list of archaeological sites and attractions in Luxor is so large that a visit to each temple and tomb would take several days and cost a lot of money.

So unless you have extra time (which most travelers don’t), you will have to choose and be fairly organized.

Also, most places tend to be crowded with dozens of tourist groups, which can make your visit a little unpleasant.

What to visit and how to avoid tourist groups

Avoiding tourist groups is almost impossible, but they usually follow the same route and it is not difficult to figure out when it is best to visit each place.

Alley of sphinxes in Luxor temple. Photo:

Sphinx Alley at the Luxor Temple. Photo:

Travel to Luxor – admission tickets

Below you can find the most current prices:

Prices for sites located on the West Bank

  • The Temple of Habu: 60 Egyptian pounds;
  • Ramesseum Temple: 60 Egyptian pounds;
  • Temple of Seti I: 60 Egyptian pounds;
  • Merenptah: 40 Egyptian pounds (museum closed);
  • Temple of Isis: 80 Egyptian pounds.

Tombs of the nobility.

1. Sheikh Abd el-Kurna area (11 tombs):
  • Nakht + Menna + Amenemopet: 60 Egyptian pounds;
  • Rehmir + Sennefer: 40 Egyptian pounds;
  • Ramos + Userhat + Khaemhat: 80 Egyptian pounds;
  • Khonsu + Usserhat + Benya: 80 Egyptian pounds.
2. District of Hokha (3 tombs):
  • Neferrenpet + Neferseheru + Jehutimes: 40EGP.
3. Dra Abu el Naga (3 tombs):

Roy + Shuroi + Amenemope: 40 Egyptian pounds.

4. Dair el-Medina area (3 tombs):
  • Sennedjem + Inherkau and temple: 80 Egyptian pounds;
  • Pashedu: 40 Egyptian pounds.
5. Kurnet Murray area (3 tombs):
  • Imnhotep/Hwy + Imnement + Amunemheb: 40EGP.
6. District of El Asasif (4 tombs) 60EGP:
  • Kheruef + Ankh_Hor + Mentuemhat: 60EGP.

Where to buy tickets. As a general rule, for all of the above places, tickets should be purchased at the office located next to the Nourh El Gourna Hotel. These are the exact coordinates: 25.722725, 32.604387.

The Valley of the Kings

Valley of kings. Photo:

The Valley of the Kings. Photo:

General admission ticket including 3 tombs of your choice: 240 Egyptian pounds for any 3 tombs.

Additional tickets for:
  • Ramses the 5th and Ramses the 6th: 90 Egyptian pounds;
  • Tutankhamun: 250 Egyptian pounds;
  • Seti 1st: 1,000 Egyptian pounds.
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Valley of the Queens

Valley of Kings. Entrance to the tomb of Nefertari. Photo:

Valley of the Queens. Entrance to Nefertari’s tomb. Photo:

General admission ticket: 80EGP.

Additional ticket for:
  • Nefertari: 1000 Egyptian pounds.

You can additionally buy a photo ticket for 300 Egyptian pounds, which will allow you to take pictures inside the tombs. Before that, you couldn’t take pictures unless you bribed a guard. However, many people take pictures without this permission.

Prices for sites located on the East Bank

  • Luxor Temple: 160 Egyptian pounds;
  • Luxor Museum: 160 Egyptian pounds + 50 Egyptian pounds (photo);
  • Mummification Museum: 80 Egyptian pounds;
  • Karnak Temple: 200 Egyptian pounds;
  • Karnak (open-air museum): 80 Egyptian pounds;
  • Karnak Temple of Mut: 80 Egyptian pounds;
  • Temple of Opeth: 80 Egyptian pounds.

Tip: If you have a student ticket and are under 30 years old, you will get a 50% discount on all attractions.

Where to stay in Luxor

Luxor Hotels

Backpacker Hostel – Bob Marley Peace Luxor Hostel

This is by far the most famous hostel in the city. With lots of tourists, it offers 2 and 4 bed rooms as well as private rooms. Great location, great breakfast, good Wi-Fi and friendly staff.

Budget Guest House – Luxor Guest House

Located on the bank of the Nile River, on the West Bank side, but close to the ferry station, this guest house is one of the most popular places in town, and easy to understand. Why. Great service, breakfast, super clean rooms and all at a very affordable price. This place is perfect for couples and independent travelers alike.

Mid-range hotel – Amon Hotel

With a very nice and beautiful garden, the Amon Hotel is another great choice in town for the mid-range traveler. The hotel has real character and the staff is one of the friendliest, very accommodating and informative. The food is great too, and the location is better than ever. Great choice for families and couples visiting Luxor.

First Class – Hilton Resort and Spa.

The Hilton is the top rated hotel in Luxor. Located on the banks of the Nile with a beautiful view of sailboats, this luxury hotel offers everything you can expect from world-renowned Middle Eastern service.

What to do in Luxor: A 2-day itinerary

Luxor consists of three main archeological areas:
  1. West Bank. Located west of the Nile, the West Bank contains many tombs and temples scattered throughout the area, including the Valley of the Kings.
  1. Karnak Temple. Located slightly outside the city, Karnak is the second largest ancient religious site in the world after the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.
  1. Luxor Temple – This huge temple complex is located right in the center of the city.

By following this guide, you can easily visit all three sites in just two days. Allocate one full day to the West Bank and one full day to the temples at Karnak and Luxor.

What to see in Luxor on the first day: West Bank

Valleys of Kings and Queens. Photo:

The Valleys of the Kings and Queens. Photo:

First of all, keep in mind that the West Bank consists of 14 archaeological sites as well as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Kings, spread over a huge area. It is extremely difficult to visit them on foot, as they are separated by several kilometers.

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The only ways to visit them are with a tour group (that’s boring), by cab (too expensive) or by bicycle, which is the most interesting option if you want to see everything on your own. Renting a bike from your hotel will cost about 30 Egyptian pounds a day ($1.80).

How to cross the Nile River

If you are staying on the east bank (where most of the hotels are), you need to take a ferry across the Nile River. There are local boats that cross the river every 15 minutes and cost only EGP 1.

Transport across the Nile in Luxor. Source -

Transportation across the Nile in Luxor. Source –

What archaeological sites are worth visiting

There are 14 different archaeological sites in the West Bank, as well as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. It will take several days to visit them all, so you need to choose what you would like to visit.

Habu Temple.

Habu Temple. Photo:

Habu Temple. Photo:

The burial temple of Ramses III, located inside Medinat Abu, is, according to many archaeologists, one of the most underrated sites in the West Bank. Why? Because despite its enormous size and architectural significance, many tourists choose to skip it.

Seti temple.

Seti temple. Photo:

Seti temple. Photo:

Despite the fact that it is located in one of the greenest areas, next to a palm grove, the temple of Seti receives very few visitors. Seti I died before the temple was finished, so it was actually completed by his son Ramses II.

Tombs of the nobility.

Tombs of the Nobles. Photo:

Tombs of the Nobles. Photo:

The tombs of the nobles are an important archaeological site, consisting of more than 400 tombs. Some of them are open to the public, and as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens get all the attention. When it comes to the tombs, however, the Tombs of the Nobles do not receive the attention they deserve, although their paintings and hieroglyphics are impressive and very well preserved. The tombs, which are open to the public, are divided into groups of three, each group requiring a separate ticket. It is believed that the most colorful paintings are in the tombs of Nacht, Menna and Amenemopetus.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings. Photo:

The Valley of the Kings. Photo:

When you visit Luxor, this will be one of the highlights of your trip, as the Valley of the Kings is where the greatest of the great pharaohs who ruled the New Kingdom rest in peace. There are a total of 63 impressive tombs, each one very different from the other.

An entrance ticket allows you to visit three of them. Again, you have to choose. Tutankhamun’s and Ramses VI’s tombs have separate entrances. Which tombs are worth visiting? Archaeologists recommend visiting: Nerenptah, Ramses IV and Thutmose III and, of course, buy a separate ticket for Tutankhamun. The Valley of the Kings is definitely one of the best places in Luxor.

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How to avoid meeting tourist groups

It is almost impossible to completely avoid tourist groups when visiting Luxor, but for some reason most of them start in the Valley of the Kings. For this reason, you should leave the Valley of the Kings for last. It closes around 5:00 p.m., so you should get there at 3:30 p.m., when most people leave.

  • So when you wake up in the morning, go straight to the box office. Needless to say, the earlier you go, the fewer people you will find;
  • Once you get your tickets, visit the Habu temple first before the visitors arrive;
  • When you’re done, go to the tombs of the nobility by visiting the Seti Temple;
  • Take a lunch break and go to the Valley of the Kings around 3 p.m.

Important note: Because of the crisis, most restaurants are closed, so it is recommended that you bring your own food.

Day 2: Karnak and Luxor Temples

The second day is fairly easy as you only need to visit the temples of Luxor and Karnak.

How to avoid encountering crowds of tourists

Luxor at night. Photo:

Luxor at night. Photo:

Since the Luxor Temple is located in the center of the city and also opens at night, many tourist groups and people decide to visit it in the evening hours and the Karnak Temple in the morning hours. So you just have to do the opposite.

  • Wake up as early as possible to visit the Luxor temples;
  • In the afternoon, around 3:00 pm, go to the Karnak Temple (3 km).

Important: Opening hours depend on the temple and the season. Some of them open at 6 am and others at 8 am. Check with your hotel for their schedule. Also note that both temples accept visitors throughout the day. It is impossible to avoid the crowds altogether, but the suggested times are definitely the least busy. This is something to take advantage of.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple. Photo:

Luxor Temple. Photo:

Mostly built during the New Kingdom by Amenhotep III and Ramses II, the Luxor temple was built to worship Amon Ra, the greatest of the gods, considered the God of kings and king of the gods. The Alley of Sphinxes, which actually connected the Luxor Temple with the Karnak Temple, and the giant statues of Ramses II are impressive. Together with the Valley of the Kings, this was for me one of the best places to visit in Luxor.

Between the Luxor and Karnak temples, if you have time, you can also visit the Luxor Museum.

Karnak Temple.

The Karnak temple. Photo:

Karnak Temple. Photo:

Karnak was the most important religious complex in ancient Egypt, and today it is the second largest ancient religious site in the world after the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. Everything in this enormous complex is built on a supergiant scale. From its huge ornate columns to its obelisks, statues, and stalls, the Karnak Temple will definitely take your breath away. According to one local, it took about 2,000 years to complete.

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