Luxor Egypt is the most picturesque city in the country. Ancient Egypt is full of stories, legends, and fantasies. Who has never been interested in learning more about the history of the pharaohs, Luxor tourist attractions, and how this ancient civilization lived? Few people know that Cairo is not Egypt’s city with the most ruins, temples, and archaeological sites, but Luxor is!
Thebes: The Ancient Capital of Egypt
Luxor is the main attraction for anyone looking to explore Ancient Egypt because the city was the capital of the Egyptian Empire.
This Pharaonic period is divided into three parts or Empires: Ancient, Middle, and New. In the Ancient Empire, the capital was Memphis, near Cairo. Luxor is the main attraction for anyone looking to explore Ancient Egypt because the city was the capital of the Egyptian Empire.
This Pharaonic period is divided into three parts or Empires: Ancient, Middle, and New. In the Ancient Empire, the capital was Memphis, near Cairo, where the pyramids at Giza were built.
The Middle Kingdom was a period of crisis and instability. At the end of this period, the capital was moved to Thebes, now Luxor, in the country’s south.
The New Empire was Egypt’s most prosperous period when temples were built the most, and the geographical limits of the empire expanded the most.
It is also the time of the most famous pharaohs in history: Tutankhamun, Seth, and Ramses. As the empire’s capital was Thebes in this period, it became the region’s political, economic, and religious center, where the kingdom’s main temples and the pharaohs’ tombs were located.
Furthermore, since Luxor is located in the south of Egypt, a less economically developed and less populated region, it was possible to preserve the archaeological sites better.
Unlike the metropolitan area of Cairo, the country’s wealthiest and most populous part has grown a lot in the last century and encroached on many archaeological sites.
West Bank of Luxor city:
Luxor is divided into two parts: the west and the east side of the Nile River. In ancient Egypt, the east bank was reserved for the living, where the temples and houses of the inhabitants were located.
On the other hand, the west side was reserved for the dead, so this was where the tombs were. The Valley of the Kings, where the pharaohs’ tombs were located, was the most critical location. The incredible tombs of the pharaohs in Luxor. Aside from the Valley of the Kings, Luxor’s most preserved and beautiful monument is the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut.
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15 Things to do in Luxor Egypt
Luxor has several temples, but the most famous and exciting are two. To see the other attractions, read our What to do in Luxor Egypt, where we talk about the main tourist attractions in Luxor.
1. Starting with sailing on the Nile Cruise
Let’s start with one of the most exciting parts: a sail down the Nile. This four-day cruise up the Nile will take you to some of Egypt’s most impressive landmarks, and one of the starting points is Luxor.
Check out our Nile River Cruises in Egypt
2. Discover Karnak Temple
The Temple of Karnak is the biggest in all of Egypt is the best Luxor tourist attractions. It was built to honor Amun-Ra, a combination of the gods Ra and Amun. He was one of the most important gods in ancient Egypt. In ancient Egypt, it was the most important place of worship, and essential pharaohs like Seti I and Ramses II helped build it.
The most popular area is the one that has the Walk of the Sphinxes and the 134 23-meter-high columns of the Amun-Ra room. This area is made up of three separate locations.
After the tower and the walk of the sphinxes, there is the interior patio, which leads to the different rooms of the complex (the temples of Ramses II and Seti I) and is where the massive statue of Pinedyem I is. It is so unique that you can’t stop looking up and admiring the essential things that the Egyptians built.
Inscriptions on its walls and columns describe the battles that the kings of that time fought during their reigns and the gods to whom they made offerings.
I built two obelisks to honor Thutmosis and his daughter Hatshepsut during his reign. This was one of the most important buildings in ancient Egypt, so that you will notice it.
New pieces of this ancient structure, built between 2200 BC and 360 BC, are still being found, and this tells us more about what life was like back then.
- Don’t miss to check out on our Tours Sound and light show at the Temple of Karnak , and Day Tour of the Temples of Luxor and Karnak
3. Visit Luxor Temple
It is the most important and impressive building in the city. The temple was founded in 1884 and was built between 1400 and 1000 B.C. Ramses II built the outside walls, and Amenhotep III built the rooms inside.
The city’s center, Luxor Temple, dedicated to the god Amun-Ra, used to be connected to the nearby Karnak Temple by the Avenue of Sphinxes, a 3-kilometer path with more than 600 sphinxes. However, because of a lot of damage, the Avenue of Sphinxes can now only be seen at the beginning of both temples.
The sculptures of Ramses II sitting down, which are more than 15 meters tall and stand next to the obelisk in front of the Ramses II pylon, are one of the most striking parts of this building.
One of the most important places is the Ramses II peristyle courtyard, which has 74 papyriform columns that show the pharaoh with different gods.
At each end of the processional colonnade of Amenhotep III, there are two statues of Ramses II. This leads to the peristyle courtyard of Amenhotep III, which is surrounded by columns and has entrances to other chambers used to worship gods like Amun and Mut.
4. Explore the Funeral Hatshepsut Temple
The Temple of Hatshepsut is one of Egypt’s most impressive buildings, and it is part of the Deir el Bahari complex on the western side of the Nile River near the Valley of the Kings. From the best luxor tourist attractions Here was built one of the best-preserved and most critical Amun-Ra temples.
The monument to Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt for almost three thousand years and was one of the most powerful women in the ancient world, makes it easy to imagine how much power and influence the queen had.
Reliefs of pharaohs paying homage to the gods of their time are carved into the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut. The tomb has raised terraces and massive columns. It was built in the same style as the work of Pharaoh Mentuhotep I. Some parts were built into the rock, and some were made outside.
On the first terrace, there are still columns and pillars where ponds used to be. On the second terrace are Osiric sculptures and two rows of pillars showing Hatshepsut’s coronation and other events from her life.
You can also find the Hathor Chapel and the Anubis Chapel on this terrace. Both of these buildings show how the Pharaoh made sacrifices to different gods.
5. Discover the Valley of Kings, one of the Luxor tourist attractions
The Valley of the Kings is the best-known Egyptian cemetery. It has the tombs of several New Kingdom pharaohs, such as Ramses II, Ramses III, Tutankhamun, and Tutmosis III. Since it was easy to steal from the pyramids, where many pharaohs were buried, this structure was built to protect the royal tombs from thieves.
At the base of the mountain, we can see how they continued to respect the pyramidal style of the New Kingdom by building this cemetery on the mountaintop, which ends in a peak. This area is called El-Qurna (the Horn).
Even though the pharaohs’ funeral temples were still in other places, their bodies were kept in these tombs. Howard Carter’s last discovery was the tomb of Tutankhamun, number 62 on the list.
Ramses IX’s (KV6), Merempath’s (KV8), Ramses VI’s (KV9), Ramses III’s (KV11), Ramses I’s (KV16), Seti I’s (KV17), Montu (KV19), her’s Khopeshef’s Thutmosis III’s (KV34), Amenophis II’s (KV35), and Horemheb’s ( (KV57). For a fee of €13, you can visit three of the 63 sites.
There’s no question that Tutankhamun’s tomb is the most popular, but all we’ll find there is his mummy and the tomb itself. It would be best if you put it from the Luxor tourist attractions.
6. Exploring the Valley of Queens
The Valley of the Queens is on the western bank of the Nile in Luxor, about 25 kilometers from the train station—one of the necropolises that UNESCO says is part of the Theban Necropolis, a World Heritage Site.
The Valley of the Queens is also called Biban al Harim and Ta Set Neferu, meaning “seat of beauty.” All three names can be used to talk about the same place. Between 1903 and 1906, an Italian team found eight graves, some of which were thought to be for royal babies.
In these tombs is a small room called an antechamber, a tall hallway with rooms on both sides, and a final chamber for burial.
Most people go to the tomb of Ramses II’s favorite wife, Nefertari, who ruled Egypt during the 20th dynasty. Because of this, I built a temple for her in Abu Simbel and a tomb for her that is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the Valley of the Queens. The tomb has intricate hieroglyphs from the Book of the Dead and pictures of the Queen with different Egyptian gods. In 1904, Italian explorer Ernesto Schiaparelli got into the tomb. Unfortunately, other thieves had already broken in, so the only valuable things he could steal were the paintings on the walls, which were in danger because of the high humidity and the salt crystals that filtered the limestone of its borders. The building was fixed and reopened to the public, which is good news.
7. Visiting the Valley of Nobles
The Valley of Nobels on the West Bank of Luxor, from the top Luxor attractions several tombs were built for nobles or local leaders who wanted to be buried with as much pomp and ceremony as the kings, queens, and princes. The Tombs of the Nobles are a group of underground tombs near the Ramesseum.
There are many, but people can reach only a few. It’s not unusual to see ones with bright decorations on them. One of the most exciting things about this site is that, unlike the iconographic programs of the pharaohs and queens, it gives much more specific information about how ancient Egyptians lived their everyday lives.
- Don’t pass up to check out the Day Tour To Valley of the Nobles Medinet Habu and Deir el-Medina
8. Explore Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon, a monument to the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, will be the last thing you see when you go on a great trip to Luxor. The massive sculptures are thought to be more than 3,000 years old. They were made by Pharaoh Amenophis III, who also oversaw the building of his funeral temple, which was recently destroyed by an earthquake.
Each of the Colossi of Memnon is 14 meters tall and sits on a pedestal that is 4 meters tall. Together, they are 18 meters tall and weigh 1,300 tons. Egypt’s quarries, where the granite for each colossus came from, are about 600 kilometers from Luxor.
9. Visit Dendera Temple
It was built during the reigns of Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra II of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and then the Romans added to it.
It is part of a larger complex covering over 40,000 square meters. Chapels and small sanctuaries have stood here since the beginning of Egyptian civilization. But the oldest temple we can still recognize was built during the time of Pharaoh Nectanebo I, who ruled from 381 to 364 B.C.
The Temple of Dendera has retained its original shape since Hellenism. This song is a tribute to Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of birth, marriage, and art (hence the title). Since her name means “The Temple of Horus” or “The home of Horus,” she is often thought to be Horus’s mother or, in some cases, his wife.
It is different from other Egyptian tombs because of its reliefs, considered some of the best examples of Egyptian decorative art from the time of Ptolemy. A unique thing about this temple is that people can climb to the top of the building and look out over the whole complex.
When people walk into the temple, they find themselves in a large room called a hypostyle, and this room is connected to a smaller room where the temple’s administrative offices are located. The group enters the main sanctuary, surrounded by a passageway leading to smaller chapels for different gods.
The building’s basement has a small shrine to Hathor and Isis. From there, you can see the beautiful paintings of the heavens covering the seven ceiling sections. The first one shows Nut, the sky goddess, bending over the world and covering it with a cloak of stars.
Still, pictures of the solar ship and the star god can be seen. The Zodiac constellations are shown on a concept that hangs from the ceiling next to the solar boat. The first zodiac is kept at the Louvre in Paris. Even though they are slightly different, all eleven of the familiar symbols are here: a ram, a bull, a twin of heaven, a crab, a lion, a Virgo, a scorpion, an archer, a goat, a set of water jugs, and a pair of fish with flashing tails.
- Don’t pass the chance to check out Excursion to the Temples of Abydos and Dendera
10. Investigate Abydos Temple
Pharaoh Seti I started something that King Ramses II finished. The building’s design was based on the worship of the first god-kings, but Osiris became the center of Egyptian religion and culture.
Behind the temple was a cemetery, and at first, the Abydos temple was like a chapel for the pharaohs buried there. It is part of a larger cemetery called the Necropolis, which has the tombs of pharaohs from the early dynasty and even before that.
The temple as a whole is made up of all of these parts:
- The first open cut.
- The second open cut.
- The first corridor of hiccup style.
- The second corridor of hiccup style.
- Seven sanctuaries.
- Corridor of Osiris.
- The small corridor of Osiris.
- South wing of the temple.
Nearby is also a smaller building called Osireion. It is thought to have been linked to the main temple and communicated with the large hypogeum, where Osiris rituals were performed.
11. Explore Madinet Habu
It was where Ramses III and his father, Ramses II, and other Egyptian gods were buried.
Most visitors to Madinet Habu best things to do in Luxor Egypt (20th dynasty, 1184-1153 BC) visit the Temple of Ramses III. It is one of the best-preserved temples from the New Kingdom period.
During the 18th dynasty, Hatchepsut and Tuthmose III built a temple to Amun on “Djeme Mound.” In the 9th century, a Coptic temple was built on the second courtyard of the ancient temple, and this continued the history of people living in the area.
The temple was built with the usual tools and methods of the time. It had two pylons, two courtyards, and three hypostyle rooms. It was connected to the Nile by a jetty and canal, and a boat carrying the god was used for religious processions.
Also, The temple complex of Ramses III has a strange entrance because it was based on the citadels that the army went through when it conquered Syria. The tower’s shape is like a migdol, a strong doorway. The mud wall around the compound is 25 feet thick and 60 feet high, making it look like a fortress.
The extraordinary bas-reliefs covering the temple’s outside walls and the colors that look like they were just put on yesterday make it known as one of the most beautiful places for funerals.
The temple is on a plot of about 210 meters long and 300 meters wide. The walls of the Ramses III Temple are covered with art on more than 7,000 square meters.
12. Reveal the Temple of Ramssesum
Visiting some of Luxor’s less well-known temples is an excellent alternative. Sites that are less popular with tourists because they are not well maintained or receive less attention than nearby attractions
The temple that Ramses II built is called the Ramesseum in the Theban Necropolis. When this pharaoh died, he left behind a lot of beautiful buildings. Even though it’s not the most famous or essential temple, it’s still a beautiful place to visit. You’ll do almost all this by yourself, making it even more appealing. Even though it’s not an “essential” stop for tourists, you must go there if you’re in Luxor.
13. Try exploring the Luxor museum
The Luxor Museum on the Nile is the second most visited museum in Egypt after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It has an extensive collection of artifacts from temples and the Theban necropolis.
Some of the best parts of the collection on display are things from Tutankhamun’s tomb, a statue of Tutmosis III, and a reconstructed mural from the Temple of Karnak.
- Check out our Tour To The Museum of Luxor & Mummification Museum
14. Observe the Mummification Museum
Even though the title says otherwise, the most crucial mummy is that of Masaharti, the high priest of Amun-Ra during the XXI dynasty. The focus is on something other than the most gruesome parts of this after-death work, which is necessary to preserve the corpses of the dead and make them eligible for eternal life in the afterlife. Part of the reason is that it has hair and a beard and is still in such good shape.
There are also some other strange things in the Mummification museum. There are mummies of cats and baboons, for example. Or the tools used to remove the brain and other organs from the dead body. Even though you could see everything in this museum in an hour, it is still one of the most exciting places to go in Luxor because of this.
15. Try Hot Air Balloon
The top thing to do in Luxor Egypt we want to do in Luxor is take a balloon ride. They leave every day before dawn.
From what we’ve seen, just taking in the vastness of the surrounding countryside is a beautiful and unique thing to do.
- Don’t miss to check out Balloon Ride Over Luxor at sunrise.
What is the best time to visit Luxor?
Another problem in southern Egypt is the heat! In the country’s north, Cairo has a mild climate and even gets cold at some parts of the year.
However, the south of the country is hot all year round. In summer, temperatures go above 33°C and can reach 45°C. Because of this, summer is the low season in Luxor, as no one can walk around in the sun at this time of year.
Even in the fall and spring, the heat was intense when I traveled. So visiting open places at the beginning or end of the day is advisable. And of course, wear a lot of sunblock and a hat or cap.
Winter is the high season, when the temperature is more pleasant, around 18°C. The city is more crowded during this period, and hotels are more expensive. However, as Egypt is a cheap country, this difference in accommodation values from summer to winter has little impact on the final cost of a trip to Egypt.
Dehydration and heatstroke: Luxor has many outdoor tourist attractions with little shade. Therefore, it is necessary not to get too much sun and get sick.
- Don’t miss to check out our article about the best time to visit Egypt
Luxor is one of the stops you should include in your Egypt itinerary because it is one of the most exciting places in the country. It has many sites, temples, tombs, and museums where you can expand your knowledge about Ancient Egypt. It is one of the starting points of the Nile cruise, and many things to do in Luxor are included in the cruise activities. Check and Book with the best Egypt Day Tours.
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