Sunday Spotlight – Luxor, Egypt
If the pyramids at Giza, near Cairo, and its amazing museum leave you wanting more history, more grandeur, more impressive statues and heck, more columns whilst you’re at it, then when in Egypt, head down to Luxor. A long train ride from Cairo, or a few relaxing and amazing days in a felucca along the Nile from southern Aswan, there’s Luxor, near the Valleys of the Kings and the Queens, the imposing Karnak Temple, all with a by-the-Nile location, and waiting for tourists.
Of course, I went years and years ago. All my photos are actually scanned in. I stayed in a four-bed dorm room for $4 a night with air conditioning. It was called the Happy Land Hotel, and yes it appears to still exist! It was very clean, the cleanest place I stayed in when in Egypt. That should be taken with a grain of salt – most of the other places were absolutely filthy!
Modern day Luxor is close enough to ancient Thebes, one of the ancient world’s most well-known cities. In as much as, ‘I’ve heard of that but know nothing about it’ – if you know what I mean. I’ve taken a bit from what I wrote back in the day about the three main attractions in and around Luxor. That’s the Karnak Temple, and the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
I took a tour to the two valleys, and before I go into their experiences, I thought I’d share with you this photo of the Colossi of Memnon – they are 18 metres high, weigh over 700 tonnes and date from 1350 BC. Many tours of the region are available, and these dudes are a compulsory stop! Also, this is where I changed films in my camera and left the one I took out there to melt away into the stone from the sun and 38 degree heat. I still regret it to this day,
Ok here’s that summary – I found this in an old word document I must have written 15 years ago! Enjoy!
VALLEY OF THE KINGS
The valley is set in the desert well out on the west bank. Shops nearby will try to sell you anything at astronomical prices, like food and drink from the only cafe there. For one Egyptian pound a completely out of place toy train drives tourists the 300 metres or so to the tombs which are the feature of the Valley of the Kings.
But the tombs are definitely worth more than just a brief look. Admittedly you can’t gauge what they were originally like with all the ‘treasures’ now in the Egyptian museum and other museums across the globe, but never the less the carvings and paintings on the walls are amazing and you just keep reminding yourself that the tombs are over 3,500 years old.
The general admission ticket gets you into the 3 tombs that are reputedly the best – Rameses IV, VI & I. Rameses I is the most fascinating – it is far deeper than the others and the coffin is still in place. One disappointing thing with this tomb is modern day graffiti on one of the entrance walls.
VALLEY OF THE QUEENS
Obviously similar to the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens had only two tombs open to the public apart from the tomb of Nefertiti which cost E£100 (1999 price!) and they only let 150 people in a day for a maximum of ten minutes. (NB I can’t confirm this is still true in 1999)
The most amazing thing about the tombs here is the quality of the original paintwork. The colours and quality of it is breathtaking and almost unbelievable for 3,500 years old. You might say it looked like ten years old. In one tomb you find the preserved skeleton of a fetus, which is quite astonishing indeed.
This temple was the most impressive and mind blowing temple I’ve seen so far since I left Melbourne. The pillars are awesome, and huge. I can not, as with most things I’ve seen in Egypt, adequately describe this temple – it was built over a period of 1500 years and was the main temple in Egypt. Pharaohs would add on to it as time passed and it occupies a massive amount of space and is an excellent example of the dynasties and styles that it survived.
Thanks for reading again, and I hope you enjoyed this. It was inetersting for me and I was very happy to find this information in my old files! May the Journey Never End!