My Cruise parked at the serene banks of Luxor on the third day and we were scheduled to wait there for another 24 hours while new passengers joined the cruise and the older ones from Aswan disembarked from the ship. Luxor, an ancient, Egyptian city was the capital of Upper Egypt during the reign of the New Kingdom (1600 BC -1100 BC). Luxor is also known to be the home of the world’s biggest open air museum due to the ruins of many temple complexes around the famous Karnak temple. I would be staying in Luxor for two full days as the city had a lot to offer and I didn’t want to miss out on any of it. The tour was divided into two parts; the West and the East Bank tours situated on either side of the Nile River. In this post, I will be talking about the West Bank tour and the East Bank tour shall be described in my upcoming blog post.
Valley of the Kings:
The Valley of the Kings is a historical gem and houses impeccable specimens of ancient Egyptian art, culture and rituals all in one place. The Valley of the Kings was constructed during the New Kingdom. The tombs of all the Pharaohs (Kings) were erected here and there is a total of sixty-two tombs in the valley. A 100 LE ticket allows one to visit up to three tombs. We visited the tombs of Ramses II, IV and IVth. The tomb of Ramses II, the longest ruler of the New Kingdom is the most popular attraction among all others. Most of the ruins in Luxor have statues and other artefacts built to honour the memory and reign of Ramses II. His tomb had been weathered down the centuries and has been under the restoration process for a while. Another famous tomb in the Valley was the tomb of Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen was famous not only because he was the youngest King of Egypt but also because his tomb was found to be in the best condition during its excavation, with his treasures still intact. All of the other tombs and their treasures had been looted down the centuries. Tutankhamen’s tomb is an empty casket as the treasure has been moved to the first floor of the Cairo museum for public viewing. Due to the delicacy of the paintings and other such restrictions, photography is restricted at the Valley of the Kings. I couldn’t take any pictures in there but what I saw made me feel like I had been transported back in the Egyptian Civilisation or straight into the sets of the Mummy movies. Haha!
The Al-Deir El- Bahari Temple:
In the dominantly patriarchal society of ancient Egypt, there was only one Queen who ruled the Kingdom and she was the great Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the only child of King Thutmose I and ascended the throne upon his death. Due to the restrictions on women as rulers, she had to act and dress like a man and even wear a fake beard. This is the only temple in Egypt that is built on three levels. A lot of restoration work has been done on the temple, which has led to the gradual loss of originality and artworks, especially on the first floor walls. Her images had been allegedly wiped out by her step son who murdered her and tried to eradicate her entire existence. I am guessing that he wasn’t too smart as he did a terrible job removing her images of the wall.
The Habu Temple:
Another important ancient temple that held a high importance during the New Kingdom was the Habu Temple. This temple played an important role during the war against the sea people during the reign of Ramesses III. The temple had a huge compound with innumerable pillars and exquisite paintings on the ceiling which made it look grandiose. It was our third enormous temple for the day and we were tired of walking around. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I couldn’t fully enjoy the tour of the temple because of its vastness and my weary state. In spite of all that, it was a wonderful experience and makes for a good addition to this list.
At just a 15-minutesshort banana boat ride away from the West Bank of the River Nile, lies a quiet little island, famous for its banana cultivation. Apart from banana farming, the island has a nice organic café, where one can sit and spend some quality time after a long day in the city. I spent the rest of my afternoon there,watching the crocodiles laze around while munching on tasty banana starters.