While it sits a significant distance South of Cairo (almost 700km!), the region has experienced a severe drop in visitor numbers, affecting the livelihoods of those dependent on tourism. Nahla, one of our most popular guides in the Luxor region, invites travelers to return once more to this ancient and compelling land. And know that when you come, you’ll have far fewer crowds to contend with than people have experienced in the past!
Here are Nahla’s suggestions of the Top Five Tours to do while you’re in Luxor (Thebes).
1. Karnak & Luxor Temple half-day tour
Karnak is the biggest temple complex in the world, covering an area of 100 hectares and there is nowhere more impressive to the first-time visitor. Much of it has been restored during the last century. In ancient times, Karnak was known as Ipet-isut, 'The most select of places'. When the Arabs invaded Egypt they used to call it “the Khawarnak” meaning “the fortress” and the word has been mis-pronounced into modern Karnak. Karnak is connected to Luxor Temple by the 3 km avenue of Sphinxes.
2. The Valley of the Kings, Queens half day tour
The Valley of the Kings where the Pharaohs of the new kingdom were buried in tombs cuts through the limestone mountains. The Valley contains 62 known tombs (numbered KV1-62) but only 24 of them contained royal burials, many others being empty, undecorated, or belonging to privileged high-status officials of Thebes. Many of the queens of the New Kingdom were buried in a separate valley known as the Valley of the Queens, where the royal children were buried with their queen mothers. You must not miss the Temple of Hachepsuit, which surpassed anything which had been built before, both in its architecture and its beautiful carved reliefs.
3. Nobles, Artisans Tombs, and Ramasses
This Tour is designed for the tourist interested in exploring the real life of both ancient Egypt and its ancient people. When you visit The Artisans tombs (the tomb-builders village - 1500BC) you will come out with one conclusion: mankind has not changed much in 3000 years! These tombs are rich in decoration of their daily life activities and interests, while the Nobles’ tombs reflect the spoiled wild life of the elite in ancient Egypt. The Ramaseum Temple is evidence of the incredible engineering of the Ramasses II era (1300).
4. Tour to Hathor Temple in Dendera
Dendera is a huge temple built for the worship of the female goddess Hathor, the mistress of love, music and motherhood. It is the most intact temple in the world, dating back to 180BC. This temple is famous for its huge scaled outlets and unique rare scenes never found anywhere else. If you are a regular visitor to Egypt who has never been to Dendera, or a first-time visitor, definitely visit! It will enrich your soul with the beautiful and intact stories depicted on its enormous walls. Queen Cleopatra commemorated her legendary love story here, and many rare astronomical and zodiac scenes are also on display.
5. The Museum of Luxor and the Mummification Museum
Luxor Museum houses a unique assortment of the best quality artworks from the Predynastic Period to the Islamic Epoch. Among the most extraordinary exhibits of the museum are the relics and artefacts that were originally found in the tomb of the illustrious Tutankhamen, and the assortment of twenty-six, extraordinarily well preserved New Kingdom sculptures that were discovered buried in a hidden storage space adjacent to Luxor Temple in 1989.
The Mummification Museum in the city of Luxor is one of the finest sites to learn about the strange secrets of the pharaohs. The ancient mummification procedure of Egyptians has inspired awe of our people throughout the world. The Mummification Museum displays the various substances used in mummification including the natron salt.
Back in September, Nahla wrote about the best places to try local cuisine while in Luxor. Check it out, here: Nahla's Restaurant Suggestions in Luxor.