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The Pharaohs’ Legendary Capital

Ancient Shrines

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At the Karnak Temple

At the Karnak Temple

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We chose two bus tours during our stay: Luxor and Cairo. They turned out to be tiresome night trips, but we enjoyed them a lot.
We had heard before that if you had not visited Luxor, the center of many ancient monuments, you could consider that you had not been to Egypt at all.
Karnak Temple, Tutankhamun's tomb, Queen Hatshepsut's memorial temple and many other cultural monuments do not leave anyone indifferent. Luxor contains the lion's share of monuments from the period of the New Egyptian Kingdom.
Luxor received its Arabic name Al-Uqsor (“palaces”) from conquerors, who had no idea about the origin of the unique monuments. The city of Thebes, as the Greek called it, or Wasset, as the Egyptians themselves called it, became the cradle of the Egyptian civilization. This is where a third of the country's oldest monuments are located. Therefore, it is a top place for a visitor indeed.

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At the Karnak Temple

At the Karnak Temple

Luxor, the legendary capital of the pharaohs, is one of the world’s oldest cities. It the past, it was the capital of the Egyptian kingdom. In ancient times it was called Thebes. Now the city can be visited by everyone. We thought it was especially convenient to pay a visit to Luxor while on holiday in Hurghada area, even though Luxor is located 200 miles from our resort place, and a visit of Luxor meant a night trip for us.

To the restaurant across the Nile

To the restaurant across the Nile

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The Nile River divides the city into two parts. In ancient times, the eastern bank was the place where the majestic palaces of the pharaohs were built - it was here that they lived and prayed to their gods. The western bank of the Nile is the city of the dead, where burial temples and tombs were erected for the Egyptian kings. Moreover, the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings, and their wives and children in the Valley of the Queens. Numerous tombs of the valleys have been found by archaeologists, and some can even be viewed.

At the Karnak Temple

At the Karnak Temple

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The Temple of Karnak is divided into three parts:

  1. the first part is dedicated to the Sun god Amun-Ra;
  2. the second part is dedicated to his wife, Queen Mut;
  3. the third part is dedicated to their son Honus, who was a lunar deity.
The construction of this famous ancient monument began in the 20th century B.C. Practically every pharaoh considered it his duty to make his own contribution to the construction of the temple of Karnak. As a result, its construction took a total of about thirteen centuries.
Today, this huge complex consists of thirty-three halls and temples and is a unique open-air museum. This open-air museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the entrance, visitors can see a very unique Alley of Rams, which connects the temple of Karnak with the famous Luxor Temple.

At the Karnak Temple

At the Karnak Temple

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Our guide explained that these rams mean sphinxes with sheep's heads, which are considered incarnations of God Amon, in whose honor the beautiful temple of Karnak was built.
Ancient Egyptian writings and drawings are preserved on the powerful ancient walls. I hope it will be soon possible to decipher their exact meaning. Images of various animals, gods and symbols adorn almost every wall of the Karnak Temple!
Karnak Temple is the best-preserved temple of the City of the Living. Karnak means "Luxurious Palace" in Arabic. This temple is one of the greatest architectural creations of the ancient world. Each of the pharaohs who were in power improved this place. So, Ramses II built his own statue, which stands at the entrance. The temple was built over two thousand years. The most amazing is the "labyrinth" of 134 columns, each of them is more than 20 meters high - it is about the same as an 8-storey building. Some of the columns have hieroglyphs on which the paint is still preserved. Moreover, their age reaches three thousand years.

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At the Karnak Temple_the statue of Ramses II

Karnak Temple is a huge complex of ancient shrines that are interconnected. The central complex, dedicated to Amon the Sun god, has an area of about 30 hectares. In addition to it, there is also the sanctuary of Mut the Sky Goddess, Montu the God of war and several smaller chapels with hieroglyphs that depict various events.

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In ancient times, the temple complex in Karnak was connected by an alley with another shrine - the Luxor Temple. Its partially preserved building can be viewed today. But the front path of the pharaohs was less fortunate - it was swallowed up by the modern city. As a reference to the alley, archaeologists have found sculptures of sphinxes that adorned the path between the temples.

The Sacred Scarab Beetle statue at Karnak Temple

The Sacred Scarab Beetle statue at Karnak Temple

The scarab beetle statue in Karnak Temple is most famous statue of an insect. It stands in Luxor, once the capital of Egypt. On his back, you can see the sign symbolizing the unification of everything earthly and heavenly. This statue of the sacred scarab beetle is still very popular among tourists. According to our tour guide, the scarab beetle is such a revered insect in Egypt that all its images are considered to be endowed with a lot of good energy. A scarab moving with a ball of dung, from east to west, personified the movement of the Sun. Perhaps that is why the owner of an amulet with a scarab will always have good fortune.

We saw the visitors keeping the tradition of walking around the statue of the Sacred Scarab. The statue is known from the day of its appearance on Egyptian soil as a symbol of good luck. An ancient legend claims that it is possible to get what you want through the ritual at the monument. You only have to focus on your desires and walk around the statue seven times in a circle, but counterclockwise. Therefore, as our guide explained, upon their arrival in Luxor, travelers gladly walk around the monument hoping for the help of unknown higher powers. We were also taken to Hatshepsut Memorial located in the Valley of the Kings.

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Visiting the Valley of the Kings

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After visiting all those ancient shrines, we were taken to what they called Hatshepsut Museum, which, in fact, turned out to be another store, where they sold numerous souvenirs made of stone and clay.

Hatshepsut Museum

Hatshepsut Museum


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Posted by Vic_IV 14:46 Archived in Egypt Tagged temple luxor karnak

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Comments

How interesting! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Live and learn, as always...

by Vic_IV

thank you for taking me back into time when I visited the temples for the first time. It really left a strong impression behind and seeing the pictures again, it did once again! Nice review!

by Ils1976

Thank you for reading and commenting, Ils! Stay safe!:-)

by Vic_IV

I'm so glad you managed to visit Luxor and Karnak, I found both places absolutely fascinating. This must have been a tiring tour but so worth doing! But yes, in Egypt as in many other places the tour always ends in the gift shop ;)

by ToonSarah

Sarah, it was a privilege for us to be able to pay a visit there...The impressions we got are simply unforgettable...

by Vic_IV

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