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Once the center of the ancient world, Luxor is the most important destination for any visitor interested in ancient Egyptian history.  This outdoor museum has the largest collection of historical monuments in Egypt, distributed throughout the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak north of Luxor, and Thebes on the west side of the Nile.



  Karnak Temple

Karnak is the home of the god Amon who was an insignificant local god until the 12th dynasty when Thebes became the capital of Egypt. He was represented in his original state as a goose and later as a ram, at the height of his power he was shown as a human with a head dress of feathers - all that remained of the goose.
Dedicated to the Theben triad of Amon, Mut and Khonsu. It is the mother of all religious buildings, the largest ever made and a place of pilgrimage for nearly 4,000 years.

 It covers about 200 acres 1.5km by 0.8km.  The area of the sacred enclosure of Amon alone is 61 acres and would hold ten average European cathedrals. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big; St Peter's, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its walls. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast sacred lake            

  Luxor Temple


The Temple of Luxor was built predominately by Amenhotep II and Ramses II. The Temple was the focal point for rituals and festivals. One of the most important festivals celebrated there was the festival of Opet. During the 18th dynasty the festival lasted for a period of 11 days but by the 20th dynasty it lasted 27 days. The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the temple of Luxor. By the late 18th Dynasty the journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River.  The Temple of Luxor has a great pylon with carved episodes from the Battle of Kadesh when Ramses defeated the Hittites. There is the one red granite obelisk (a twin one is now at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
At the south end of the Temple of Luxor was an additional courtyard constructed by Ramses II during the 19th dynasty. This great court is surrounded with papyrus bud capital columns. Within this court is the minaret from the mosque of Abu'l Haggag who was a Sufi sheikh. Although Abu'l Haggag died in 1243, the mosque dates to the 19th century
The court of Amenhotep II was built by Amenhotep II, and added to by Tutankhamen and Horemheb. The Colonnade consists of 14 columns with papyrus capitals. At the entrance are two statues bearing the name Ramses II but with the features of Tutankhamen. The east and west side of the court has well preserved double rows of papyrus columns with bud capitals.
The Hypostyle Hall had four rows of eight such columns. The relief's of Amenhotep II were whitewashed and painted over in the 3rd or 4th century. The stucco is crumbling, and just recently, beginning to show the relief's underneath. The second antechamber has four columns (versus eight in the first antechamber) and relief's of Amenhotep II offering incense to Amun.

  Dendara Temple


While approaching the Temple of Dendara you will come upon two Roman fountains that end at a massive gateway. The enclosure walls are made of mud brick and date back to the Roman era. Inside the walls lie the temple with two birth houses, a Coptic Basilica, a sanatorium, a sacred lake and a temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis. Pepi I from the Old Kingdom rebuilt the temple and Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Ramses II and III added to it along with the Greeks, Romans and Ptolemies

The Valley of the Artisans


The valley of the Necropolis workers is located far away from Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Valley of the Nobles.  The artisans of the New Kingdom  consisted of stone workers, engravers, quarrymen and artists.  They lived in a village of which today remains can be seen.
Because of their great skill the workers built their own personal tombs which were always beautifully decorated with paintings on the walls and ceilings.  One such tomb is that of Sennedjem where paintings depict husband and wife worshiping the gods of the After-life.

  The Valley of the Kings Luxor


The king's formal names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his images and statues. Beginning with the 18th Dynasty and ending with the 20th, the kings abandoned Memphis and begun building their tombs in Thebes. Most tombs were cut into the limestone and constructed with three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber. These catacombs were harder to rob and were easily concealed. Construction usually lasted six years, and texts in the tombs are from the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Gates and the Book of the Underworld.
Nearly all the tombs were robbed.  Luckily, the priests collected and hid some of the mummies which have survived until now.  Among these are the mummies of Hatshepsut, Thuthmosis III and the mummy of Ramses II.

In 1922 through the efforts of Sir Howard Carter,  one tomb was discovered totally intact, that of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen.  This was the most exciting and richest find ever made in Egypt.  2500 articles have been found in the tomb.  Made of gold, ivory, silver, alabaster, and wood, precious stones were inlaid into objects.  Today, they occupy a special room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The following tombs can be found there:

-    Ramses IV
-    Ramses IX
-    Ramses IV
-    Ramses IX
-    Merneptah
-    Ramses VI
-    Ramses III
-    Seti I
-    Tuthmosis III
-    Amenhotep II
-    Horemheb
-    Tutankhamu

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