My last stop in Egypt was Thebes (now modern-day Luxor) which ended up being my favorite city in Egypt that we toured. I had no idea this was the location of the Valley of the Kings where tombs of multiple pharaohs and noble figures (from the 16th to 11th century BC) have been excavated and still continue to be excavated to this day. We saw several excavation sites on the day we visited which was really cool. To date around 63 tombs and chambers have been found in the area.
Other highlights from Luxor included a visit to King Tut’s tomb, Karnak Temple Complex, and a hot air balloon ride above the city at sunrise!
Karnak Temple Complex
Construction of this temple complex began as early as 2000 BC and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 along with the rest of the city.
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is where they found the tomb of King Tut in 1922 and his mummy is still located in the tomb for people to visit. He reigned from 1332-1323 BC, from the age of 9-19 years old. He was one of the only kings worshipped as a deity while he was still alive as a pharaoh, and he was known for his immense wealth that was discovered when they found his tomb almost entirely intact in 1922.
All the artifacts and gold discovered in his tomb are now located in the Egyptian Museum that we visited in Cairo (see my post on Cairo). No pictures were allowed inside that exhibit, but you should definitely look up the gold and jewels that were found in his tomb because it’s really something incredible to see.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
We had the option of adding on a hot air balloon ride at sunrise which I was initially hesitant to do since I’m afraid of heights, but I ended up doing it and I’m so glad I did because the views were so amazing! Watching the sunrise over the Nile river was beautiful, and seeing the ruins from above gave a really unique perspective of the city that you would never get otherwise. We literally saw excavation sites and mummies from above!
One afternoon while in Luxor we visited a gallery that specialized in art drawn on papyrus paper. We were given a demonstration of how they make papyrus paper, and then we were free to browse the collections. All the pieces in the gallery were for sale.
Dinner with a local family
Since we all loved our first dinner with the local family in Aswan, when given the option to do another in Luxor we immediately jumped on it. Again, it was some of the best food I had on the trip. Home-cooked meals are just so much better than restaurant meals on the go. This is something unique that Intrepid organizes and if you were traveling solo I don’t know if you would get to have an experience like this.
That’s a wrap on my one-week tour in Egypt. Stay tuned.
Next up: Jordan