Luxor, Egypt

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!

We stayed in the Emilio Hotel in the center of town.
This was the view from our hotel room window of the local shops below.
This was the view from our hotel rooftop. You can see the Nile river in the background, and that alley that people are walking on is the newly excavated alley of sphinxes that connects Karnak and Luxor Temples. There is an entire ancient city under the modern-day city of Luxor just waiting to be excavated. I find it mindblowing that we are just now discovering all these ancient wonders from 3000+ years ago.

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.

A row of ram-headed sphinx statues.
Hypostyle Hall where 134 massive columns are arranged in 13 rows.
This was the first temple complex we visited that had the original colors still intact on the columns.

Our tour guide Ahmed explained the hieroglyphics to us.

Group picture at Karnak.

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.

Who would have thought they would find the tombs in this valley of limestone and rocks? I think it’s so unassuming from the outside.
This is what the entrance to the tombs looks like on the outside once they are excavated.
Entrance to King Tut’s tomb.
King Tut’s tomb.
King Tut’s mummy is still inside the tomb.
What the tombs look like on the inside. I was shocked at how deep they went underground. The walls and ceilings were covered with beautiful hieroglyphics.

Group picture in the Valley of Kings.
We swung by the Colossi of Mennon on the way back to the hotel.

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!

Group picture before we started.
There were dozens of balloons in the air carrying around 20-30 people each.

The moon was going down on one side of the valley while the sun was rising in the other direction. So beautiful.

Close to the river, the landscape is lush and green, but as you move farther out it turns dry and desert-like.
I thought it was interesting that the balloons all take off from the same location, but they go down on the opposite side of town in different locations depending on the wind.
I loved the views of the temple complexes from above.

Gallery Visit

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.

The lunch spread.
My plate. A mix of potatoes, squash, cauliflower, and greens.

That’s a wrap on my one-week tour in Egypt. Stay tuned.

Next up: Jordan

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kim Bair says:

    I love your pictures and history… are definitely looking like you are having a wonderful time!!!!!

    1. jessicasabo says:

      Thanks Kim!

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