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Exploring History in Luxor

We were determined to leave the busy and chaotic city of Cairo and to see Egypt in a different light, a lesser light. Luxor is South of Cairo and an hour plane ride away or a very lengthy train. The city sits on the Nile River, the longest river in the world, which is heavily populated with alligators. We were told by a local that these critters should not be feared, which for me was a shocking surprise. The locals even let children play in the long grass that sit’s alongside the Nile!

Valley of the Kings

Once upon a time, Luxor was the capital of Egypt and was once named the city of Thebes. Luxor is home to the Valley of the Kings, a valley in the desert like mountains that holds hundreds of tombs. And the most surreal thing about the Valley of the Kings, is that it is still being excavated today and each day something new is found. It’s exhilarating to think, that there is still so much more about Ancient Egypt to discover, Egyptians and archeologists suggest that there could be new phenomenons still to uncover. Today, the area is under extensive exploration and it is predicted that there is still amazing tombs to uncover which will give us more in-depth knowledge and more insight into the life of Ancient Egyptians.

Luxor, is also the resting place of Tutankhamun, the greatest boy pharaoh of all time and someone I had to lay my eyes on. The Valley of the Kings is recommended to be done on a group or private tour, this way you are able to gain knowledge of the tombs you are going to enter and what different symbols mean in each of the tombs. The longer the passage to the chambers, the longer the individuals life was. This was because as soon as someone was born, workers would begin building their tomb and stop building the passage once they died and began on the chambers instead. Tutankhamuns passage was the shortest one I walked in, this was due to the fact that he died at the age of 17/18 years old.

As I was walking through the passage of Tutankhamuns tombs, symbols and images were engraved with colour on the surrounding stone walls. Photography was banned within the Valley of the Kings, but here below is a photograph of the passage of Tutankhamuns tomb taken by Jakub Kyncl. Around 10 years ago, these tombs were a lot more accessible, with photography permitted and large amounts of people were aloud in at a time. Luckily for me, I was able to walk inside King Tuts tomb, as this year (2017) it will be closed off to the public for good as the tomb is deteriorating and becoming harder to preserve. An exact replica will be available for tourists to gallivant about.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple is one of the most preserved Ancient Egyptian monuments, dedicated to The King of the Gods, Amun. The temple was built by several figures throughout Ancient Egypt, firstly began construction under the rule of Amenhotep III and finished construction by Tutankhamun, Horemheb and Rameses II. Walking through temples where such powerful figures had walked in the past, reading about their accomplished lives, is when time truly stands still.

Luxor Temple had been buried for over 1000 years under the streets of the city, it was a monument lost in time and the ever changing society. The Temple was discovered by workers when a mosque was due to be built over the top, suddenly a new piece of evidence to a crucial time in history, a new piece of evidence to help us understand their lives and customs, was uncovered.

The Nile River

The Nile River remains still today a main source of supply for Egyptians, and was especially looked upon for survival back in the times of Ancient Egypt. The river was used, and still continues to be used for, water, transportation, food and a place to bathe. The most important thing about the Nile River, was when the floods would go down, leaving rich soil for the locals to plant seeds to be able to produce crops.

This was ultimately the most important thing to the Egyptians, as most of the country is desert and rainfall is almost non-existent, having this fertile land was what fed the Egyptians and gave jobs to farmers. The Nile also was a large influence on where people in Egypt settled and decided to build up their communities. Giza and Cairo, two major cities in Egypt, both sit along side the Nile River, keeping food and water accessible all year round.

Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

This temple is an ancient funerary shrine dedicated to the Queen, Hatshepsut and it known as the closest development that ancient buildings came to modern design. Not only did this temple take 15 years to complete, but the reign of Hatshepsut (22 years) is known as one of the most prosperous reigns as some of the most major accomplishments were done through her time as Queen. Being a female Pharaoh defied all odds, even more so having a temple built in her name was close to unheard of for a Queen in Ancient Egyptian times.

Egypt is a country where history walks around every corner and comes to life through exploring and walking where the greats had once walked. Being in Egypt and learning about such a prominent time in history was beyond what I could have imagined, all the books I had read and all the things that I have learnt, where in front of me and I was living it.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen
    July 20, 2017 at 4:07 am

    I’m a huge history geek who was obsessed with Egyptian history. I really can’t wait to visit Luxor for myself. I’m really sad to hear that they’re closing off the Tomb before I can go! Ugh, that sucks, but it’s good to know.

  • Reply
    Candy
    July 20, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I have always been fascinated by Egypt. How interesting that the people are not afraid of the alligators! I went to college in Florida and I was always afraid of the alligators because they are not friendly…

  • Reply
    Fatimah
    July 20, 2017 at 6:38 am

    How majestic and beautiful! Yoi habe captured the beauty of it…

    It is on the bucketlist…one day soon

  • Reply
    Jamie
    July 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Interesting they will need to close King Tut’s tomb due to deterioration. I’m glad I got to see it 30 years ago. We were also allowed to photograph anywhere. Your article provides a lot of information and would be helpful for anyone planning to visit.

  • Reply
    Nina Danielle
    July 20, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    The detail in the Luxor temple is astounding! I love stories like that, where the go to build and discover temples and old places beneath the earth. That is so cool!

  • Reply
    Pia
    July 20, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Hatschepsut was always my favorite of all the pharaos, kings and queens. The story of her is so inspiring to me. Especially, her temple is on my list of places I want to visit. Thanks for the great article and descriptions. The pictures, the one from inside the temple in particular are amazing.

    • Reply
      Exploring Wanderland
      July 21, 2017 at 3:59 am

      Thank you so much, she is an inspiration to me also, a women of her time that was so powerful, truly is amazing that she had such power over people as women weren’t seen as strong!

  • Reply
    Thirty30Courtney
    July 20, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    While a lot of my friends want to visit Cairo, I have my eyes set on Luxor. My heart hurts that I potentially might not be able to visit King Tut as I’ve loved learning about Egypt since I was a little girl. You have reaffirmed my desire to get to Egypt, as it is in my Top 3 countries on my bucket list.

    • Reply
      Exploring Wanderland
      July 21, 2017 at 4:00 am

      Luxor is much more calm and relaxed than Cairo that’s for sure, but Cairo has the pyramids so if I were you I would try and do both 🙂 very easy to get the plane from each city!

  • Reply
    Kate
    July 21, 2017 at 3:06 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt. Such fascinating history! The temples look so intriguing and I can only imagine what it’s like to tour them where such incredible historical figures have also walked. I’m absolutely saving this article for when I finally get to visit!

    • Reply
      Exploring Wanderland
      July 21, 2017 at 4:02 am

      It was amazing to walk where all these powerful figures had walked, you will truly love it, I was emotional nearly the entire trip. Thank you for saving it 🙂 I hope it was helpful

  • Reply
    Megan
    July 21, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Ah SO jealous! I studied archaeology at university and even did a massive project on Hatshepsuts mortuary temple (she has been a hero of mine since I was a little girl). Absolutely loved this post, this is at the very top of my bucket list – complete life goal to get to Luxor. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    July 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

    This contains some really useful information! I would love to see this in person someday. You look so cute and tiny in all the photos compared to the structures behind you 🙂

    • Reply
      Exploring Wanderland
      July 21, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      You definitely should make the effort one day to go 🙂 thank you everyone there is super oversized, pretty amazing!

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