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 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.