Welcome to Luxor!

At 247 acres the Karnak temple is one of the largest religious complexes in the world. It was built over a span of 2000 years through the Middle Kingdom (c 2034 – 1650 BC) to the Roman period (c 30 BC – 306 AD) by multiple kings.

I am sitting in our hostel in Luxor listening to the evening prayers being broadcast far and wide. I have grown accustomed to it and find the voices soothing. I hear dogs barking and children playing. I smell wood smoke and hear the crackling of a fire in the street below where neighbours have gathered for warmth as they smoke, sip tea and visit for the evening. The sounds of fast speaking Arabic punctuated with laughter drifts up through the open window slats of our room. People in general seem happy here, in what ancient times was called, Thebes. We often hear smiling children shouting “welcome to Luxor” as we pass by. We have been awed by its sights and I feel incredibly grateful to be here.

The forecourt of the temple was a privileged place of contact between the god and the population who had limited access to the temple. The rams heads represent power,strength and fertility.
The Great Hypostyle hall has 134 columns reaching a height of 15 – 24 metres. It was impossible to get the scope of it in pictures.
The Goddess Maat represents the ethical and moral principle that every Egyptian was expected to follow throughout their daily lives. They were expected to act with honour and truth in matters that involve family, the community, the nation, the environment, and the gods.
Riding to the Valley of the Kings

The west side of the Nile was called the city of death (because the sun sets in the west) and is where all the ancient tombs are. We took the ferry across, rented bicycles for the day and rode a 25 kilometre round trip to the Hatshepsut Temple, the Valley of the Queens, and the Valley of the Kings, which is a grouping of 62 royal tombs (our tickets allowed us into 4 of them). As soon as a Pharaoh came into power he started building the tunnel into what would be his burial chamber where he would be entombed with all of his riches. The belief was that it helped them on their journey to the afterlife. We hired an Egyptologist to guide us through and didn’t regret it. Learning what some of the symbols meant and how to piece together bits of the stories, ceremonies and gods depicted was fascinating. We were blown away by all of it!

A closed tomb entrance in the valley of the kings.
The first tomb we saw was Ramses IX. It was 72 meters long and had recently reopened after being closed for ten years.
A close up of what the walls were chock full of. The colours were made from crushed coloured stone and mixed with egg. None have been repaired or touched in any way.
The walls all along the corridor/tunnel leading down into the tombs were covered in exquisite hieroglyphs and artwork of rituals, gods and ceremony’s.
Even the ceilings were covered.
Walking down into the tomb of Ramses III. He had a 33 year reign, 8 wives (one of whom killed him) and 40 children.
The hieroglyphs and depictions weren’t just painted. Many were carved right into the stone.
Hatshepsut Temple
Street Falafels are a staple

We are off now to start making our way to Jordan.

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