Luxor (Arabic: أَلْأُقْصُر Al 'Uqṣur) the name of "Luxor" means "Palaces" and it is the premier travel destination in Upper (southern) Egypt and the Nile Valley. The dynastic and religious capital of Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Egypt Luxor has much for travellers to enjoy: vast temples ancient royal tombs spectacular desert and river scenery and a bustling modern life.
Although a relatively small town by Egyptian population standards Luxor is quite extensive and is best divided up into several 'districts' or areas that group the main attractions on their respective sides of the river Nile:
The old capital of Egypt Thebes was on the West bank of the Nile. That is where most of the ruins and tombs are.
The modern city of Luxor is on the East bank. That area has the train and bus stations most of the hotels and restaurants some museums tourist shops and so on. Most visitors (and almost all tour groups) stay on the East bank and travel across for the tourist sites but in recent years there has been an increase in hotels on the West bank and many independent travellers stay there.
Luxor has a hot-desert climate. The city is one of the driest sunniest and hottest (during summertime) cities in the world. Rainfall doesn't occur every year about 1mm on average. Luxor features cool winters with mild days but cold nights so that the average January temperature is 13.8°C (56.8°F). Lows during nighttime are around 5°C (41°F) and highs around noon are about 24°C (75°F) resulting to very large diurnal temperature variations. Even in the coldest nights when the temperature is near freezing during the day there may be temperatures up to 25°C (77°F). Summers are scorchingly hot with an average temperature in July of 32.3°C (90.1°F). During daytime temperatures exceed 40°C (104°F) but nights still remain pleasant (20-25°C or 68-77°F). The highest and lowest temperature ever recorded is 48.5°C (119.3°F) and -1°C (30°F) prespectively while temperatures above 30°C (86°F) have occured in all months of the year and temperatures above 40°C (104°F) have occured from March to October.
The Luxor temple
The Luxor temple was dedicated to the god Amon Ra and his wife goddess Mut and was built by Amenhotep lll and Ramses ll. From the beginning there where two obelisks in front of the temple but today there is just one of them left. The other one stands on Place de la Concorde in Paris. The temple once was connected with the Karnak temple through a long avenue made of sphinxes. A part of the avenue is visible today and excavations are ongoing.
The Karnak temple is considered to be one of the most significant building projects of former Egypt.
As good as all the Pharaohs ever since the 12th dynasty until the end of the Pharaohs has been building on enlarged and embellished this magnificent facility for over 2000 years. Most amazing is hypostyle hallway. With its huge measurements the hall is considered as one of the most magnificent creations ever made on earth with its 134 sandstone columns. In the temple there is among other things the biggest obelisks in the world from the time of Queen Hatshepsut’s.
Western Luxor is considered as one of the worlds biggest outside museum. Here is the Valley of the Kings with about 60 graves including Tut Ankh Amons all with thousands of years of wall paintings. The old Pharaohs viewed the course of life the same as the course of the sun. That’s why they chose Valley of the Kings in the western desert as a graveyard where the sun sets. During the Pharaonic period most of the tombs were looted but during modern archaeological excavations the most famous tomb Tut Ankh Amon was found untouched in 1922 by Howard Carter. Other tombs were also found in the Valley of the Queens where queens princes and princesses were buried. Ramses ll wife Nefertaris grave is considered to be one of the most beautiful and most well preserved. In yet another valley on the west bank at al Qurna officers were buried in beautiful graves. In the town of the workers Deir el Medina you can see where the people who were digging the huge graves lived and were buried. The graves were marked with 2 meter high pyramids and were decorated with subjects borrowed from the graves of the King’s.
The death temple
On the west bank there is also death temples. The most fascinating temple is Hatshepsut’s temple emerging from the red rocks of the three terraces. Hatshepsut was the pharaoh woman which ruled Egypt for more than 20 years. In her temple there are detailed fascinating and unique descriptions about her journeys to the country Punt today’s Somalia. Her Stepson and successor Thutmosis III dismissed her power and destroyed many of her pictures and replaced them with his own. Ramses II death temple Ramesseum with the largest granite statue in the world with 1000 ton is also here. The statue surely represents Ramses II and lies on the ground in peaces after an earthquake. Ramses III death temple is named Medinet Habu. It is an interesting temple with very deeply carved inscriptions. This to avoid what many before him experienced that the inscriptions were destroyed by successors. The temple was built like a fortress when his rule was full of war against the Phoenicians Libyans and Nubians. It is one of the most preserved temples with many beautiful paintings where the colors usually remain.