Touring Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple in Egypt.
Many of Luxor's tombs and temples are on the West Bank of the Nile but Luxor has two magnificent temples on it's East Bank which must not be missed - Karnak Temple and the Temple of Luxor.
Below is a visitor guide with quite a photographs about touring Egypt's totally impressive Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt. There are quite a few temple sites in and around this part of ancient Egypt to be visited - for instance the Medinat Habu Temple of Ramses III is fantastic - but Karnak Temple is really something else
again. We enjoyed all of our sightseeing around the various temples but do think that we should have visited Karnak last of all because it simply over-shadows anything else. Karnak Temple is around 3kms from Luxor so easily reached from the centre of the city either by walking along the paved area
beside The Nile or by a quick fairly inexpensive taxi ride or even by caleche. Entry into the site cost when we visited it was 45LE - even in February it was really hot inside
the complex so it is really worth taking plenty of water with you. In fact the site at Karnak is so large that you can easily spend a whole day looking around so you may wish to consider even take some food with you too.
The First Pylon
First Pylon with the row of Sphynx
Mummiform figures of the King as Osiris
Ramses II with one of his daughters
Hieroglyphs can be seen everywhere
at Karnak Temple.
First Pylon of the Temple of Khonsu
Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Khonsu
At the entrance to Karnak Temple you can easily get a guide to take you round but we prefer just to wander around such sites simply enjoying it
all and taking our photographs. There are several books available which give you lots of information and descriptions - in particular one called
"The Illustrated Guide to Luxor, Tombs, Temples and Museums" - this book by Kent R. Weeks is listed as ISBN 977-424-800-7 but from what we can see
it may be that you can only buy it in the Middle East - we got ours in a backstreet shope in Luxor.
Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Khonsu
Painted wall relief
7th Pylon with remains of statues
The Sacred Lake
at Karnak Temple
Temple of Ramses II
Temple of Thutmes III
The Obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut
Sandstone Columns of the Hypostyle Hall
Massive columns supported the roof of the Hypostyle Hall
Criosphinxes have a lion's body with the head of a ram
Compared to the massive Karnak complex mentioned above Luxor Temple seems somewhat small - in hindsight we should have visited Karnak last of all on our sightseeing because it just dwarfs all the other temple sights. However we certainly did enjoy walking round Luxor's Temple - it really is very impressive in it's own right.
The entrance to the Temple of Luxor is located fairly near to the Winter Palace, about halfway along the paved area beside The Nile. If you
wish you can have a guide to take you round and explain everything - one will certainly try and attach himself to you as soon as you enter the site,
however in our case we just like wandering around, being ever more impressed with the sheer side of the pillars and the beauty of the
drawings and taking our photographs of it all.
It is of course useful to have some information about what you are seeing and we think one book is particularly good -
"The Illustrated Guide to Luxor, Tombs, Temples and Museums" by Kent R. Weeks is listed as ISBN 977-424-800-7. It is possible that this
book can only be purchased in the Middle East - we got ours at a small Luxor bookshop for 200LE (after a bit of haggling of course).
As would be expected at such maignifcent sites there are plenty of coach trips which have Luxor Temple on their itinerary and the groups being led around can make it pretty busy, however most of these seem to be gone by around midday and the area becomes quieter with mostly just us "do it yourselfers" around, then it all starts getting busy again around 3 o'clock.
There are a few sphynx wandering around which have been excavated on the site - some of these sphynx's are damaged but there are a few fairly intact ones to be found. Originally a thousand ram-headed Spynx lined the 2.5km long causeway between Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple - this route was once used for religious processions between the two Temples.
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