"Just home from Egypt with Ted! Absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend the trip. Would do it again with Ted, in a heartbeat." Eve, Oct 2023​

Booking for the GnT Egypt Experience November 2024 tour is open – limited places

Includes a day at the Grand Egyptian Museum

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

Thebes, capital city of the New Kingdom pharaohs. Luxor, as it is now known, is much cleaner than some of the otherplaces we have been to and has an air of “holiday” about it. The hotel is situated on the main road that runs parrallel with the river and is fairly close to the main Luxor Temple site.

As nothing was scheduled I set out with a small group of followers to visit the Luxor museum, about a half hour walk downriver. The museum is small but holds many really interesting pieces, notably the Stela of Ahmose, (1st king of the 18th dynasty) and relates his battles to expel the Hyksos invaders from Egypt. This is one of the pieces I had come here to see as it sets the scene for what was to occur later in the 18th dynasty. Very good stuff. A stela is usually a large stone tablet carrying the story of a battle or other accomplishments of the king. This particular king’s mummyis also in the museum.

Much beautiful statuary from the new kingdom and one can only marvel at the precision involved in carving such fine detail in granite and diorite (apparently with copper chisels – I say nothing). There is also a good display of weapons – this is also important as it was these new technologies brought by the Hyksos invaders that enabled Egypt to rebuild its empire during the New Kingdom.

Before Akhenaten left Thebes for Akhetaten he built a temple to the Aten at Luxor which was subsequently demolished after his death, however the rubble was used as filler material in other buildings and it has been possible to piece together certain pieces. Upstairs in the museum, flanked by massive statues, is displayed the Wall of Akhenaten. A massive jigsaw puzzle, with many missing pieces, of smashed tiles that have been carefully put back together to show scenes of life under the “heretic”king. This is the kind of stuff I came here for. It has been delightful watching othermembers of the group getting caught up in this story and we have spent many hours talking, – well, more me talking -about the real history of this time and not Hollywood/history’s version. There have, indeed, been some deep conversations.

Stopping at almost each exhibit and doing my best to read names and give explanations as to what was going on stretched our short vist to a small museum into a two hour session.
Left in search of lunch.

Came unexpectedly across the Avenue of Sphinxes. This is an ongoing archaeological excavation that aims to resore the full 3 kilometre sphinx-lined avenue that joins Luxor Temple with the vast Karnak Temple to the north. of course it means cutting through the middle of Luxor, which is causing some consternation amongst the locals. Looking at the excavations it would appear that the sphinxes were interspersed with columns possibly creating a covered ceremominal pathway from the one Temple to the other. Beautiful!

Hit Murphy’s Irish bar for food, beer and pool. And next door to Murphy’s, the best bookshop in Egypt as recommeded by famed archaeologist Kent Weeks. We return to Luxor Temple later.

After a quiet afternoon, we head up the road to Luxor Temple. As you arrive at the entrance you cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the massive first pylon (gateway). Built by Rameses the Great, it stands 24 metres high and is covered with depictions of his military conquests. In front of that stands one of a pair of pink granite obelisks, the other being in Paris (Place de la Concorde).
As with most of these temples the further in you go the older it gets. Sandwiched between the works of Rameses II and Amenhotep III is a comparitively small statue of a seated pair. It is Tutankhamun and his queen depicted as Amun Ra and his wife Mut. Beyond that is the splendour of the Sun Court of Tutankamun’s grandfather, Amenhotep III.

Again one is left marvelling at the building abilities of this ancient civilsation.
Tomorrow the Valley of the Kings and the Royal Tombs.

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