Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Travel: Luxor - an open-air museum

ANBA (Randa Achmawi)

Little over 700 kilometres south of Cairo, on the banks of the Nile, is a paradise of monuments of humanity. Also known as Thebes in ancient times, Luxor, in Egypt, is currently an interesting combination between the past and present. The city houses the Temple of Luxor, the Karnak complex of temples, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Hatshepsut. Beside these monuments of culture and history, however, is a great variety of beautiful hotels. Luxor was the ancient capital of the New Kingdom, between the 18th and 20th Dynasties of the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The grand Temple of Luxor, in the centre of the city, immediately stands out to those arriving. It was built during the reign of Amenhotep III and modified soon after by Ramses II. To the site, the pharaoh added six monumental statues and two obelisks. One of the obelisks was offered to France in 1831 and it now embellishes the Place de la Concorde, in Paris. A little further on, around three kilometres away, is the Temple of Karnak, also built during the reign of Amenhotep III. It is similar to a fortified city and is known for housing one of the most important religious centres in Ancient Egypt and the oldest in the world.

A true open-air museum, the Karnak complex of temples is the second most visited site in Egypt, second only to the Pyramids of Giza, in Cairo. For several centuries, in ancient times, Karnak temple complex was the main religious centre in the whole of Egypt.

See the above page for the full story.

1 comment:

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