Luxor, Egypt: Introduction and History

The ancient city stood on both sides of the Nile, and few spots in Egypt are so ideally suited to such a purpose. The rang of hills to the east and west curve away from the river’s bank leaving broad plains on either side. Here marvelous monuments were raised in honour of Amon-Ra.

Luxor, which developed into the great capital of the Egyptian empire, had no particular importance during the first thousand years of Egypt’s ancient history. When Narmer moved northwards to unite the Two Lands and establish Memphis as capital; in the Early Dynastic Period when the kings constructed their cenotaphs at Abydos; during the Great Pyramid Age when granite was quarried from Aswan in the south and transported to the necropolis of Giza to the north-throughout all these long centuries Luxor was no different from the chief cities of other provinces.

It was only after the collapse of the Old Kingdom, when the country had passed through the period of disorder known as the First Intermediate Period that a noble family from Armant, a village south of Luxor, began to assert themselves. They had already shown their powers of leadership by distributing grain between various provinces in times of low flood, and towards the end of the 10th Dynasty (2133 BC), they annexed Luxor and moved north-wards. Their aim was to reunite the Two Lands and take over leadership.

At this time another powerful family from the Fayoum area ruled from Memphis to Assiut, and aware of the aspiration of the Theban family, they moved their forces to meet them. The result was a long and bitter struggle. However, the Thebans emerged victorious, reunited the Two Lands, and launched Egypt on its second great period: the Middle Kingdom.

For some two centuries (1991-1786 BC) Egypt enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity. Luxor, however, was capital for only a short time before the Pharaohs chose a site more suitable for a central government: El Lisht, some thirty kilometers south of Memphis. Political stability led to an art and architectural revival, important irrigation projects, and extensive commerce with neighboring lands. Egyptian influence spread to Libya, Crete, Palestine, Syria, and southwards to Nubia where great fortresses were built .The most significant event in Luxor, however,was the introduction of the god Amon-Ra and building of modest shrines in his honour.

It was only after the Hyksos occupation and expulsion that Luxor and its local god achieved prestige, and then on a scale never imagined. For, after the Thebans (Kamose followed by his brother Ahmose, father of the New Kingdom) won the war of liberation, they not only drove the hated occupiers out of Egypt but swore to avenge their country for its suffering. They followed the enemy into Asia, and the age of conquest began.

The New Kingdom (1567-1080 BC) was the empire periodThutmose I extended Egypt’s southern border towards Kush, and Thutmose III established Egyptian supremacy in Asia Minor and all the neighboring countries. As trade flourished, Luxor became paramount among the cities of Egypt. Caravans from the conquered territories, laden with gold and silver, precious metals, ivory, timber, spices, rare flora and fauna, made their way to Upper Egypt.

The Priests of Amon-Ra, into whose hands a vast portion of the wealth was pouring acquired increasing influence, and the Pharaohs ordered the construction of marvelous monuments in honour of their gods. They declared that Amon-Ra was not only ‘God of karnak’ and ‘God of Thebes’ but was, in fact, the ‘King of Gods’, and that their priesthood was second to none.

LUXOR TOURS AND EXCURSIONS

Explore Luxor Tours countless adventures, start with the East bank tour visiting: Karnak TempleLuxor Temple, then enjoy West bank tour visiting: Valley Of The KingsHatshepsut Temple, the Collossi of Memnon, enjoy hot air balloon ride in the morning. Take in Nile Cruise from luxor to Aswan visiting: Kom Ombo, Edfu, Esna while enjoying the beautiful view of the Nile along the way or spend a day in Cairo visiting: The Pyramids of Cheops, Chefren, Mykreinus, the Sphinx, the egyptian museum, old Cairo then go shopping in Khan El Khalili, or travel to Aswan visiting: Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam and Abu Simple Temples.

All these tours are sure to add something unforgettable on your tours in Luxor.

FAQ

Q- IIs Luxor worth visiting? A-Luxor and Cairo are exceedingly different places and yes Luxor is well worth visiting. If you want to see iconic sites such as the Valley of the King's and Karnak Temple, then you have no choice.


Q-How many days do you need in Luxor? A-Two days- Luxor requires a minimum of 3 days IMO. There is so much to see and do so you will be on the go the whole time. I'd say the minimum time needed to visit Luxor is two days, but you can easily spend longer as there are so many sites, and it's worth taking the time to enjoy the atmosphere.


Q-How long is the train ride from Cairo to Luxor?A-Departs Cairo Ramses Station 10 hours.


Q-Is it safe to travel from Hurghada to Luxor?A- There is no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile, and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The section of the country between the Nile and the Red Sea is also considered mostly safe.


Q-What can you buy in Luxor?A-Some of the best souvenirs to bargain for & buy in Luxor are Egyptian cotton, alabaster vases & other products from alabaster factories, mouldings and carvings of Pharaohs, queens & gods, glass scent bottles, leather, silver, gold to name a few.


Q-Is Aswan worth visiting? A-“Aswan itself: the town is worth a visit” ... With its great market, connection to Nubian people and culture, its easy cross Nile ferry trip and a great place to stay, Aswan is a much more enjoyable place than any other place in the world.


Q-How long is a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan? A-The Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan takes 5 days and vice versa from Aswan to Luxor 4 days.