Following our visit to the West Bank of the Nile, the tour group arrived in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luxor. Sem Sem gave us two hours to explore the area and have lunch. We had a quick bite at (unfortunately) McDonald’s and split up. I went to take pictures of the town while the women went shopping in the souk. Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes (Θῆβαι).
I decided first to walk around the perimeter of Luxor Temple. I didn’t actually go inside the temple because, to be honest, I was kind of templed-out at this point. Sem Sem also recommended not to visit because it wasn’t worth the admission price, but at the very least I got a good idea of the grandeur of it from the outside.
Built around 1400 BC, it was mainly constructed by Amenhotep III and added to by Ramses II. During Roman rule, it was used as a fortress and government building. After the temple was abandoned, a Medieval village sprung up inside. It lasted until it had to be removed in the 1880s when excavations of the temple began. The only thing left from the village is the 13th century Abu al-Haggag mosque.
One interesting fact about the temple is that there used to be two obelisks at the entrance. The other was removed in the 19th century and is now at Place de la Concorde in Paris.
After the temple, I took a walk through the souk and then sat in the park and waited for the bus to leave. Our next stop would be Karnak Temple.
After Karnak Temple, we were taken to a papyrus shop to show how papyrus reeds were used to make paper. I could’ve done without it, but others enjoyed it. After that, it was back on the bus for a nearly 6 hour bus ride to Hurghada for some beach time.