Luxor Temple is a large ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River. It was built in the year 1400BC in what was then called the city of Thebes. The temple also served as the seat of the Roman Government. There were actually 5 main sites I wanted to see in the Luxor region: The Temple of Karnak, The Valley of the Kings, and Luxor Temple itself on the East Bank of the Nile, and the tombs of King Tut and Ramses on the West Bank.
I have seen some amazing ancient sites on my travels, such as the temples of Angkor and Bagan, the whole of Kyoto, as well as ruins at Borobudur in Indonesia, but surely nothing actually tops the experience of arriving at Luxor Temple. I much preferred the sites in Luxor to the Pyramids of Giza – as it seemed more authentic – and Luxor Temple itself was the pick of all the sites around here for me. It was a delight to be able to take a slow walk around and soak in the atmosphere.
I will not pretend that I was very knowledgeable on ancient Egyptian architecture or history before I arrived in Luxor. Nor am I even now. But what I did appreciate despite lacking this knowledge was the physical achievement of actually making temples as intricate this one here at Luxor Temple, despite not having very advanced ‘technology’ back in 1400BC. Most visitors to Luxor also marvel at the mythology of the place, with symbolism from the Ancient Egyptians meaning that if a statue was designed like a Montu (or another mythical creature) then the people would actually worship it as if it was a real creature. This added another interesting layer of interest to those of us walking around the temple site.
The heat here in Egypt is extremely intolerable, and you must bring a good hat and pair of sunglasses with you, as most of the Luxor Temple site will be in the open air, and pieces of shade are quite hard to come by. Despite the heat, I thought some of the best parts of the temple were the Colossi of Ramses, which look a little like some of the ancient Greek buildings near Athens.
There is a giant obelisk that stands guard at the entrance to the temple, and is 25m high. This is one of the first things you see as you approach the site (although the photo above was shot on my way back out again) and it really lays down the gauntlet to you as you walk in. Entrance to Luxor Temple is 40 Egyptian Pounds, and you would be best advised to arrive early to avoid the worst of the desert heat. The site opens to the public at 6am and although I was not even awake at this time, I would really recommend getting here that early!