Luxor is considered the world’s greatest open-air museum, but that comes nowhere near design this special place, nothing in the world compares to the greatest and majesty of the monuments that have survived from ancient “Thebes”.

The view in Luxor is breathtakingly beautiful, the Nile flowing between west-bank necropolis and the modern city, drawn by the mysterious drift of Theban. Scattered across the landscape is confusion riches, from the temples of Karnak and Luxor in the east to the many tombs and temples on the west bank.

Thebes’ wealth and force, legendary in antiquity, began to appeal Western travelers from the end of the 18th century. Depending on the political condition, today’s traveler might be alone at the sights, or be encompassed by coachloads of tourists from around the world. Whichever it is, a little organization will help you get the maximum from the enchantment of Thebes.

Karnak

Karnak is considered the most important place of worship Egypt during the New Kingdom, and it is an extraordinary complex of sanctuary, booth, pylons and obelisks dedicated to "Teba" triad but also to the greater celebrity of pharaohs. The spot covers more than 2 sq km; it's large enough to contain about 10 cathedrals. At its center is the Temple of Amun, the earthly 'home' of the local god. Built, added to, disassemble, restored, enlarged and decorated over nearly 1500 years, Karnak.

The complex is controlled by the great Temple of Amun-Ra – one of the world's major religious complexes – with its famous hypo style chamber, a spectacular forestry of giant papyrus-shaped posts. This main structure is encompassed by the houses of Amun's wife Mut and their son Khonsu, two other huge temple complexes on this site. On its southern side, the Mut Temple Enclosure was once related to the main temple by a way of ram-headed sphinxes. To the north is the Montu Temple Enclosure, which extolled the native war god.

The early morning is most beautiful in Karnak or later afternoon, and the temple is quiet, as later in the morning tour buses bring day traveler. It pays to visit more than once, to make sense of the massive mixture of ancient residues.

Luxor Temple

Largely structured by the New Kingdom pharaohs Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC) and Ramses II (1279–1213 BC), this temple is a strikingly limber monument in the heart of the modern town. Also named as the Southern Sanctuary, its main task was during the anniversary Opet occasions, when the statues of Amun, Mut and Khonsu were brought from Karnak, along the Avenue of Sphinxes, and was reunited during the inundation.

You should visit early when the temple opens, before the crowds arrive, or later at sunset when the stones glare. When you go ever, be sure to back at night when the temple is lit up, creating an odd scene as shadow and light play off the comfort and colonnades.

Amenhotep III greatly growled an older sanctuary built by Hatshepsut, and rededicated the massive temple as Amun’s southern ipet (harem), the private residence of the god. The temple was further added to by Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Alexander the Great and various Romans. The Romans built a military castle around the temple that the Arabs later called Al Oqsur (The Fortifications), which was later oblique to give modern Luxor its name.

The temple is fewer ganglions than Karnak, but here again you gait back in time the deeper you go into it. In front of the temple is the first of the Avenue of Sphinxes that ran the entire road to the temples at Karnak 3km to the north, and is now almost completely excavated.

Luxor is a modern-day Egyptian city that flames atop an ancient city that the Greeks named “Thebes” and the ancient Egyptians named “Waset.”

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