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Museums, Theaters, Architecture in Luxor

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Egypt
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Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings is without question one of the most historically significant archaeological sites in the world. For roughly 200 years, archaeologists have been exploring the site, and during this time they have discovered 65 ancient tombs, with the latest discovery being made in 2008. The valley is essentially a royal necropolis that was used by the rulers of Egypt for a period of 500 years. Being a “royal necropolis” the area was reserved for the burial of Egypt’s New Kingdom pharaohs and a few lesser nobles. However, not all the tombs were actually used for burial purposes. Instead, several of them simply remained vacant. The Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt’s biggest tourist attractions, with an average of around 5,000 people visiting the site each day. On days when Nile River cruise ships dock in Luxor, the number of tourists can climb to as many as 9,000. It is without doubt one of the most fascinating places in all of Egypt.
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Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple is one of six ancient temples found in the vicinity of Luxor. It was built by Amenophis III for worshipping the gods Amun, Chons and Mut. The Temple of Luxor is placed firmly on the tourist trail in Egypt, attracting many thousands of visitors each year. It is one of six ancient temples in and around the city of Luxor in Upper Egypt, in the area that was once home to the ancient city of Thebes. The temple was initially built for religious rites to the gods Amun, Chons and Mut. One of the most awe-inspiring features at Luxor Temple is it imposing colonnade comprising a total of 14 columns that are topped with papyrus shaped capitals. Each column is roughly 23 meters high, with a circumference of around 10 meters. Both sides on the colonnade are enclosed with masonry walls that are covered with reliefs showing scenes relating to the festival of Opet. The colonnade, along with the decorated walls was completed during the reign of King Tutankhamun and King Horemheb.
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Mummification Museum
Luxor Museum of Mummification is without question a real Must-See Luxor attraction that essentially showcases the ancient and fascinating art of mummification. The Luxor Museum of mummification is exactly what it says it is: a museum that is dedicated to the subject of mummification. Visitors arriving in Luxor can find the museum facing the Nile River on Luxor West Bank, just a short distance north of the infamous Luxor Temple. Many visitors to the city would agree that you haven’t really experienced ancient Egypt if you haven’t visited the remarkable and incredibly interesting Luxor museum of mummification. The museum occupies what was previously a modern visitor centre, and many visitors are surprised when they discover just how big the museum actually is. As it stands today, it covers an area of just over 2,000 square meters, and within that area, visitors will find the main artefacts room; a lecture hall, a video room and a cafeteria. The Luxor Museum of mummification has done a spectacular job at showcasing the ancient art of Egyptian mummification, and today visitors can see a large collection of mummification related items on display, along with several mummified animals and even the mummy of Masaherta that is believed to be more than three thousand years old.
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Karnak Temple
Karnak Temple is actually a vast temple city, with many of its structures dating back 4,000 years. It is today the largest remaining religious site of the ancient world, and it is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Because of its immense popularity, it is featured in many Egypt vacation packages, including many Nile cruise holidays. The temple complex is conveniently located near to the modern-day town of El-Karnak, just 2.5 km from Luxor. The site is massive, to the point where some people feel it’s necessary to spend at least one full day exploring the area. It’s also a good idea to have a guide with you when you visit. As with so many things at Karnak Temple complex, the hypostyle hall is massive, covering an area of 54,000 square feet, and home to no less than 134 huge columns measuring 23 meters in height. It is only when you actually stand inside the hall amongst its forest of columns that you truly get to appreciate just how wealth the New Kingdom had and to what extend Amun was revered.
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Hatshepsut Temple
Queen Hatshepsut Temple is a mortuary temple located near the Valley of the Kings, and it is today considered to be one of the great wonders of Ancient Egypt. Hatshepsut Temple is without question one of the most striking ancient attractions in all of Egypt. In fact, it is one of only a handful of Egyptian attractions that are considered to be “incomparable monuments of Egypt” and many historians also refer to it as being one of the Wonders of Ancient Egypt. Visitors to Luxor in upper Egypt will find this magnificent temple located below the rocky cliffs at Deir El Bahari, just a short distance away from the infamous Valley of the Kings, on the Luxor West Bank of the Nile River. From the moment the temple comes into view, it becomes very obvious that Queen Hatshepsut, an 18th dynasty pharaoh, wanted a temple that was well and truly fit for a queen.
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Valley of the Queens
The Valley of the Queens, like the nearby Valley of Kings, is also an ancient royal necropolis where the wives of the great pharaohs were laid to rest from 1550 to 1070 BCE. During the time of the New Kingdom pharaohs, the area was called Ta-Set-Neferu which means “The Place of the Children of the Pharaoh”. Although the name Valley of the Queens tends to suggest that only queens were laid to rest here, the area was also used for the burials of princes; princesses and other family members of the nobility. The necropolis is located on the West Bank of the Nile, more or less directly opposite the ancient capital city of Thebes, which today is the modern city of Luxor. The Valley of the Queens is home to around 70 tombs, many of which are exquisitely decorated. A prime example would be the tomb of Queen Nefetari from the 19th dynasty. Her tomb is adorned with splendid polochrome reliefs which have remained intact through the ages and can still be appreciated to this day. Tourists that are intending visiting the site should keep in mind that only a limited number of tombs are open to visitors. The beautiful tomb of Queen Nefetari is not open, but special permission can be obtained from the Commercial and Event Office in Luxor for a fee. The tomb belonging to the wife of King Ramesses II is strictly off-limits altogether. This is considered to be the most beautiful tomb discovered, but because of its fragile condition, officials feel that heavy tourist traffic could cause irreparable damage.
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Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum is nowhere near as big as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but it was never meant to be, choosing instead to display quality rather than quantity. The Museum of Luxor is located more or less right in the centre of Luxor, overlooking the Luxor west bank of the Nile River. Visitors who intend to visit the museum in shouldn’t expect to see anything along the lines of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo because the two places are quite literally worlds apart. While the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo is host to the world’s largest collection of Egyptian antiquities, Luxor Museum only has a relatively small collection, but it’s definitely worth visiting. When the museum was originally opened in 1975 there were no plans to house a massive collection of artefacts. Instead, the museum has a sort of “quality before quantity” policy.
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