Two Weeks in Egypt - October 2012

Day Eight: Luxor and the first Temple

Today was an early departure from Alexandria. We travelled by bus back to Cairo, stopping at the half-way point for a rest and coffee. We also made an unscheduled stop after the truck ahead of us hit a roadside barrier and caught fire. At Cairo Airport we boarded our flight inland (due south) to Luxor and the start of our Nile cruise. After boarding the cruise boat we returned to the bus to travel though Luxor to the nearby temple complex. Then back to the boat for an overnight stay before departing early the next morning. The cruise boats generally do not travel at night.

The Temple of Luxor

We arrived here by bus later in the afternoon. The sun was slowly sinking, giving a golden colour to the immense scale of the temple complex. It was out first view of the massive scale of the ancient Egyptian temples, apart from the Pyramids in Cairo. The scale of the work, and the skill of the stonemasons was astonishing.

From the airport to the cruiseboat

Crossing irrigation canals off the Nile
First glimpse of the green Nile valley and the dry distant hills
The wide streets of Luxor
Reminders of the ancient ruins are everywhere. This is an avenue of small sphinxes running from the Nile to the Temple
A useless sign - horns are more useful than brakes when driving.
A more useful sign - dentists are always in demand.
It struck me that motorbikes were quite rare in this country.
Strangely, horse and carts were everywhere.....
On the roads....
Even at Yorkshire Bob the Jeweller (!)
Our first sight of the Nile....
One of these is our boat.....
and careful of that blue one - it's mine!.
Here we are ready to board.
Our boat was outside the Winter Palace,
complete with the usual tourist accessories.

The Temple of Karnak at Luxor

The Temple complex of Karnak is about 2km from Luxor and the Nile. It covers a large area and is renowned for its avenues of sphinxes and its gallery of tall stone columns, the "Hypostyle Hall". It was also the site of the tallest stone obelisks ever made. One remains standing on the site, one is broken and the third is in Paris.

We drove back through Luxor,
passing remnants of the temple complex....
from the rear
and side.
Approaching the main temple complex.
with the lines of sphinxes and the high entrance gates.
The line of sphinxes....
in front of the gates.
The sphinxes close up
Looking down the main axis of the complex.
Another sphinx.
The first of the columns
We were not alone.
The rear of the gates with the remains of the earth ramp used for construction.
Some of the columns, with the rear one showing how they were carved in place.
The first of the obelisks
The Great Hypostyle Hall.
Tops of the columns.
Signs of the original colour
The column complex.
The carvings are exquisite, in fine limestone.
and sandstone.
The Obelisks...
are finely carved...
even in the granite.
The carving in the granite is amazing.
A long straight line.
Lotus flowers are common.
Lotus bud column in the late sun
The story of the Sacred Lake.
And a map.
The lake itself
The top of a fallen obelisk showing the perfect stonemasonry.
Walking clockwise around the scarab brings long life, walking the otherway brings fertility.......
The last of the sun as we left the complex
Spelling is odd but the meaning is clear....
Soaking up the heat in the rock - despite the signs everywhere "No Dogs".
And the final sight of the sun.

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Last updated: 02/07/2017