Egyptian Sidekick and Luxor
We are happy to announce the addition of the Luxor Full-Day & Half-Day Tour. These are excursions from Luxor in Upper Egypt to the famous temples, tombs, and archaeological sites of the ancient capital of Middle and New Kingdom Egypt. Spread along both sides on the Nile, Luxor continues to yield many new finds. Luxor, Thebes, or Waset, as it was once called is the city of Ramses the Great, his father Seti I, Hatshepsut, and many other personalities which we are just recently finding more about. Luxor, much like Cairo and the pyramids of Giza in Lower Egypt is a must-see.
The famous palace of Malkata might no longer be standing, but Luxor still boasts the famous Karnak temple complex, the Luxor temple, many Temples of Millions of Years, which memorialize the reigns of great pharaohs, and hundreds of tombs in various valleys. The “Hundred-Gated Thebes”, was the imperial capital of an empire than mainly kept to the Nile, its delta, and its North-Western coast, preferring to influence through wealth and trade, rather than to subjugate foreign peoples. The far smaller size of modern Luxor has allowed much to remain undiscovered.
Because of the significance of Thebes or Luxor in ancient, and contemporary Egypt, Egyptian Sidekick is expanding to include these new tour options. Luxor is not close to Cairo, but it is an absolute must for those interested in ancient Egyptian art, and enthusiasts of archaeology. The monumental pillars, and brightly colored tombs are bound to leave an indelible impression. On these tours around the sites of Luxor, your Sidekick and driver are able to take up to 3 travelers to 7+ different sites, and then in increments of vehicle seating after that.
Luxor is one of Egypt’s most important cities, especially in terms of tourism. Culturally, the area is invaluable to world history and archaeology, yielding new fiends every year. The city’s historical legacy, and the places of interest which have survived millennia make it equally important to that of the capital Cairo and its Giza pyramids in Lower Egypt. Much of the sites are found on the West bank of the Nile, with many spectacular tombs buried deep, and accessible, in the nearby cliffs and valleys.
Travelers to Luxor will depart in the mid-to-early morning, between 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM, or at your choosing, and be driven to each desired site, as per the tour option booked. Modern infrastructure connect downtown Luxor with the temples and tombs of the West bank. Numerous, picturesque irrigation canals and fields criss-cross the route.
Although sightseeing itineraries can be tailored to whatever travelers wish to see, Luxor is a city which harkens back to the ancient way of tilling the soil, and the fantastic monuments of the pharaonic age. At Egyptian Sidekick, we pride ourselves on our complete flexibility and flat rates, making $105 USD for up to 3 individuals the best tour offer out there.
LOCAL SIDEKICK FOR LUXOR
Upper Egypt includes Luxor, the fantastic temples of Dendera and Abydos North of Luxor, and Aswan in Egypt’s Nubia. The temples of Abu Simbel located on Lake Nasser are toured through a day trip from Aswan. Although the trip to Abu Simbel does not require a local guide, your Sidekick and driver will accompany you in Luxor and Aswan.
Mansour is a native of Luxor, living on the peaceful West bank of the Nile, and has many years of guiding experience in-and-around Luxor, Dendera and Abydos, as well as Aswan in Nubia. If you are looking for an authentic, local experience with someone who is both knowledgeable and eloquent, having Mansour as your Egyptian Sidekick is bound to be an incredible experience.
BA, Tourism & Hotels | Tour Guide License
Minya University, Upper Egypt
Egyptian Sidekick Since 2015
As the largest religious space in the world, Karnak is an absolute must-see. Besides the fantastic hypostyle hall, travelers should hunt for the priestly processional inscriptions, the sitting rams of Amun, the Opet Festival and Battle of Qadesh frieze. The calendar, with the ancient Egyptian numbering system is present on the southern side of the granite inner-sanctum. The two massive obelisks of Hatshepsut, and the hall of Thuthmosis IV with its painted columns are an absolute must for photographers. Travelers are also likely to encounter massive statues of pharaoh Ramses the Great and the famous scarab beetle sculpture near the sacred lake.
The valley is the place of burial for Middle and New Kingdom pharaohs and royal princes. Brilliantly painted interiors detail the ancient Egyptian concept of the descent into the realm of Osiris before reemerging in an idealized afterlife. Protective gods, demigods, spirits and demons guide the mummy of the deceased. All of the tombs have many adjoining antechambers for grave goods, and a central, large burial chamber with a sarcophagus fashioned from a single block of granite. Tombs are rotated to permit for conservation. Admission into the tomb of Tutankhamun is charged in addition to regular admission.
Recent discoveries at the West bank site have revealed the brilliant statues of pharaoh Amenhotep III, his wives, and daughters. However, the two massive statues flanking what was once the entrance to the pharaoh’s memorial temple are the most iconic. Amenhotep III’s temple was built on the floodplain to facilitate fertility celebrations by vessel in the flood season, which resulted in the steady erosion, and sinking of the pylon gateway, and colonnaded halls. The site is significant in that it belonged to Tutankhamun’s grandfather, and was constructed during Egypt’s richest period. Ongoing archaeological excavations are bound to yield more discoveries.
The memorial temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most famous female pharaoh has been painstakingly reconstructed by the Polish archaeological mission to Egypt. Terraces, friezes, courtyards, and several of Hatshepsut’s Osiris-like figures have be restored. The friezes record an expedition to the incense and gold-rich land of Punt found on the Southernmost end of the temple’s second terrace. Paint from the time of the pharaohs remains on the northernmost end of the ground-floor portico, depicting the gods Anubis and Horus anointing Hatshepsut as pharaoh of Egypt. Hatshepsut sidelined her baby half-brother, and rightful pharaoh Thuthmosis IV and ruled Egypt herself with her vizier, and probable lover, Senenmut.
The memorial temple of pharaoh Ramses the Great, is an impressive, ruined structure. It has the colossal fragments of one of the largest statues of Ramses II ever transported from the granite quarries of Aswan, commonly referred to as “Ozymandias”. Its colonnaded walls outline the famous Battle of Qadesh against the Anatolian-based Hittite empire. Fantastic black-granite entrance-ways have survived, as have several columns. Full of granaries, storerooms, and chapels to Ramses’s mother Tuya and his wife, Nefertari the memorial temple was a veritable economic powerhouse, managing large swathes of irrigated farmland, and concentrated many highly skilled tradesmen.
Similar to that of the nearby Valley of the Kings, the Queens’ Valley has several incredible tombs, most notably that of pharaoh Ramses II’s Great Wife, the beautiful Nefertari. There is significant speculation whether the site may contain additional tombs since it was customary for ancient Egyptian royalty and nobility to take on several wives, simultaneously. Many of the tombs belong to that of the children of the pharaoh’s with tombs of princesses from various reigns open to the public. Although many of the tombs of the Queen’s valley are open to the public the most beautiful and most fragile of them all, the tomb of Nefertari, requires a hefty sum to enter.
Perhaps one of Egypt’s most intact memorial temples, the temple of the warrior pharaoh Ramses III features intact pylon gateways, colonnades and friezes with original paint. Ramses III is credited with defeating the the famous Sea Peoples, a nomadic, sea-faring, displaced people on the move for a new homeland from Anatolia or the Black Sea region. The fleet of the Sea People was ambushed by the Egyptians in the Nile delta, following raids and devastation caused by the Sea People. The temple features a Migdol-style entrance-way found more commonly in the fortified towns of Assyria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, and means to underscore Ramses III’s military campaigns.
The temple had been added to by successive generations of rulers, right up to the Roman period. The temple’s East bank location, and southern orientation to the complex at Karnak suggests that it is a temple to the Ka or living spirit of the pharaoh. The temple had served as a barracks and a centre for administration for the Roman legions during the Roman empire, and as a church during the Eastern Roman empire. Travelers will be able to identify inscriptions of Alexander the Great, and that of Merenptah, the 13th son of Ramses the Great, who would live long enough to become pharaoh after Ramses’s unusually long reign.
The memorial temple of Seti I is in poor condition, having been ransacked for its stone during later constructions. Its location on the East bank of the Nile makes it easily accessible from the Valley of the Kings. Visitors come to the site mainly for its significance having been dedicated to Seti I who is widely considered Egypt’s greatest, and most prudent of all Egyptian rulers, who lead the country into an age of prosperity, peace, and great building projects. Seti I was the second of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and groomed his son Ramses II to succeed him. Having inherited the Horus throne while in the middle of life, Seti I successively empowered the young Ramses, eventually making him regent.
The “Place of Truth” as it had been called in ancient times is the site of a walled-worker’s village, built solely for tomb construction and funerary decoration for the Valley of the Kings & Queens. It is considered a microcosm of Egyptian society due to the discovery of thousands of pottery-shard inscriptions describing everything from grocery lists to theft, infidelity, and criminal investigations. The site also features the Valley of the Workers, with several publicly accessible tombs belonging to state officials and administrators, with superbly preserved colours. A nearby chapel from the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty is present at the northermost edge of the village ruins, and should not be missed.
The Luxor museum may not have the breadth of items found in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but its pride is the uniqueness of its collection. Some the pieces include a reconstructed wall from Amarna, the capital of the monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten, a statue of the heretic pharaoh, and his father, Amenhotep III, and the mummy of pharaoh Ahmose the 1st, the liberator of Egypt from the Delta-based Hyksos empire. The mummy of Ramses the 1st, the first of the New Kingdom line can also be found in the museum. Perhaps most notably, the remainder of the funerary goods of Tutankhamun are on display in the museum, demonstrating some of the everyday goods used by the boy pharaoh.
Seti I, Ramses the Great’s father, built the memorial temple of Abydos, and the end-result is widely seen as the greatest, and most beautiful New Kingdom temple ever constructed. Carved figures and symbols have retained their original colours. Moreover, the temple features the famous pharaoh’s list, a chronological, religious list of cartouches showing Egyptian pharaohs that Seti I and his contemporary viewed as those ancestors who were worthy of remembrance. Hatshepsut and the mono-theistic, sun disk-worshiping pharaoh Akhenaton are both missing. North of the temple is the Osireion, a partly-flooded underground area built by Merenptah for the worship of Osiris, the ruler of the underworld.
This near-intact temple of the goddess Hathor from the Greco-Roman period was built by the Roman emperor Tiberius, but the site had been an active religious centre as early as the reign of pharaoh Khufu. The complex is very much intact, with brilliant blue paint on its column tops and ceilings. Dendera is famous for its wall carvings featuring the ancient Egyptian zodiac. The Dendera Zodiac, a circular stone relief is in the Louvre, in Paris. Dendera is also famous among fringe historians for a wall depiction of a supposed electrical lighting system, complete with a lightbulb and power cords. Egyptologists claim Egyptian deities hold eggplants instead.
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