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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Luxor: Capital of the Pharaohs


We spent two days in Luxor walking or rather rushing from one temple to another until I begged our guide to slow down. We could have easily spent four days for a more relaxed tour of the monuments.
[Click on pictures to enlarge]






We also attended a sound and light show at the temple of Karnak.


In the time of the Pharaohs, Luxor was called Thebes, the most important capital of the civilized world.





In addition to the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak, Luxor boasts the famous Valley of the King that harbored more seventy tombs, including the tomb of Tutankhamen—famous King Tut. It is assumed that many more tombs are still hidden under the desert in this area. We visited four of the tombs going down the steps under the rock to admire the incredibly well preserved sculptured and painted walls. Unfortunately we were
not allowed to take pictures.




The Temple of Luxor—dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god-- was connected to the temple of Karnak by a causeway of sphinx.




The temple of Luxor was built by Amenhotep III and later by Ramses II and had two obelisks. One of them was donated by Egyptian ruler, the great Mohamed Aly to France and is now in the Place de la Concorde in Paris in 1819.

The temple of Karnak was built 2000 years ago. It consists of ten pylons and four courtyards. The Hypostyle has 134 columns.



Many festivals were celebrated in Thebes such as the festival of Opet. The festival itself was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine office. The festival lasted eleven days, but had grown to twenty-seven days by the reign of Ramses III. At that time the festival included the distribution of over 11,000 loaves of bread, 85 cakes and 385 jars of beer.





The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the temple of Luxor. The journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River. Each god or goddess was carried in a separate barge that was towed by smaller boats. Large crowds consisting of soldiers, dancers, musicians and high ranking officials accompanied the barge by walking along the banks of the river.



During the festival the people were allowed to ask favors of the statues of the kings or to the images of the gods that were on the barges.


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14 comments:

Molly Daniels said...

Why were no pictures allowed? (pouting slightly, grin!)

Still wonderful pics!

Celia Yeary said...

MONA--you know I love photos. These are of things I've never seen before, a part of the world I've not visited. The only ancient history place I've been is Rome--the Forum and colliseum. I could have stayed there all day, but as you said, the tour guides tend to rush us. On the other hand, it was about a hundred degrees that day and it was hard to find shade. Thanks for the great "tour." Celia

Asylumgirl said...

Color me jealous! As always, I'm extremely envious of your world-travels Mona. Love the pictures and thanks for sharing them. Egypt is one of my top places to see before I die. I was so fascinated with Egypt that I dressed as Cleopatra for several Halloweens in a row. lol

Deidre

StephB said...

WOW!! Mona, your photos are breathtaking. What beautiful weather you had. Thanks so much for bring Egypt to me. hehe
Smiles
Steph

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Fascinating. I remember seeing a light show at the Pyramids and Sphinx at Cairo years ago--must have been the early 80s. Lots of fun.

Mary Ricksen said...

Amazing. I love the pictures and thanks for sharing. There are things I never even heard of! But now in my head I have a picture.
Great stuff Mona!!1

Maeve said...

Gorgeous! Thank you for allowing us to travel "vicariously" through you!

Mona Risk said...

Molly, they don't want the flash to damage the 4000 years old colors. Although now the walls are covered with glass in the tombs.

Mona Risk said...

Celia When you have a chance take the Nile cruise. I guarantee you won't regret it. The Egyptian monuments are in a much better shape than the colliseum or any monument in the world.

Mona Risk said...

Asylumgirl, I am trying to picture you in Cleopatra. So cute!!!

Mona Risk said...

Steph, the weather was gorgeous. I never rains in Egypt in Spring, but we were lucky we didn't get any sand storm, khamseen.

Mona Risk said...

Helen, I didn't know you saw the pyramids and sphinx. You never told me!!!

Mona Risk said...

Mary, we live in paradise in Florida. Every time I come back home I say God Bless America.

Mona Risk said...

Anytime Maeve.