Old and new
On the eastern bank of the River Nile, the city of Luxor still lives in the shadows of the mighty pharaohs who ruled here 3 millennia ago. Behind them they left monuments whose grandeur and mystery is still unsurpassed. These days, the thriving city, which fans outwards from the Nile, is home to 100,000 residents and is full of colonial buildings, magnificent hotels, and colourful bazaars.
The land of the pharaohs
The ancient sites in Luxor are up there with the Pyramids at Giza. In the heart of the city is Luxor Temple, a giant complex flanked by two seated statues of Ramesses II at its entrance. To the north is the Temple of Karnak, a collection of gargantuan temples and sphinx-lined avenues. And across the Nile lies the Valley of the Kings, the necropolis where pharaohs like Tutenkhamun began their journey towards immortality.
There’s more to Luxor than ancient history. You can wander through spice-scented souks, sail on a white-sailed felucca boat at sunset, take a hot-air balloon ride with the desert plains stretching beneath you, or sip a cocktail in grand surroundings at the Old Winter Palace.
Close to Dendera
Around an hour’s journey north of Luxor is Dendera, where you’ll find the Temple of Hathor. This brilliantly-preserved temple includes a wall relief of Cleopatra and her son, Caesarion, fathered by Julius Caesar. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get here by taking Egypt’s charming rail network. Get off at Qena and hail a taxi.