Dandara Temple is an hour outside Luxor in a place called Qena. We are headed out under the watchful eye of the convoy.
This was actually one of my favorite Temples. That may partially be because there were less people. So few tourists have the time in their scheduled tour groups that they miss this little gem.
Some of the features in the complex include
Hathor temple (the main temple),
Temple of the birth of Isis,
Mammisi of Nectanebo II,
a Bark shine,
Gateways of Domitian & Trajan and
the Roman Kiosk.
Dendera also has a necropolis - a series of mastaba tombs. It runs the eastern edge of the western hill and over the northern plain. The crypts were used for storing vessels and iconography. Now getting down into the crypt is tricky, but one you shouldn't miss out on. The halls themselves are only as wide as a single person. Our guide hated taking us down there, he felt there where spirits that haunted the crypt. I didn't see any spirits.
Oh and on your way out - don't forget to rub Bes the lucky Troll. They say if you rub him, good fortune will come to you.
The cost to get into the Temple is 35LE and then of course your travel to get there. Because we were a group hiring a van - return trip from Luxor - the trip averaged out to $50USD.
If You stay in Luxor Do a day trip to Abydos & Dendera as they are two of the most important sites of Ancient Egypt.
There are 3 ways to get there By boat, Taxi or coach(minibus). By boat is the most relaxing & is how the Dead Pharaohs made their final trip to Abydos but is double the price than Taxi. Boat £37 Pp Taxi £35-£40 return & waiting time. Taxi was how we did it & pleased we did as we saw all the towns villages & cities on the way. We also saw how it is in the real Egypt including the farming of Sugar cane & bananas. The market was amazing as we had never seen such red Tomatoes & green peppers & honey being sold fresh at the side of the road. Truly a great experience not usual for the average package tour.
The countryside so contrasting between the arid desert & lush green countryside kept so by the Nile ( remember this country gets virtually no rain at all) Once in 4 years according to our Driver Tariq number 1617.
Abydos has the Kings list important for our knowledge of Pharaonic history. This temple Seti 1st is beautifully decorated with amazing reliefs representing The rituals of death & offerings to the gods of the underworld Osiris, Hathor, Anubis & so on. The colours are beautiful still after thousands of years. A must see.
Dendera is also amazing because of Its tie in to the Ptolemaic period & Roman Emperor Tiberius who completed the temple, Although the earliest foundations it is built on date back to the great pyramid builder Khufu nearly 5000 years before. Queen Cleopatra v1 is an important figure whose relief can be seen on the rear of the temple outside. The is also in one of the upstairs rooms a map of the signs of the zodiac. The temple downstairs though is beautiful & mainly painted in blues. The column capitals have the face of hathor on all four sides & the wall reliefs are also beautifully painted. The only sad thing is the damage done to reliefs by the early christians something common thruout ancient Egypts tombs & temples. There is also outside by the Temple rear wall a Temple to Isis that has suffered the same fate which is a shame. The earliest christians who did this damage should be ashamed of themselves much like the Damage done to The Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Muslims. For me a God who needs humans to defend his interests is no God at all. Dendera & Abydos must be seen by any visitor to Luxor.
Alabaster historically was a symbol of purity and great honour. It s also thought to have been associated to the Egyptian Goddess Bast. Abcient Egyptians used alabaster to line sarcophagi and the walls inside of te temples.
Colossi are two massive stone statues of pharaoh Amenhotep III, standing in the Theban necropolis since 1350 B.C. The twin statues depicting Amenhotep III in a seated position, while two shorter figures carved alongside his legs are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwiya.
The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone and both of them are seriously damaged during the centuries. The original function of the Colosi was to standguard at the entrance of Amenhotep's memorial temple (mortuary temple). The temple was built during the pharaoh lifetime where he was worshiped as a God on Earth. Very little remains today of Amenhotep's temple. It was largest and most opulent temple in Egypt.
The statues are better known as Colossi of Memnon, and Memnon in ancient Egyptian means "Ruler of the Dawn".
If you want a break from the noise and hassle of Luxor try Al Salam Camp in Ramlah village on the West Bank (if you get off the ferry from the East Bank turn left and walk along the Nile path for about 10 minutes and you can't miss it; or if you're travelling with luggage ask a taxi driver). We had a fabulous meal of local fish, duck, home-made bread and salads, and relaxed round the fire chatting till late. Ahmed and Yasser who run the camp are fun and friendly, and can tell you all about local life as well as organise transport and trips. Highly recommended for chilling out and seeing another side of Luxor after you've done the tombs, temples and tourist-traps. The huts (£5 per night) look spotless and comfortable - we'll definitely be staying there next time. A paradise for kids, who'll find plenty of local playmates, language not an issue.
For over two centuries, since its beginnings in France and well before the invention of the airplane, ballooning has been an exciting form of travel. It offers the rider a chance to see the world from an aerial perspective. My first time ballooning just happened to be in Luxor, Egypt and based upon the positive experience I had, it won't be the last. The fantastic views from the basket were astounding. We got lowered right into Edu temple and then we were raised a few thousand feet in the balloon where we were treated to a spectacular view of the Valley of the Queens.
My favourite places are not mentioned in replies to your query - Medinet Habu)Rameses III well-preserved temple) and the Nobles' Tombs. These tombs I have told three lots of friends who went to Luxor are not to be missed. Their value is slowly being appreciated. They are such a surprise. I can tell you my favourites if time is limited and how to get there. All are on West Bank near Valley of the Kings. Have fun!
Dendera Temple is not that far off the beaten track, but many first time visitors to Egypt miss it. It is DEFINITELY worth a visit. It can be done as a very long day trip via the Lotus Boat or combined with the temple of Abydos and done by road.
Will add more info...but in the interim, please enjoy the photos!
On arrival in Luxor, the Thomson Rep recommended tours organised by the company. However. I found the price steep.
Instead I organised all trips/ activities through the Hotel, St Josephs in El-Mahdry Street.
For E£776 (£77, I secured 6 hours on the West Bank, 1 hour camel ride and a felluca trip to banana island.
The trip to the West Bank was fantastic, an air conditioned taxi arrived promptly at 7.30am. The tour guide, George, was superb, completely professional. Very knowlegable and instructive. He helped us not only understand the hisory of the valleys but also guided us through hoards of local salesmen and taught us basic arabic.
I recommend George to anyone hoping to visit Luxor, I travelled as a single mum, with 3 children.
George can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just returned from my first visit to Egypt, and stayed in the beautiful apartments owned by Jane and Mahmoud of "Flats in Luxor". In the heart of the rural West Bank at Luxor, the experience was like a magical trip back in time, but with all modern comforts! Stunning views over lush farmland, as far as the Theban Hills and Hatshepsut's temple, hot air balloons floating aloft at dawn - yes, we'll definitely return! A fabulous experience!!
Medinet Habu is often visited at the end of a day seeing the other well known sites like the Valley of the Kings, Deir el Bahari and the Valley of the Queens. Because it's at the end of the day many people may feel 'templed out' and so leave it for another day. Well if you can summon up the energy make the effort because it's a treasure.
It's a smaller version of Karnak, but because it's less busy it's quieter and you can dawdle around at your own pace. The one thing I did find though was that the guardians were more obtrusive and didn't seem to take NO for an answer very quickly. Once you've shaken them off though it's great to just wander around and marvel at the paintings, inscriptions and structures. As with all of the sites there is an entry fee but I think it was cheaper than most of them.
One of the most unusual trips ever was my journey back from the Valley of the Kings.
My driver was grateful that I paid him well, so wanted me to meet his family.
We went off road for about 15 mins, and arrived at a mudbrick house.
His 2 kids had rags for clothes, and no shoes.
His wife was scrubbing the floor.
This was a very poor family.
Then he asked if I like TV?
He revealed a room that had 2 wooden seats, and a HUGE flat screen TV. This was cinema sized.
He then said, 'He have 1000 channels, all pornography' and proceeded to flick through channels of utter filth while his wife shielded her eyes as she made the tea and brought him a pipe.
A very bizarre adventure but an interesting look into Egypt
OK, let's face it - Luxor is not a pleasant town to walk around with touts hassling you minute by minute, meter by meter. But that should not prevent you from enjoying the simple pleasures like gawking at the dolled up builidings along Al-Mahatta, the main road leading to the train station, and the station itself, which was in the finishing stages of being spruced up. It's a pretty cool area to walk around with lots of interesting stuff like:
1) Colonial architecture which reveals a lot about Luxor's importance as one of Egypt's tourism centerpiece as early as the 1800s. The buildings have been given a new lease of life with fresh coat of paint and refurbishing. While the effect could be contrived and Disneyesque, one could take comfort in the fact that these were authentic colonial buildings - only spruced up.
2) Lots of interesting merchandise displayed here from traditional spices to mobile phone accessories to funky summer wear (in picture here).
3) Humor is something Al-Mahatta does not lack in - that is if you find this "naughty" moviehouse humorous (3rd picture). From the looks of it, it specializes in skin flicks like the one shown here - movie titled "Haram," which means "forbidden" in Arabic. I just have to take a photo of it to show to my Egyptian friends back home - who now all deny having seen the movie. Really now.
4) At the end of this grand boulevard is Luxor's train station, which was in the final stages of sprucing up when I was there. The main hall is now adorned with beautiful reliefs and colorful stained glass - all nicely done. One thing hasn't changed, though - touts still lurk around waiting for their next prey. Oh well, welcome to Luxor.
If there is one wish left that I would like to see in Egypt it would be Nefertari's tomb. But it is closed to the public.
You can enter it if you have enough money to spare. But to me the money is a bit more than I can afford. Or think it is worth that kind of money.....
Could it be that the most beautiful tomb in Egypt is exploited? I think so! The tomb has some mythical aura around it and the fact that it is closed to the public adds to the mistery.
Don't misunderstand me: I think it is closed for good reasons! Where ever I went on vacation I saw tourists showing no respect for the precious items in museums or historical sites. Taking photos with flash while it was clearly displaid that it was forbidden. Is that one picture so important that you don't care of what effect it will have on that unique item?
Nefertari's tomb is precious. It needs to be preserved for coming generations. But I think it should be shown to people who recognise the beauty of it, who will respect it and treat it with loving care.
Not just to people who can afford it and use it as something to brag about!
Said to be the larger than Karnak, the funerary complex of Amenhotep III had been reduced to two giant statues - officially called Colossi of Memnon - that stand forlorn near the entrance to the Valley of Kings. This is what most tourists first see on their way to visit the intricately-designed funerary complexes of the Theban pharaohs. Inundation of the Nile over hundreds of years had been the primary culprit behind the destruction of Amenhotep III's giant funerary complex.
The monument, housed in white sandstone with gold throughout and floor covered with silver and doors with electrum, would have been a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Egyptian pharaohs. It was during Amenhotep III's reign that Egyptian culture and power reached its zenith. Among other achievements, it was him who built Luxor Temple.
Over the centuries, hundreds of statues and other artifacts were not only destroyed by the flooding of the Nile. Some monuments were vandalized by other pharaohs, and some moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Many others had found their way to the British Museum and in Turin, etc.
Sadly, only the two colossi remain of this once magnificent monument, and the whole place had been reduced to a minor tourist attraction whose only value is to provide tourists with a short photo op session on their way to the Valley of Kings.
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