what you can see with a local guide
avoid the tour company excursions and search out Hassan Ali Ebrahim. usually to be found on a bench beside the nile facing the entrance to luxor temple. he will show you the things you really want to see and that will make your holiday. this year he showed us a 4000 year old mummy, which we were literally 6 inches from with no glass case between us. he also invited us to his home where an evening of traditional egyptian food and music was enjoyed by all. much cheaper than the tour companies and if you want to make your holiday special then call him on 002 0105705025. you won't regret it, and you'll take home some special memories of a wonderful country.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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.
The market in Luxor is an active, vibrant place.
The sellers always try to sell you food and clothes at "inconvenient and high prices", therefore always remember to "deal and bargain" with them before buying!Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
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.Related to:
- Museum Visits
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.Related to:
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Look Out for the birds!!
the Nile Valley has a lot of birdlife. Look out for this particularly beautiful one, it likes the trees and bushes close to the Nile. If you rent a house with garden you can find it there. Spend an hour alone in the garden with a bottle of wine and the company of the birds. Take time to feel how happy you are. I don't know what the name of this bird is in English, but in norwegian it is called nilsolfugl: Nile Sun Bird :)Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Wonderful temple often missed
Get a taxi to the temple of Seti 1. Its normally not included in the organised tours who stick to the tried and tested.
The time I was there, we had the temple to ourselves. It is quite big, lovely architecture, pretty well preserved, probably better than the Ramesseum, and it was a wonderful place to wander around.
It is on the West Bank, out past the Valley of the Kings on the edge of a village called (I think) Tarik.
If you want something a little different, then visit the theatre and mosque in Hassan Fathy village.
This village was built this century to house villagers from Qurna who live over the tombs on the West Bank. Needless to say, they didnt want to move and the houses were occupied by other West Bankers.
But Hassan Fathy was a brilliant architect, and his mosque is very beautiful. There is also a small theatre, a bit like an ampitheatre where they put on plays on a regular basis.
The village itself is now part of Qurna, and you can reach it by taking the main road from the ferry drop off, towards the ticket office on the West Bank. After you go through the last police check point, and just before you head out into open countryside you will be in Hassan Fathy village. The theatre and mosque are on a little square just off the main road on the right. If you find yourself anywhere near the Colossi of Memnon, you have gone too far!
Medinet Habu in Thebes
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.
About 50kms south of Luxor and the closest major ruins along the Nile is the Temple of Khnum (ram god). Esna was an important town when the trade route between Egypt and Sudan was developed, and was capital of the Third Nome of Upper Egypt under the Romans.
When discovered in the 1860s, only the Hypostyle Hall was uncovered - the entrance is 10 metres below the level of the ground and the modern town has been built upon what is believed to be extensive ruins.
The claim to fame for the temple and Esna is the forest of columns at the entrance (the roof is still intact) and its ornate ceiling, covered as they are with hieroglyphs, texts and paintings. What is also unusual about Esna is the images themselves - rams, scorpions, crocodiles, winged dogs, two-headed snakes - images that do not feature very frequently elsewhere.
River Nile cruises
And then Luxor is the gateway to the River Nile cruises of Pharaonic Egypt and a tourist Mecca (and has been since the 19th century Nile steamers used the town as a base). To the north is Abydos and Dendara, to the south Esna, Idfu, Kom Ombo, Philae and Abu Simbel, the world's highest concentration of ancient monuments, dating from c1900BC through to Roman and Byzantine times.
This is Luxor too
I know why we all go to Luxor and I agree that the most important is to see the anciant monuments but if you have some time go aside from the main bulevards and beautiful cornishe to see what real life looks like for many who live there.
Escape from the hassle on the West Bank
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.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
When we were crossing the Bridge from the east to the west bank of the river Nile I spoted the statues on both sides. I supose they are new but nevertheless, they have the nice symbolic meaning. The statues represented Hous, the anciant god of predynastic Egypt, later addopted as a god in pharaoh's times. This falcon statues were put here to "protect" the souls of the dead.
Closed to the Public
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!
- Historical Travel
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