At first I was disheartened that my experience at Luxor was planned for early evening. After all, Luxor is one of the best preserved of all of Egypt’s ancient monuments, offering a great deal to see…and I wanted to see it all in the bright light of day. However, the softening of the sun and the elongating of the shadows cast by the large structures and statuary did not disappoint. There is no incentive for the crowds to leave Luxor at the end of the day because when the sun starts to set, Luxor becomes even more exotic. At twilight, I was still one of many people there, but at this time of day, human voices begin to soften and Luxor begins to whisper its incredible story that is not only Egyptian, but Moslem and Christian as well.
The entrance to the temple complex begins the story. Known as the first pylon, this gate was built by Ramesses II, a man who bears the distinction of being known as Ramesses the Great. At one time, six colossal statues stood guard in front of the temple entrance, but today, only the two seated ones are original.
Even with what remains centuries later, the message sent by Ramesses II is clearly one of power.
The 75 foot tall red granite obelisk, located near the seated Ramesses II, once had a companion. Today, as with many other Egyptian articles of antiquity, the companion obelisk is the treasure of another country; it stands in the Place de la Concord in Paris, France. Below, you will see this magnificent treasure sharing the photo with the Eiffel Tower…
and here it is being a star on its own. Thanks to my Traveling Companion for contributing these 2018 photos.
Luckily, at least one of these priceless 3000 year old artifacts remains where it was erected and meant to be….at Luxor.
In case the spirit of Ramesses II does not make its presence clear at the pylon gate, the next courtyard has a number of enormous, standing Ramesses II statues.
Walk down double rows of papyrus columns. These columns once supported a roof.
Marvel at the still active Mosque of Abu Haggag. This mosque is located inside Luxor and alongside the ancient Luxor ruins. The mosque was literally built on top of the ruins of an Egyptian temple site that dates back to the 14th century BC. If you look carefully at this photo, you will see a horizontal line that indicates where the mosque was built upon the Egyptian temple. Modern day excavation and restoration projects reveal new Luxor secrets almost daily.
Many believe that Christianity and Ancient Egyptian beliefs meet in this Christian mural that was painted over Egyptian hieroglyphics. Could these men be the deciples of Jesus?
Visitors try to decipher the silent secrets of ancient writings….and some visitors, like me, discover a favorite symbol. It could be the lotus flower…which represents the sun … creation….rebirth…..the circle of life by opening in the morning and closing at night…all beautiful metaphors….
But my favorite is the ankh. The ankh is a design that looks like a cross with a loop on the top.
The ankh is an Egyptian hieroglyph for life or the breath of life. You can see my favorite symbol right here in the middle of both walls,
on this wall of colorfully painted hieroglyphs
and, happily, on my arm.
Never leave Luxor before seeing the statue of King Tut and his half sister and great royal wife, Ankhesenamun. Tut and his queen sit quietly, side by side. Their royal statue is only marred by Ankhesenamun’s missing nose. Our guide, Ahmed Tantawy, called attention to the queen’s missing nose. The story goes that she was unhappy with her real nose and had the nose of the statue altered until she found a version that pleased her. There is no proof as to how many times she changed the nose to suit her desired view of herself, but amazingly, this gives Ankhesenamun some ancient hypothetical credit for a type of cosmetic surgery.
There’s a great deal of authentic splendor taking place at Luxor when the sun actually goes down.
Love, Unseasoned Traveler