DAY 14 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Today was a great day in Luxor, located 500 miles south of Cairo. It was also a very hot day, with temps reaching around 110. After getting up early and driving to the airport for our 5 a.m. flight, we arrived in Luxor at 6 a.m.. Greeted by our new driver, we boarded the van and drove to the Hatshepsut Temple located on the west side of the Nile. Like the rest of the day, hardly anyone was here at this amazing site because of the tourism decline. We saw various hieroglyphic, reliefs, pillars, and temple chambers. One of the reliefs was that of Thutmose III, a Pharaoh who was successful in 17 military campaigns, and the same Pharaoh who said, “To capture Megiddo (in the heart of Israel) is like capturing 1,000 cities…”
Also on the west side of the Nile is the Valley of the Kings & Queens. 67 tombs of the Pharaohs and 6-7 tombs of the queens have been located to date. This includes the tomb of King Tut, Thutmose III, Nefertari, and many of the Ramses’ family. We went into the tombs of Ramses IV & IX, Septah & Tawesret (in Valley of the Kings), and Seth-her-khopsef (in Valley of the Queens). The later was a son/prince of Ramses III. A fetus son was also displayed her.
Before leaving the west side of the Nile, we also visited a stone & alabaster store. We saw how they hand-make beautiful vases, etc… We also saw the Colossi of Memnon (Greek name for Amenhotep). From here we took a small boat across the Nile River. We enjoyed lunch at the Sonesta Luxor Hotel. It was a nice break from the hot sun.
In the afternoon we visited two massive temples on the east side of the Nile, the first of which was the Temple of Karnak. It was Thutmose I who brought the capital of Egypt here to Thebes/Luxor. According to Egypt mythology, Amon-Ra, the chief god, resided here in the Temple of Karnak. Leading up to the temple, we saw part of the impressive street decorated on each side with sphinx with ram’s heads. This street connected this temple with the temple of Luxor for 2 miles (with 3,000 sphinx). In the temple saw the hypostyle chamber of Seti I and Ramses II, complete with 134 columns) as well as the relief of Thutmose III depicting his 17 military campaigns. We also saw reliefs of a certain peoples’ group known as the Habiru. This relief may preserve the coming of Joseph to Egypt. We also saw a few obelisks as well as the “holy chamber” of the Temple, complete with an altar.
Finally, we visited the Temple of Luxor. High statutes of Ramses II can be seen here, preserving his great battle victory at Kadesh. Many “papyrus-style” pillars still stand tall.
At 6, we boarded our plane back to Cairo. Arriving in Cairo an hour later, we once again we greeted by our agent and van. We drove back to the hotel along the Nile for a late dinner.
It was a hot but very exciting day in Luxor!
DAY 15 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: CAIRO, PYRAMIDS & SPHINX, MEMPHIS & SAKKARA