DAY 12 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28: LUXOR: VALLEY OF KINGS, TEMPLES OF HATSHEPSUT, MEDINET HABU, KARNAK, & LUXOR, EVENING FLIGHT BACK TO CAIRO
Today was an incredible day of seeing ancient Egypt in all its glory! We spent the entire day in Luxor. The day would be fully sunny, with highs around 80.
Colossi of Memnon (Ahmenhotep III)
We ate an early breakfast this morning in order to leave our airport at 7 am. We read from Exodus 12 as we drove across the Nile River. We briefly stopped at the Colossi of Memnon. These once stood at the entrance of a large temple.
Valley of the Kings
We continued to the Valley of the Kings. A total of 63 tombs of ancient pharaohs (and a few prime ministers). This includes the famous King Tut, Nefartari, Nefartiti, Ramses II, and Thutmose III. We went into three tombs: Ramses III, IV, and IX. The brilliant colors are still well preserved.
“Luxor was incredible today! I was blown away by the size of the tombs and temples we visited. Ancient Egypt comes alive here at Luxor, especially when so many of the Pharaohs had a tomb or temple built here!” -Tour member-
Temple of Hatshepsut
Close by was the Temple of Hatshepsut. She may have been the Pharaoh’s daughter who rescued Moses (Ex. 2). This was a funerary temple (like all of them were on the west side of the Nile). She lived in the 15th century BC.
Temple of Medinet Habu
The Temple of Medinet Habu is also on the west side. Here we saw the large pylons separating the parts of the Temple. This temple was in honor of Ramses III who preserved his campaign over the Sea Peoples (e.g. the Philistines of the Bible). This took place in 1175 BC. He pictured them with helmets. We saw many hieroglyphic cartouches displaying the ankh (e.g. the sign of life).
Temple of Karnak
We returned for lunch to our hotel on located the eastern side of the river. We loaded our luggage from here en route to the Temple of Karnak. This temple was huge, with nine pylons. The temple covered about 100 acres. We saw wall reliefs depicting Pharaohs Shishak and Thutmose III. The large hypostyle hall consists of 134 massive pillars. It was built by Seti I and completed by his son, Ramses II. A few obelisks are standing here too.
Temple of Luxor
Our last site was the Temple of Luxor. This temple was connected to the Temple of Karnak by a 1.5 mile-long road lined with hundreds of sphinx figures. The temple is lined with statues of Ramses II. The carvings in the granite are quite impressive.
Flight to Cairo
In the late afternoon we drove back to the Luxor airport. After a double security check, we boarded our plane back to Cairo. Arriving here, we again boarded our bus and drove to the hotel for a late dinner. What an incredible view from our hotel window of the Nile River! We are looking forward to spending the day in and around Cairo tomorrow!