Luxor is one of the most visited sites south of Giza, and is used as the arrival or departure point for most Nile cruises. The ruins are right next to the Nile, and are a short drive away from the ruins at Karnak. They are also open at night, when the temple complex is lit up with multicolor lights that give the carvings and structures a new look that has to be seen to be appreciated. Above is the entrance point to the Luxor complex. The tall pylons (the wall like buildings) form the gateway to the site, guarded by two huge seated statues of Ramesses II. A single obelisk stands to one side of the gateway, though there used to be a pair originally. One standing statue remains of the original four, and the niches in the pylons (where tall flagstaffs once stood) are now empty.


This is an artist's interpretation as to how Luxor would have looked in the times of the ancient Egyptians. Compare it to the photo above it to see the "before and after".


This shows the size of the remaining ruins at Luxor, and their proximity to the river Nile. Luxor is famous for its rows of beautiful columns, which once held a number of roofs that are now gone. Can you find the five groups of columns? (Hint: the closest group is headed towards the Nile, while four others are parallel to it.) In the upper right of the photo you can see the backside of the entrance pylons. Just to the right of the gap between the pylons is what looks like a white rocket or tower. This is actually the minaret of a Muslim mosque, which was built on top of the ruins while they were still buried. Once the temple complex was excavated from the earth the mosque was found to be on top of a temple building, where it remains today.


These columns are quite elegant in their form, which represent budding papyrus plants. This is the view from the courtyard towards the Nile, which is just beyond the trees that line the nearby road running by the complex.


Near the temple of Luxor is a separate museum (with a separate admission price). While much smaller than the Cairo museum, it is newer, and well worth visiting. It contains many items that were found at the ruins of Luxor and Karnak, including a collection of excellently preserved statues that were found buried under part of a temple courtyard at Luxor in 1989. Above are some of the statues in the Luxor Museum. They are all lifesize or larger. The one on the right is the statue of Tuthmosis III, which was found at Karnak in 1904.


Other items in the Luxor Museum include some well preserved sarcophagi, such as this painted cartonnage coffin that belonged to the "Mistress of the House, Shepenkhonsu." It dates from Dynasties 21-23, and was found in 1957.