City of Palaces
[ citation needed ]
|• Total||416 km2 (161 sq mi)|
|Elevation||76 m (249 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+02:00 (EET)|
|Area code(s)||(+20) 95|
|Official name||Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis|
|Criteria||i, iii, vi|
|Designated||1979 (3rd session)|
|Region||Egyptian Governorates, Northern Africa, African Union|
Luxor ( /, -/ ; Arabic : الأقصرl-aqṣurEgyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈloʔsˤoɾ] , Upper Egyptian pronunciation:[ˈloɡsˤor]; Coptic : ⲡⲁⲡⲉbabe ) is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 506,535 (2012 estimate), with an area of approximately 417 square kilometres (161 sq mi).
The modern city sprawls to the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Waset, also known as Nut (Coptic : ⲛⲏ) and to the Greeks as Thebes or Diospolis, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open-air museum", as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the River Nile, lie the monuments, temples and tombs of the west bank Necropolis, which includes the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
Thousands of tourists from all around the world arrive annually to visit these monuments, contributing greatly to the economy of the modern city.
The primary name used prior to Arabic conquest was Sahidic Coptic ⲡⲁⲡⲉ which comes from Demotic Ỉp.t "the adyton". The Greek forms Ἀπις and Ὠφιεῖον come from the same source.
The name Luxor is almost a literal translation of another Greek and Coptic toponym (τὰ Τρία Κάστρα ta tria kastra and ⲡϣⲟⲙⲧ ⲛ̀ⲕⲁⲥⲧⲣⲟⲛ pshomt enkastron respectively, both mean "three castles" الأقصر), lit. "the palaces" or "the castles" from the collective plural of qaṣr (قصر), which may be a loanword from the Latin castrum "fortified camp".) and comes from the Arabic al-ʾuqṣur (
Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of (Upper) Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of Amun, later to become the god Amun-Ra. The city was regarded in the Ancient Egyptian texts as wꜣs.t (approximate pronunciation: "Waset"), which meant "city of the sceptre", and later in Demotic Egyptian as tꜣ jpt (conventionally pronounced as "ta ipet" and meaning "the shrine/temple", referring to the jpt-swt, the temple now know by its Arabic name, Karnak, meaning "fortified village"), which the Greeks adapted as Thebai and the Romans after them Thebae. Thebes was also known as "the city of the 100 gates", sometimes being called "southern Heliopolis" ('Iunu-shemaa' in Ancient Egyptian), to distinguish it from the city of Iunu or Heliopolis, the main place of worship for the god Ra in the north. It was also often referred to as niw.t, which simply means "city", and was one of only three cities in Egypt for which this noun was used (the other two were Memphis and Heliopolis); it was also called niw.t rst, "southern city", as the southernmost of them.
The importance of the city started as early as the 11th Dynasty, when the town grew into a thriving city.Montuhotep II who united Egypt after the troubles of the first intermediate period brought stability to the lands as the city grew in stature. The Pharaohs of the New Kingdom in their expeditions to Kush, in today's northern Sudan, and to the lands of Canaan, Phoenicia and Syria saw the city accumulate great wealth and rose to prominence, even on a world scale. Thebes played a major role in expelling the invading forces of the Hyksos from Upper Egypt, and from the time of the 18th Dynasty to the 20th Dynasty, the city had risen as the political, religious and military capital of Ancient Egypt.
The city attracted peoples such as the Babylonians, the Mitanni, the Hittites of Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), the Canaanites of Ugarit, the Phoenicians of Byblos and Tyre, the Minoans from the island of Crete.A Hittite prince from Anatolia even came to marry with the widow of Tutankhamun, Ankhesenamun. The political and military importance of the city, however, faded during the Late Period, with Thebes being replaced as political capital by several cities in Northern Egypt, such as Bubastis, Sais and finally Alexandria.
However, as the city of the god Amun-Ra, Thebes remained the religious capital of Egypt until the Greek period.The main god of the city was Amun, who was worshipped together with his wife, the Goddess Mut, and their son Khonsu, the God of the moon. With the rise of Thebes as the foremost city of Egypt, the local god Amon rose in importance as well and became linked to the sun god Ra, thus creating the new 'king of gods' Amon-Ra. His great temple, at Karnak just north of Thebes, was the most important temple of Egypt right until the end of antiquity.
Later, the city was attacked by Assyrian emperor Assurbanipal who installed the Libyan prince on the throne, Psamtik I.The city of Thebes was in ruins and fell in significance. However, Alexander the Great did arrive at the temple of Amun, where the statue of the god was transferred from Karnak during the Opet Festival, the great religious feast. Thebes remained a site of spirituality up to the Christian era, and attracted numerous Christian monks in the Roman Empire who established monasteries amidst several ancient monuments including the temple of Hatshepsut, now called Deir el-Bahri ("the northern monastery").
Luxor has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) like the rest of Egypt. Aswan and Luxor have the hottest summer days of any other city in Egypt. Aswan and Luxor have nearly the same climate. Luxor is one of the sunniest and driest cities in the world. Average high temperatures are above 40 °C (104 °F) during summer (June, July, August) During the coldest month of the year, average high temperatures remain above 22 °C (71.6 °F) while average low temperatures remain above 5 °C (41 °F).
The climate of Luxor has precipitation levels lower than even most other places in the Sahara, with less than 1 mm (0.04 in) of average annual precipitation. The desert city is one of the driest ones in the world, and rainfall does not occur every year. The air in Luxor is more humid than Aswan but still very dry. There is an average relative humidity of 39.9%, with a maximum mean of 57% during winter and a minimum mean of 27% during summer.
The climate of Luxor is extremely clear, bright and sunny year-round, in all seasons, with a low seasonal variation, with about some 4,000 hours of annual sunshine, very close of the maximum theoretical sunshine duration.
In addition, Luxor, Minya, Sohag, Qena and Asyut have the widest difference of temperatures between days and nights of any city in Egypt, with almost 16 °C (29 °F) difference.
The hottest temperature recorded was on May 15, 1991 which was 50 °C (122 °F) and the coldest temperature was on February 6, 1989 which was −1 °C (30 °F).
|Climate data for Luxor|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.9|
|Average high °C (°F)||23.0|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||13.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||5.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||−0.3|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||0|
|Average precipitation days||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||0.0||1.0||1.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||55||47||39||31||29||27||30||33||37||43||51||57||39.9|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||9||10||10||10||11||12||12||12||11||10||10||9||11|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: Weather2Travel for sunshine|
The Coptic Catholic (Alexandrian Rite) minority established on November 26, 1895 an Eparchy (Eastern Catholic Diocese) of Luqsor (Luxor) alias Thebes, on territory split off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Egypt. Its episcopal see is a St. George cathedral in Luxor.
In turn, it lost territory on August 10, 1947 to establish the Eparchy of Assiut and again on 14 September 1981 to establish Sohag.
The economy of Luxor, like that of many other Egyptian cities, is heavily dependent upon tourism. Large numbers of people also work in agriculture, particularly sugarcane. There are also many industries, such as the pottery industry used in eating and many other uses.
The local economy was hit by the Luxor massacre in 1997, in which a total of 64 people (including 59 visiting tourists) were killed, at the time the worst terrorist attack in Egypt (before the Sharm el-Sheikh terrorist attacks).The massacre reduced tourist numbers for several years. Following the 2011 Arab Spring, tourism to Egypt dropped significantly, again affecting local tourist markets.
To make up for shortfalls of income, many cultivate their own food. Goat's cheese, pigeons, subsidized and home-baked bread and homegrown tomatoes are commonplace among the majority of its residents.
A controversial tourism development plan aims to transform Luxor into the biggest vast open-air museum. The master plan envisions new roads, five-star hotels, glitzy shops, and an IMAX theatre. The main attraction is an 11 million dollar project to unearth and restore the 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) long Avenue of Sphinxes that once linked Luxor and Karnak temples. The ancient processional road was built by the pharaoh Amenhotep III and took its final form under Nectanebo I in 400 BCE. Over a thousand sphinx statues lined the road now being excavated which was covered by silt, homes, mosques and churches. Excavation started around 2004.
On 18 April 2019, the Egyptian Government announced the discovery of a previously unopened coffin in Luxor, dated back to 18th dynasty of Upper and Lower Egypt.According to the Minister of Antiquities Khaled el Anani, it is the biggest rock-cut tomb to be unearthed in the ancient city of Thebes. It is one of the largest, well-preserved tombs ever found near the ancient city of Luxor. On 24 November 2018, this discovery was preceded by the finding of a well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin dating back more than 3.000 years. .
Nineteen Asian and European tourists died when a hot air balloon crashed early on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 near Luxor following a mid-air gas explosion. It was one of the worst accidents involving tourists in Egypt and likely to push the tourism industry deeper into recession. The casualties included French, British, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong.
Luxor is served by Luxor International Airport.
A bridge was opened in 1998, a few kilometres upstream of the main town of Luxor, allowing ready land access from the east bank to the west bank. Traditionally river crossings have been the domain of several ferry services. The so-called 'local ferry' (also known as the 'National Ferry') continues to operate from a landing opposite the Temple of Luxor.
Transport to sites on the west bank are serviced by taxi drivers who often approach ferry passengers.[ citation needed ] There are also local cars that reach some of the monuments for 25 piasters, although tourists rarely use them. Alternatively, motorboats line both banks of the Nile all day providing a quicker, but more expensive (5 L.E.), crossing to the other side.
The city of Luxor on the east bank has several bus routes used mainly by locals. Tourists often rely on horse carriages, called "calèches", for transport or tours around the city. Taxis are plentiful, and reasonably priced, and since the government has decreed that taxis older than 20 years will not be relicensed, there are many modern air-conditioned cabs. Recently, new roads have been built in the city to cope with the growth in traffic.
For domestic travel along the route of the Nile, a rail service operates several times a day. A morning train and sleeping train can be taken from the railway station situated around 400 metres (440 yd) from Luxor Temple. The line runs between several major destinations, including Cairo to the north and Aswan to the south.
Luxor is twinned with the following cities:
Aswan is a city in the south of Egypt, and is the capital of the Aswan Governorate.
Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome and was the capital of Egypt for long periods during the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom eras. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult center and the most venerated city of ancient Egypt during its heyday. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and where the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.
Mut, also known as Maut and Mout, was a mother goddess worshipped in ancient Egypt. Her name literally means mother in the ancient Egyptian language. Mut had many different aspects and attributes that changed and evolved a lot over the thousands of years of ancient Egyptian culture.
Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives of Ramesses the Great. Nefertari means 'beautiful companion' and Meritmut means 'Beloved of [the goddess] Mut'. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Hatshepsut. She was highly educated and able to both read and write hieroglyphs, a very rare skill at the time. She used these skills in her diplomatic work, corresponding with other prominent royals of the time. Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is one of the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument there.
The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings near Luxor, in Egypt. Construction at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex gives its name to the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of El-Karnak, 2.5 kilometres north of Luxor.
Articles related to Egypt include:
Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor and was constructed approximately 1400 BCE. In the Egyptian language it is known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary". In Luxor there are several great temples on the east and west banks. Four of the major mortuary temples visited by early travelers include the Temple of Seti I at Gurnah, the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, the Temple of Ramesses II, and the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu; the two primary cults temples on the east bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the pharaoh in death. Instead, Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the pharaohs of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually.
Deir el-Bahari or Dayr al-Bahri is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt. This is a part of the Theban Necropolis.
Menkheperre, son of Pharaoh Pinedjem I by wife Duathathor-Henuttawy, was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 1045 BC to 992 BC and de facto ruler of the south of the country.
The Precinct of Amun-Re, located near Luxor, Egypt, is one of the four main temple enclosures that make up the immense Karnak Temple Complex. The precinct is by far the largest of these and the only one that is open to the general public. The temple complex is dedicated to the principal god of the Theban Triad, Amun, in the form of Amun-Re.
Nitocris I served as the heir to, and then, as the Divine Adoratrice of Amun or God's Wife of Amun for a period of more than seventy years, between 655 BC and 585 BC.
Spanning over two thousand years in total, what is called ancient Egypt was not one stable civilization, but instead a civilization in constant change and upheaval commonly split into periods by historians. Likewise, ancient Egyptian architecture is not one style, but a set of styles with commonalities used during each period of ancient Egyptian history.
The Beautiful Feast of Opet was an Ancient Egyptian festival celebrated annually in Thebes (Luxor), during the New Kingdom and in later periods. The statues of the deities of the Theban Triad — Amun, Mut and their child Khonsu — were escorted in a joyous procession, though hidden from sight in a sacred barque, from the temple of Amun in Karnak, to the temple of Luxor, a journey of more than 1 mile, in a marital celebration. The highlight of the ritual was the meeting of Amun-Re of Karnak with the Amun of Luxor. Rebirth was a strong theme of Opet and there was usually a re-coronation ceremony of the pharaoh.
The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
Ankhnesneferibre was an ancient Egyptian princess and priestess during the 26th Dynasty, daughter of pharaoh Psamtik II and his queen Takhuit. She held the positions of Divine Adoratrice of Amun and later God's Wife of Amun between 595 and 525 BC, during the reigns of Psamtik II, Apries, Amasis II and Psamtik III, until the Achaemenid conquest of Egypt.
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The history of the Karnak Temple complex is largely the history of Thebes. The city does not appear to have been of any significance before the Eleventh Dynasty, and any temple building here would have been relatively small and unimportant, with any shrines being dedicated to the early god of Thebes, Montu. The earliest artifact found in the area of the temple is a small, eight-sided column from the Eleventh Dynasty, which mentions Amun-Re. The tomb of Intef II mentions a 'house of Amun', which implies some structure, whether a shrine or a small temple is unknown. The ancient name for Karnak, Ipet-Isut only really refers to the central core structures of the Precinct of Amun-Re, and was in use as early as the 11th Dynasty, again implying the presence of some form of temple before the Middle Kingdom expansion.
The Ancient Egyptian noble Sennefer was "Mayor of the City" and "Overseer of the Granaries and Fields, Gardens and Cattle of Amun" during the reign of Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty. Being a favourite of the king he accumulated great wealth. He was also allowed to place a double statue of himself and his wife in the temple at Karnak. The famous garden plan, often described is Sennefer's Garden, is more likely to be of a garden which Sennefer managed, and perhaps designed, than to be of a garden which Sennefer owned.
The Ancient Egyptian Noble Paser was vizier, in the reigns of Seti I and Ramesses II, during the 19th dynasty. He would later also become High Priest of Amun.
Tourism is one of the leading sources of income, crucial to Egypt's economy. At its peak in 2010 the sector employed about 12% of Egypt's workforce serving approximately 14.7 million visitors Egypt, and providing revenues of nearly $12.5 billion. as well as contributing more than 11% of GDP and 14.4% of foreign currency revenues.
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