Luxor is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Egypt. It is famous for its ancient Egyptian temples and monuments, as well as for its bustling markets and vibrant nightlife. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best things to see and do in Luxor.
The population of Luxor is 422,407 (2021), with an area of approximately 417 km2 (161 sq mi). It is the capital of Luxor Governorate. It is among the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
Luxor has frequently been characterized as the “world’s greatest open-air museum”, as the ruins of the Egyptian 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 Theban 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 Luxor’s monuments, contributing greatly to the economy of the modern city.
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 wAs.t (approximate pronunciation: “Waset”), which meant “city of the sceptre”, and later in Demotic Egyptian as ta jpt (conventionally pronounced as “tA ipt” and meaning “the shrine/temple”, referring to the jpt-swt, the temple now known by its Arabic name Karnak, meaning “fortified village”), which the ancient Greeks adapted as Thebai and the Romans after them as 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.