There are many big and beautiful temples in the country of Egypt, and I was lucky to get the chance to explore over half a dozen of them during my time there. A few stood out to me as especially interesting, and one of those was Luxor Temple in the city of Luxor, which is actually the site of the ancient city of Thebes.
During a three night cruise on the Nile River, our boat docked in Luxor and our wonderful guide, Nadeem, brought us over to the temple to have a look around and learn the area’s truly unique history. I was immediately drawn to the tall pillars and intricately carved walls. A lot of the site had been buried and/or destroyed, and it was an extensive excavation that began during the late 19th century and continued through the mid-20th century that gives the temple the look and layout it has today.
Like many ancient sites around the world, this temple complex has been through a lot and has had a multifaceted history written for it. It was built somewhere around 1300 BC most likely by Amenhotep III and added onto by subsequent prominent Egyptians, including Tutankhamun, Horemheb, and Ramses II. During the Roman era, even more was added, possibly including the main gateway that modern tourists use. They also renovated existing areas into a basilica of sorts, covering ancient hieroglyphic carvings with colorful Christian paintings. It has been said that Roman soldiers kept a fort within the temple walls and used the space to conduct government business.
A mosque (which is still in use today) was built unknowingly over part of the temple ruins and had to be meticulously looked after during the excavation process. Now it sits just above the complex and has become a beautiful and unique piece of the site as a whole.
It was nearly 40 degrees Celsius during my visit, so sunscreen and cool clothing are a must if you plan wander the entire complex during the summer. I enjoyed having a tour guide lead me through because he was able to tell us so many interesting facts in addition to knowing the best way to get around the inside. If you find yourself in the area, also be sure not to miss the Temple of Karnak, which is close at hand. The Avenues of the Sphinxes at these separate temple complexes were apparently once connected! You’ll also find another interesting atmosphere in the Luxor markets.