The Theban Necropolis, Ancient City of Thebes and Karnak and Luxor Temples: Travel Thoughts 10



Luxor had none of the hustle and bustle and pure busyness of Cairo which we had left in the early hours of the morning. Driving through the town I felt this was a place that I could return and spend more time. As it was we had a couple of days here to visit the Temples of Karnak, Luxor and Queen Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings.

On our drive from the airport we saw the uncovering of the ram headed sphinxes that connected Karnak and Luxor Temples.


We again saw these when we visited Karnak in the ancient city of Thebes, once the largest city in the world.


The building of Karnak temple spanned over 2000 years celebrating the local Gods Amun, Mut, Khonsu and the pharohs themselves. During his reign, Amenhotep 111 (1388 – 1350 BC)  poured much of his wealth into the mortuary temple of Karnak, the Avenue of Sphinxes and Luxor Temple. Rameses 11 (1279 – 1213 BC) carried out extensive building projects. With many pharohs before and after adding their bit.


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020

We were lucky to have an Egyptologist as a guide and he explained the meanings of the heiroglyphics, cartouches and stories that were so well preserved on the walls and columns of the temple and the chapels. In fact he gave us too much information as a brain can take in only so much and then it hasn’t a hope of remembering. He pointed out the world’s first cartoon and showed very early graffiti. It gave me a different idea of grafitti as this was early – done before christ but perhaps a thousand years after the piece had been set. Doesn’t that give us a social history that perhaps tells its own story?


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020

Karnak is the largest religious building ever made and covers about 200 acres. The Hypostyle Hall is the largest room of any religious building in the world and has 134 columns. As well as the main chamber there are several smaller temples and a temple lake.


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020

The place was crowded but I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it would have been to have seen this when I was at school.


© irene waters 2020

At times it felt as though you had stepped back in time.


© irene waters 2020

The Temple lake. Behind where I took this photo was a giant scarab (dung beetle) dedicated to the sun god. Our guide told us that if you walked anticlockwise around this beetle at least 9 times you would gain great luck. I don’t know if this is true or not but we did it. Personally I think that all the guides had a good laugh as they watched us .


© irene waters 2020

Outside the main temple complex there was evidence of continued work unearthing yet more treasures. I believe that no matter where you dug in Egypt you would find something of significance. I wondered how long that mud brick wall had been there.


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020

We left Karnak walking through the avenue of sphynxes and were taken to our boat that was to be our home for the next week.


© irene waters 2020

Roger was not feeling at all well. Someone had come on the trip sick and had passed it on to everyone by this stage apart from me so I headed off to Luxor Temple by myself. It seemed that each temple we visited was better than the last and by now we were over-awed.

Like Karnak, Luxor Temple was situated on the East bank of the Nile. Built 1400 BC it is the only temple that is not just significant as an archaelogical and tourist site as it still has religious activity happening within the temple grounds. The Abbu Haggag mosque is found in the temple grounds.


© irene waters 2020

Alexander the Great claims to have been crowned here along with many other Egyptian pharaohs. Seeing the temple at night was atmospheric and beautiful.


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020


© irene waters 2020

Having had a 4am start to catch our plane I was now feeling more than a little tired and I was glad I had opted to not go on the hot air balloon trip over the Valley of the Kings. Those going would have another predawn start. I looked forward to a sleep in before exploring the Valley of the Kings.




About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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9 Responses to The Theban Necropolis, Ancient City of Thebes and Karnak and Luxor Temples: Travel Thoughts 10

  1. mvschulze says:

    So impressed with your descriptions above.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    What amazing sights, up close and personal. I feel like we were interrupted in this trip and I’m happy to return to Egypt with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. noelleg44 says:

    Loved this, Irene, since we visited there. We only saw Karnak at night but it was spectacular and more than a little overwhelming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Noelle, We went to Philae at night (also in daylight) and if that was anything to go by then Karnac would have been spectacular. It was still overwhelming in daylight and you just couldn’t take it all in (and remember it). I would have had to have a recorder and it is next to impossible to find out what I want to find out to explain some of the photos I took on the internet. I would return and perhaps one day I will.


  4. Pingback: Sounds of Egypt: Travel Thoughts 12 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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