2017-10-15 Sanctuary Sunboat 1V, Esna to Luxor, Egypt

Our last day of our 7 day cruise aboard the Sanctuary Sunboat 1V is spent visiting some of the amazing sites in and around Luxor
We board one of the local ferries which takes us down river towards the drop off point for our transport to the ancient sites
Lucky we didn’t book with this company………
The Luxor ferries are hard to miss with their bright colours

A couple of vehicles are waiting to transport us to the sites
Driving through the rich farming area around Luxor, shows the importance of the River Nile for irrigation
A coffee shop in the middle of the rural area….handy for the locals and the workers!!
Probably not the safest place to sleep by the road…
Sweet potatoes for roasting
We pass rice paddies on the outskirts of Luxor
Some local farmers catching up on some local gossip while tending to their animals
The first ancient site we visit is the Colossi of Memnon (also known as el-Colossat or el-Salamat) which are two monumental statues representing Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE) of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt
As we descend from the vehicles, the Egyptian salesmen are patiently waiting behind an imaginary line for prospective customers

For the past 3,400 years (since 1350 BC), the statues have stood in the Theban Necropolis, located west of the River Nile from the city of Luxor
Behind the Colossi of Memnon lies the old site of the The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III. Unfortunately very little still remains of the temple apart from a few smaller statues still standing
We continue north in the direction of the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is situated in an isolated valley surrounded by tall hills, on the west bank of the River Nile, north west of the ancient city of Thebes which is now called Luxor. The vast City of the Dead, as it is locally know, is where magnificent tombs were carved into the desert rocks, decorated richly and filled with treasure for the afterlife by generations of Pharoahs
On our arrival at the Valley of the Kings we unfortunately had to leave our cameras and phones behind as photography was banned at the ancient site
The small lookout oversees the ancient valley which 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 of Egypt
After spending well over an hour exploring many of the ancient tombs we continue on our tour of the world renown ancient area of Egypt
The Tombs of the Nobles, which is one of the lesser visited ancient sites here, were burial places of some of the powerful courtiers and persons of the ancient city
We next pass the ‘Temple of Millions of Years of Amenhotep II’
Local housing

In the distance we see a magnificent multistory building which looked as if it could have been built in modern times. This building which was built into the hillside backs on to the tombs of the Valley of the Kings
After arriving at the car park of the amazing site we make our way towards the spectacular Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is also known as the Djeser-Djeseru  which means the “Holy of Holies”. It is an ancient funerary shrine built by the second confirmed female, an Eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh, called Hatshepsut, who is believed to have died in 1458 BC at the age of 65
It is quite incredible how well preserved this ancient temple is, however one would imagine some restoration has occurred over the years
Under Hatshepsut many construction projects took place and she was arguably a greater builder, more than all her Middle Kingdom predecessors, due to the great number and magnificence of her projects during her reign. Her greatest structure built is this temple, named the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Situated at Deir el Bahari it is considered to be one of the architectural wonders of ancient Egypt. It was designed and implemented by Senemut, who was an important advisor to Hatshepsut, and some say perhaps was also her lover
It is said Hapshepsut reigned for almost 20 years and was one of the most successful Pharaohs of all time and Egypt certainly prospered under her reign
Original paintings can be found at this incredible site
Sitting by the statue of the God of Horus
Us infront of the amazing Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut
We continue on our tour of the ancient sites of the area
Next we make our way to the Valley of the Queens, which is situated south west from the Valley of the Kings and the adjoining Hatshepsut Temple
Arriving at the Valley of the Queens, the same regulation of not being able to take a phone or a camera to the site was still in place
The vicinity of the Valley of the Queens

The City of New Qurna which is situated on the opposite side of the River Nile (west bank) to the ancient city of Luxor
By ferry we return to the boat for a late lunch and some relaxation after our busy sightseeing tour of the wonderful ancient sites around Luxor
Late afternoon Alaa the guide from our boat, accompanied a couple of us to go for a tour to Karnak and the Luxor Temple
As we arrive at the site a majestic avenue of ram headed sphinxes leads us to the first pylon of the Temple of Karnak

In the first courtyard we find the colossal statue of Pinedjem on the left
We enter the Hypostyle Hall with it’s massive pillars
………and statues and painted architraves

During her reign, Hatshepsut had four gigantic Obelisks erected, of which only one still remains and to this day it is the tallest ancient obelisk in the world. Tutmose 1 later erected another smaller one which still stands here at the Temple of Karnak

Part of the fallen obelisk dedicated to Pharaoh Amon-Ofis III
The sacred lake which was dug by the Pharaoh, Tuthmosis III (1473-1458 BC) and is the largest of its kind and was used by the priests for ritual washing and ritual navigation

The Hypostyle hall covers an area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 sq meters) and is filled with 134 gigantic stone columns with 12 larger columns standing 80 feet (24 m) high lining the central aisle.

We continue back to the entrance of the Temple of Karnak and return to the car to make our way to  the nearby Temple of Luxor
We arrive at the well lit up pylon of the Temple of Luxor with the 25 m tall obelisk and the Colossi of Ramses II
Beyond the entrance is the courtyard of Rames II in which stands two rows of columns. The capitals of the columns represent a closed papyrus flower and in between the columns are Osirian statues

We follow the imposing colonnade which is 25 m long that leads to another courtyard
The courtyard of Amon-Ofis III is surrounded on three sides by double rows of impressive columns

The seated statue of Rames II at the entrance to Luxor Temple
Once we leave the ancient site we pass the very long avenue of rams head sphinxes which originally joined the Temple of Karnak to the Temple of Luxor
Once back aboard the boat and after freshening up for the final dinner of the cruise, I joined one of the two only tables, this time without Ric.  He unfortunately was unable to join the few remaining guests (14 in total) due to a stomach upset
Another beautifully prepared and delicious main course
The farewell ‘Bombe Alaska’ was once again served tonight
Decadent but very nice……

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