Located 420 miles south of Cairo, Luxor is the most important and impressive historical site in all Egypt, and has often been called the world's greatest open-air museum. Luxor is the modern name for Thebes, ancient capital city of the New Kingdom Pharaohs (1550 BC - 1070 BC), whose glory still glowed in the memories of classical writers a thousand years after its decline. Here the booty of foreign wars, tributes, and taxes poured into the coffers of the 18th and 19th dynasty Pharaohs, each of whom surpassed his predecessor in the construction of incredible temples and tombs, creating a concentration of monuments that rivals that of any imperial city before or since.
Today, Luxor is home to more than half of all of Egypt's antiquities and is a must-see highlight on the itinerary of almost every visitor to Egypt. The town has a village atmosphere and a bustling local market, and one of the most pleasant ways to get around town is by the "caleches", or two-person horse carriages, that run along the Corniche.
West Bank of Luxor 
  • Valley of the Kings
The famous Valley of the Kings, where 62 Pharaohs are buried in rock-cut tombs, where they were adorned with gold and jewels and surrounded with treasures and replicas of all they would need in the afterlife. Frustrated by the pillage of earlier more visible tombs, they cut their tombs deep into the sandstone, away from the public view and separated from their mortuary temples. The famous tomb of the boy-king Tutenkhamun was discovered here in 1922, with over 5,000 precious items inside. Although the mummy of the young king and his treasures now lie in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, visitors can still look inside the tomb itself and marvel at the wall-paintings, and the stone sarcophagus in which King Tut's golden mummy-case was laid. 
  • Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens is where royal wives and royal princes were buried. There are at least 75 tombs in the Valley of the Queens. They belonged to queens of the 19th and 20th dynasties and other members of the royal families, including princesses and the Ramessid princes. The highlight of the Valley of the Queens is the Tomb of Queen Nefertari. Long praised as the most beautifully decorated of all the tombs on the West Bank of Luxor, this masterpiece of Egyptian art was restored by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority and the Getty Conservation Institute in the USA. Specialists worked for 6 years to clean the paintings and re-affix them to the plaster walls from where they had been flaking, and today it is hardly conceivable that such vibrant colours have actually not been retouched since they were first laid thousands of years ago.


  • Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

Rising out of the desert plain, in a series of terraces, the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut merges with the sheer limestone cliffs of the eastern face of the Theban Mountain as if nature herself had built this extraordinary monument. The partly rock-cut, partly free-standing structure is one of the finest monuments of ancient Egypt, although its original appearance, surrounded by myrrh trees, garden beds and approached by a grand sphinx-lined causeway, must have been even more spectacular.

  • Colossi of Memnon
The massive pair of statues known as The Colossi of Memnon are all that remain of the temple of the hedonistic Amenophis III. Rising about 18 meters from the surrounding plain, the enthroned, faceless statues of Amenophis have kept a lonely vigil on the changing landscape around them for centuries, surviving the rising floodwaters of the Nile which gradually destroyed the temple buildings behind them.
  • Medinet Habu
The magnificent Medinet Habu is a series of temples second only to Karnak in size and complexity, built by the Pharaoh Ramses III. Ramses, who ruled between 1182 and 1151 BC, built the Great Temple first and then settled numerous war prisoners around it. With its enclosing wall and massive storage magazines, the area grew into a city that maintained its population well into Coptic times, when it was known as Djeme. The many temples, enclosures, palaces and courtyards of Medinet Habu are carved with incredible relieves.
  • The Ramesseum
Ramses II built his fabulous mortuary temple on the site of Seti I's ruined temple. This great temple reportedly rivalled the wonders of the temple at Abu Simbel. However, Ramses built the temple too close to the Nile and the floodwaters took their toll; only a single colonnade remains of the First Courtyard. In front of the ruins is the base of the colossus of Ramses that once stood 17m high, and would have weighed more than 1,000 tons. The statue fell into the Second Courtyard and the head and torso remain there (the famous "Ozymandias" of Shelley's poem), but other broken pieces are in museums all over the world.

East Bank of Luxor


  • The Temple of Karnak
In the New Kingdom, Amun-Ra was worshipped as the most important state god, and the immense wealth of Thebes was spent embellishing and building temples in his honour. The most famous and magnificent of these is the Temple of Karnak, where 13 centuries of successive Pharaohs have contributed to over 100 acres of majestic pylons, hypostyle halls, and sacred temples. The scale of Karnak surpasses every other temple complex in the entire ancient world. 
  • The Temple of Luxor
Luxor Temple was built over several centuries by Amenhopis III, Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and Alexander the Great. The temple is a graceful piece of architecture preceded by an avenue of sphinxes, containing impressive statues of Ramses II, the Great Court of Ramses II, the colonnade and court of Amenophis III, the hypostyle hall, and the temple of Amun. 
  • Luxor Museum 
This wonderful little museum on the Corniche, about half way between the Luxor and Karnak temples, has a small but well-chosen collection of relics from the Theban temples and necropolis. The displays, which include pottery, jewellery, furniture, status and stelae, were arranged by the Brooklyn Museum of New York.
  • Caleche Tour of Luxor
A relaxed and romantic caleche tour around the streets of Luxor is an ideal way to see the town. Caleches can be taken either for a simple excursion along the Corniche, or used as a fun means of transportation between sights on the East Bank such as riding from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple.
  • Sound & Light Show at Karnak Temple
Transfer in the evening to Karnak Temple for the incredible spectacle of a Sound & Light Show, which takes you on a fascinating tour through history as you walk through the splendour of this site, the world's largest-ever temple complex.