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Luxor - Day 7 Tuesday March 15

Our four-night Nile cruise begins….


View Egypt 03/2022 on Cybercsp's travel map.

We left the hotel at 4:30 AM with a breakfast box in hand, and headed to the airport for our one-hour flight to Luxor (313 miles from Cairo). Looking out the airplane window confirmed that it is not an understatement to say that the Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt. The Sahara covers 94 percent of this country, and most of the population lives within a few miles of the river. There is a whole lot of empty desert in Egypt.

Not near the Nile:

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Near the Nile and green (and hard to see…sorry)

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Egyptair had a very unique safety video. Here is just a hint.

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Welcome to Luxor!

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Here are some photos from the van as we headed to the ship.

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This is a poor picture of the road that connects the two temples we will visit this afternoon, the Luxor temple and the Karnak temple.

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After landing, we boarded the Oberoi Zahra for a four-night Nile River cruise.

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We were welcomed with a cool drink made with lemons and limes.

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We dropped our bags in our stateroom and then were offered breakfast (with much needed caffeinated beverages). This will be our home for the next four nights.
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Here is the view from our picture window.

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At 12:30, we gathered with our fellow passengers for lunch. I only took one photo.

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We gathered in the lobby for today’s temple tour at 3 PM. Let's begin with some background about Luxor...Way back in the day (1570-1070 BC), ancient Thebes, whose ruins lie within the modern city of Luxor, became the "glorious capital" of the Nile. The people there worshipped a local god known as Amun. As Thebes grew in power and size, Amun began to assume the status of the Sun God, Ra, and became known as Amun-Ra. As he became the pre-eminent god of the area, the pharaohs built larger and grander temples and tombs dedicated to Amun-Ra. This afternoon, we visited two of the most famous temples dedicated to this god (both are World Heritage Sites).

Behold the mind-blowing Temple of Karnak!

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You enter along the avenue of the sphinxes.

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Dedicated to Amun-Ra, the temple complex was supported by ten massive pillars. The grand Hypostyle Hall covered an area of 50,000 square feet, making it the largest hall of any temple in the world; it was supported by more than 130 columns. Even as the center of political power moved away from Thebes, subsequent pharaohs continued to add to this amazing Karnak complex.

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The temple is believed to have looked like this.

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Time and the elements have eroded much of the color, but you can still see some of the pigments in this area that has been more protected from the elements.

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Most of the obelisks in Egypt have been gifted to, but more often pillaged by, other countries. A few remains at Karnak Temple.

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These columns represent the papyrus and lotus plants.

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The mother goddess, Hathor, protects Amun-Ra.

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Amun-Ra wears the crowns of the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Egypt to show his unifying power. You can see how large these statues are, relative to yours truly.

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A few more photos before we leave the temple...

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A scarab, symbol of resurrection

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How great is this carving? The god Thoth is often depicted with the head of an ibis. He is the god of the moon, wisdom, and writing.

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Here are some of the smaller temples in the complex.

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A parting photo before we leave this amazing site.

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Exiting the Temple of Karnak, we traveled to the Luxor Temple, built in the 14th century BC. The temple walls of Luxor are embellished with detailed carvings of the Gods of Karnak being accompanied by a festival procession of priests, musicians, dancers and sacred cows.

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This temple was commissioned by Rameses II, a pharaoh with no ego problems, to honor his magnificence...oh, and also to honor the god Amun-Ra. Two massive statues of the seated Rameses II guard the gateway and they are flanked by four standing statues of..who else?...Rameses II.

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Rameses II pops up throughout the complex.

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Here is Rameses II and his favorite wife, Nefertari (not to be confused with Nefertiti...and did you know there were eleven pharaohs named Rameses...it is a lot to take in).

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Here are some close up shots of the obelisk at Luxor Temple.

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A few other impressive carvings:

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The Luxor Temple was covered by sand for thousands of years. When this mosque was built, they believed that it was on ground level. You can see that the door is high above the ground, which will give you some idea of how much excavation occurred.

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This colonnade led from one part of the temple to the other.

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The temple looked stunning as the sun began to set.

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Shout out to our Egyptologist (a different Yasser), who offers us a fascinating look into the culture and beliefs of ancient Egypt. Our heads are exploding with knowledge.

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There was a "welcome aboard" cocktail reception before dinner, accompanied by an excellent guitarist.

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Photos are tagged Egypt, Luxor, Zahra, Karnak_Temple and Luxor_Temple

Posted by Cybercsp 20:06 Archived in Egypt Tagged egypt luxor karnak_temple luxor_temple zahra

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Comments

Dinner, where is dinner???? You know I am all about the food!! xo

by Daniella Zmora

Oh, my goodness! So much beauty and history and incomprehensibly OLD everything! Just magnificent! I am so happy for you to experience this this long-deferred trip!
Of all your exotic activities over the years, the sight of you, Nancy, on a camel is the one I never even thought to see. Looks like you had some grip on the saddle horn! ;-)

by Anne

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