Monday, October 13, 2014

Egypt, part 5, Luxor(part 3): Luxor Temple at night

It is one thing to visit temple ruins during the day. It's a whole new experience to venture into them at night.

Next on our list: Luxor Temple.

We grabbed a taxi from the hotel(our driver was an awesome man named Mahmoud who decorated his car with pictures of Bob Marley) and headed to the center of the city of Luxor, where the temple is located. And it really is in the center of town, easily seen from multiple roads. When we were in the actual temple, noise from the street and nearby shops filtered in, and children sat on the wall backlit by neon.

Here is the first thing you see after buying your ticket and entering temple grounds:

This is what I've been waiting for: The Avenue of the Sphinxes. Originally the avenue, lined with 1,350 sphinxes, traveled from the Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple, and was used for ceremonial processions. During the Roman area some of this was destroyed--roads and houses were built over parts, and some of the sphinxes were actually reused in the construction. Crazy to think about dismantling a sphinx to build your home. A few years ago a restoration project began--the governor of Luxor was given 30 million Egyptian pounds to compensate those who lived on the site, so that they could rebuild elsewhere. About 650 sphinxes have been restored thus far.

The avenue was incredible at night:

Note the city in the background:

At one end of the avenue stands the Luxor Temple. Here is a great resource for information on the temple:

The layout was a bit similar to Karnak--walls hiding rows of pylons that seemed to extend back forever. Everything we looked at was covered in hieroglyphics, and J and I were like two little kids--look at this thing! Oh oh! Look at this one! When you're done looking at that one, look at this one!. It was impossible not to point, turn in circles, giggle. All things we did at least a few times.

Anyway, some details...

When you turn your back to the avenue, this is what you see:

Here is the obelisk standing at the entrance. There were originally two--the other is currently in Paris. Covered, head to toe:

Here is a panoramic of the interior, just to give you an idea of the size:

Some detail(s) of the interior:

When we were ready to leave, our driver Mahmoud was waiting for us. On the way back to the hotel, he hopped out and brought us back two pomegranate drinks. So good.

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