Once ancient Thebes, the City of a Hundred Gates has lost none of its glory in fact, it shines more through the spiral of time.Step into history and visit the awe-inspiring Karnak temple with its three circles where once upon a Pharaonic time everyone was allowed into the first one, only the nobles were granted access into the second, and the third and most sacred circle was solely reserved for the High Priest and the Pharaoh. Witness the giant obelisks, one of which was saved from the vandalizing foes, who were executed when they were caught in the act. Attend the sound and light show that tells the story of Thebes and ends at the Sacred Lake.
The Luxor temple, which preserves the remains of a Christian and Coptic Church on its grounds, also houses the mosque of Sufi Sheikh Yusuf Abu Al-Hajjaj. Other perennial tourist favorites include the temple of Hatshepsut and the grand tombs in the Valley of the Nobles, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens ― all well worth the visit.
On the east bank of the Nile, Sheraton Luxor Resort’s ideal location makes it the perfect place to stay if you want to explore Luxor’s treasures. Get up super early to avoid the heat and head straight for the sights, all of which can easily be reached from the hotel (contact the Sheraton for directions and assistance). Nothing is better than a relaxing sunset dip in the pool after a day’s arduous sightseeing. Touring the antiquities is lots of fun, but expect to walk a lot and stand even more. Grab a bite to eat from the Pool Snack Bar and, if you still have any energy, play a tennis game or two on their courts.
On the West bank, Deir El-Medina (the Valley of Artisans) is where workers from the royal tombs lived, and the remains of the tomb decorations are still worth seeing. Other must-sees include the Luxor Museum, the Mummification Museum (where you’ll get to see preserved fish, cats, crocs as well as tools), and the Ramasseum where the remains of the ancient statue that inspired Shelly’s poem ‘Ozymandias’ can be seen; the head is at the British Museum. The Colossi of Memnon (the singing statues) ― although they’ve gone mute post renovations ― are still stunning. The combination of wind and the cracks in the statues accounted for the eerie whistling that can no longer be heard.
But Luxor is not only about ancient monuments: hone your haggling skills prior to a serene sunset felucca ride along the banks of the Nile or hantoor (carriage) rides into the heart of the city.
If you think you’re good, head down to the souq to fine-tune your haggle-haggle faculty, which you will desperately need for transportation fiends such as taxis. Make sure to dine on a restaurant by the Nile, then hit the cafes for a shisha to end your night.