20 February 2013

Walk around Luxor
Luxor temple
Souk

We did not sleep much last night due to the noise outside, so we are taking an easy day, exploring Luxor.
There is not much charming about Egyptian cities, as there is not much old left and all the new buildings are mostly unfinished concrete monstrosities. But as Luxor is a major tourist destination we can walk around mostly undisturbed and it is a lot cleaner than the towns so far.

Is that a plastic Barbie doll in the middle dressed up like an ancient Egyptian?

Is that a plastic Barbie doll in the middle dressed up like an ancient Egyptian?

First up we want to visit the souk. We have not visited a souk in Egypt yet, so are looking forward to the hustle and bustle.

How far do you have to walk to get a coffee?

How far do you have to walk to get a coffee?

The official Luxor souk is solely set up for tourist though. And where in other countries you can get a nice mix in the markets of souvenirs and local practice stalls (food, clothing, etc.) here it is only souvenirs. Stone scarabs, plaster Pharaoh heads, scarfs and sheesha’s. A bit monotonous and a bit too much hassle. We give up pretty quickly and go in search of a coffee. Off course we are now smack down in the tourist area and we have to go quite a way out to find a coffee for a normal price (anything under 10LE). But we do eventually find a nice place to chill.

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The main thing to see in town is the Luxor Temple. It was built by Amenhotep III and Ramses II and sits in the middle of town, so cannot be missed.

Not sure if these are the lotus pillars or the papyrus ones..

Not sure if these are the lotus pillars or the papyrus ones..

It is stunning with the papyrus and lotus pillars and hieroglyphs. For some reason there is a mosque built into the complex. This was built in the 14th century when most of the temple was still covered by sand and unexcavated. When they started digging out the temple, they decided to leave the mosque where it is but had to built some steps up to the doorway.
At the front is the 24 meter high first pylon, with a few remaining statues of Ramses II. He had this built and put statues of himself around..?.. A big ego.
One big granite obelisk is still here, the other is in Paris.
The temple is impressive, although not much remains but the pillars. The Romans built a big fort around the temple, but all of it is covered and now under Luxor city.

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Enough of that and out for a wander on the other side. Not much here, as we seem to be walking into the expensive tourist area.

Revolution artwork

Revolution artwork

We do come across a big collection of graffiti though. We have not heard anything of protests in this city, but a lot of the artwork seems to be revolution related. Some pieces are quite good. Some other work is in line with the old stuff in the tombs, portraying pregnant cows and slaughtered ones.
Overall Luxor doesn’t seem to be doing too badly. There are plenty of tourist around, but all the salesmen, horse drawn carriage drivers and fellucca sailors are crying poor. It must be a hard time for them, but we are happy that we are not visiting in top tourist time. It is busy enough for us. And besides the constant calls to get us in a carriage, boat, cafe or taxi, (or sell us hash, ganja, or anything else to get us high) Luxor is a relaxing place.

AA

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