Located in Upper Egypt upon the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor is a glimpse into the past. The city, often described as the world's greatest open-air museum, lives up to its reputation with a wealth of ancient monuments, temples, and tombs to explore. The River Nile flows through Luxor, dividing it into the modern East Bank and the necropolis of the West Bank, and is crossed by bridge or more traditionally by ferry. Spend your time wandering the temple complexes of Luxor and Karnak on the east shore, get lost in the Valley of the Kings in the west, or hop from one bank to another and take in millennia of fascinating history in Luxor.
Areas & Neighborhoods in Luxor
East Bank - Luxor's East Bank is the contemporary side of the city, but it's not without its own share of ancient treasures. The Temple of Luxor and Temple of Karnak, connected by the Avenue of Sphinxes, are 2 of the area's main draws. The Temple of Luxor is famed for its imposing colonnade and hypostyle hall, while Karnak is known as the home of the god Amun and features a sacred lake filled by waters from the Nile. Other attractions on the East Bank include the Luxor Museum, Mummification Museum, and the El Mekashkesh mosque, the oldest mosque in the city.
West Bank - The West Bank is home to some of Luxor's most famous Ancient Egyptian sites. The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, royal necropolises where generations of pharaohs and their wives and families were buried, are some of the most visited sites in Egypt. The West Bank also features the Ramesseum, the Tombs of the Nobles, and the iconic Colossi of Memnon, a pair of massive statues that guard the entrance to Amenhotep III's tomb.
What to See in Luxor
With the nickname of the "world's greatest open-air museum," Luxor has no shortage of incredible sights. From the ancient temples of Luxor and Karnak to the royal tombs of King Tut and Queen Nefertari plus museums detailing the long heritage of the region, Luxor is filled with unique attractions on both its banks. Take in a unique perspective of the West Bank's wonders by soaring above them in a hot air balloon, or charter a cruise from the East Bank and float down the Nile through the city. At night, the Karnak Temple comes to life with a brilliant light show that retells the stories of the pharaohs using the temple itself as a backdrop.
Sightseeing in Luxor
Of all the landmarks in Luxor, the Valley of the Kings is perhaps the most famous. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the royal necropolis is populated with 65 ancient tombs, thought not all of them were used for burial purposes. The tomb of Tutankhamun, or King Tut, was discovered in the valley, along with the Temple of Hatshepsut, a mortuary temple dedicated to Eighteenth dynasty ruler. The nearby Valley of the Queens includes the tombs of royals like Queen Nefertari, Princess Ahmose, and high-ranking wives of pharaohs Ramesses I and II. Also take the time to explore the ruins Deir el-Medina, a village and World Heritage Site that was once home to the workers and artisans who created the incredible tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
Back on the East Bank of modern Luxor, the Luxor Museum features a brilliantly curated collection of antiquities from the Eighteenth dynasty, the New Kingdom, and beyond. Here you can see preserved relics and reliefs from pharaoh's tombs and take a stroll through time starting from the days of the Old Kingdom. At the Mummification Museum, learn about the ancient art of mummification step-by-step and see authentic tools that were used in Ancient Egypt. Enjoy the local atmosphere of Luxor as well by visiting the souks of Old Market Street or going for a walk by the River Nile along the East Bank's modern corniche.