More Luxor: Friday, 20 January 2017

Another beautiful day in paradise! I’m going to get used to this and never some back. What a great place to stay – beautiful building with interesting water features (inside and out), clean, many amenities, nice staff, and a broad view of the Nile. After a few days, I know most of the staff (and they know me) who stop and talk with me.

Later today I will add a message that I’ll put on Facebook which will state: Egypt is a very nice country, beautiful and with kind, welcoming people. I feel very safe here. Yes, there is security in many places, but every country views security differently. So many smiling faces and it seems everyone helps one another. The guides and drivers who support my sightseeing needs are welcomed by their comrades wherever we go – with handshakes, hugs, and genuine affection for one another. There seems to be a stigma or understanding that Egypt is not safe and that you have to worry about terrorism and violence if you travel here. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve found this to be true in Cairo and Luxor – and in a few days, I hope to find the same in Aswan as well. Most of the visitors that I’ve seen at the various sites are predominately Asian (many from China) people from the Middle East as well. I’m one of the few “westerners” at these locations. Egypt relies on tourism for a good portion of their economy and would like to get the message out that they are (and have been) ready to welcome visitors to their historic, interesting, and beautiful country.

Speaking of Aswan, I will travel there, by train, on the 22nd and be there until the 26th, then back at Luxor until the 30th.

Today, I wanted to visit Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. Both are interesting in their own right. These are temples that have been part of this area for at least 3,000 years and considered, “The Most Selected of Places” or Ipet-isut. Both sites are slowly being restored and contain great monuments and statues within their grounds.

Karnak Temple

This temple is the most extensive of the two and was influenced by a number of pharaohs (about 30) and restored, partly, by Hatshepsut, who we were introduced to yesterday at her temple (Djeser-Djeseru) against the hill on the other side of the Valley of the Kings (Deir el-Bahari).

My driver let me off at the entrance to the Karnak Temple and I was to call him when ready to leave. I was fortunate to find a guide when I got to the entrance and he escorted me around the various halls and monuments.

The entrance to the main gate has sphinx with heads of rams and body of lions guarding the gate.

Much of the original walls are no longer standing.

Around every corner there was a new view of the monuments in the temple.

Paddington Bean enjoyed visiting the temple too.

There are 134 of these giant pillars, the highest 70 feet tall, and each about 45 feet around in the Hypostyle Hall which covers 64,586 sq. ft.

Luxor Temple

Next, was a visit to Luxor Temple (ipet resyt), constructed in about 1400 BCE. Not as big as Karnak Temple, but was the focus of one of the most important religious festivals in ancient Egypt, the annual Opet Festival.

In the picture below, there is a lone obelisk (needle) on the left of the entrance. Its twin is now in Paris and known as The Paris Needle or L’aiguille de Cléopâtre located in the Place de la Concorde.

Inside the temple are a variety of statues and rooms used for religious rituals.

Along the way, a mosque was built along side of the temple complex.

And Paddington Bear..

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped by one of the two companies who operate balloon flights in Luxor and I made a reservation to go up in a balloon on Sunday before I leave for Aswan. I’m very excited!

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