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Sailing to Luxor

September 24, 2023

While we enjoyed breakfast onboard Merit, we sailed toward the city of Luxor and its grand temples, Karnak and Luxor. The Temple of Luxor is less grand than Karnak, which is the largest temple complex in the world.

Multiple pharaohs built the temple of Luxor and its chapels over centuries beginning in 1400 BC, including Amenhotep III, Tutankhamen, Ramses II and, during the Roman period, Alexander.

Karnak is, in a word, overwhelming, with a vast array of temples, pylons, obelisks and chapels dating from 1970 BC and onward into the 300s BC. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the complex. From the outside, the entrance is nondescript, but once inside it’s hard to know where to look.

Capturing the scale of Karnak in images is a distinct challenge. At the same time, there are so many details — from hieroglyphics on columns to painted scenes on ceilings — that one doesn’t know where to focus next. The Avenue of Ram-Headed Sphinxes guides you into the complex.

Sadly, some of the obelisks have been “relocated” from both Karnak and Luxor, including one that stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Other antiquities have found their way to museums around the world, and it’s a monumental (excuse the pun) effort to repatriate them. But the effort goes on.

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One Comment
  1. John permalink

    Why did Ramses II go so far south to Abu Simbel? Was it because that was where this rock was? It’s hard to imagine how these were moved. I’d like to see a documentary on that effort.

    Why do the statues have the Pharaohs leading with their left foot? And, is that an ashtray I see on the deck of the Merit?

    Thank you for these glimpses into your travels, Diana.

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