It was an early start for our second day in Luxor – breakfast at 6am and then hitting the trail to the West Bank of the Nile. Our Egyptologist Ahmed was all smiles as he said he wanted to show us his favourite sites in Luxor. First was the Habu Temple – a huge structure with massive columns, brilliantly vivid hieroglyphics and what has to be the oldest surviving bathroom in history.
Next we visited the Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple which had been partially restored by an American team. The temple had been built against a rock face and looked pretty dramatic. Originally the place had been constructed by the New Kingdom’s very own female fatale pharaoh Hatshepsut. By all accounts she was a pretty strict ruler and when her son-in-law/nephew/step-son (inter-marriage was big back then) Tuthmosis III took to the throne he had all her images chiselled off this temple. Actually he had her image chiselled off EVERY temple. The sort of ancient Egyptian equivalent of cutting people out of old photographs, I suppose.
Last, but by no means least, we visited The Valley Of The Kings. Looking rather like an old quarry the places was littered with entrances to tombs. The three we chose to visit were:
Ramses III - a beautifully decorated tomb with highly detailed depictions from The Book of Gates.
Tuthmosis III – this tomb was deep, colourful and in pretty good shape. The guy obvious loved his mother as they were both painted on the same boat in the burial chamber – a rare thing to do. He obviously died at short notice too because what with only 70 days to mummify the body they didn’t have time to properly carve the hieroglyphics – most were simple painted straight onto the walls.
Ramses IX – a very big tomb full of pictures of Ra, slaves and serpents from The Book of The Dead.
It had a real wow factor that valley I can tell you. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to rest, eat and take it easy. You do a lot of walking on these site visits.