Homer described Luxor city in ancient times as the city of hundred gates referring to its greatness and its huge buildings. Luxor is considered the world’s greatest open-air museum because it holds two-thirds of the landmarks of the world. Most of these outstanding monuments date back to ancient Egyptian history.

Luxor city is divided into two parts:

  • The first part is the east bank dedicated to living. It contains the Luxor temple, Karnak Temple, Mummification Museum, and Luxor Museum. 
  • While the second one is the west bank was for burying the dead. It holds the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and the nobles’ tombs. 

In this article, Explore Egypt Tours presents the monuments located on the West Bank – Part One.

1 – The Valley of the Kings

Why did the ancient kings choose this place to establish their tombs?

The ancient Egyptian kings in the new kingdom decided to bury them in this desolate place to hide and protect their tombs from the robbers. The Valley of the Kings holds tombs for 62 kings from the 18th to the 20th dynasties. The first king who built his tomb in this valley was King Tuthmosis I.

The valley is divided into the eastern and western parts. The eastern side has the majority of the tombs, while the western part has very few.

Most of these tombs were stolen in ancient times, but few were not stolen such as Tutankhamun, Yuya, and Thuyu tombs were found intact.

What is the Valley of the Kings known for?

In modern times after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the valley becomes famous for the curse of the pharaohs. Visit it to know the truth and see the splendor of ancient royal Egyptian tombs.

2 – Hatshepsut Temple (Deir el-Bahari Temple)

Hatshepsut was the daughter of king Tuthmose I, sister and wife of Tuthmose II. She ruled for 20 years during the 18th dynasty, the New kingdom.

What is the design of the Hatshepsut Temple?

Hatshepsut Temple or Deir el-Bahari Temple is one of the most wonderful temples in Egypt. It is her mortuary temple. It dates back to the 18th dynasty, the New kingdom. The design of this temple was influenced by the temple of Mentuhotep II (Neb-Hept-Re) dating back to the 11th dynasty, middle kingdom. It takes the shape of a terrace.

It consists of 3 floors attached with a ramp. On the sides of these floors, there are inscriptions such as the Hatshepsut’s journey to Punt (Somalia now), the reliefs of divine birth, and the transportation of Hatshepsut’s obelisk. Additionally the Hathor and Anubis shrines. The rest of the temple was carved inside the mountain.

Why does it call Deir el-Bahari Temple?

Because during the 7th century, there was a Christian monastery built there. Deir is an Arabic word that means monastery.

3 – Colossi of Memnon

This place is where the mortuary temple of king Amenhotep III is. It dates back to the 18th dynasty, the New kingdom. These statues are the only residual part of this mortuary temple.

These two statues belong to king Amenhotep III. They present the king seated on the throne wearing the royal headdress of the Nemes. There was an earthquake that occurred in 27 BC led to cracks in the northern statue. Because of these cracks, when the wind passes through the northern statue at dawn, it was making mysterious sounds and dew drops formed on the statue’s body.

The Greeks linked these sounds and dewdrops and the crying of Memnon’s mother on her killing son. Memnon was a hero killed in the Trojan War. Later the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus restored the northern statue which led this song to stop.

4 – Esna Temple

Esna city is located approximately 30 miles south of Luxor city. This city houses the temple of Khnum. Now it is famous for the Esna lock which is a stopover for many cruise boats.

Khnum temple or Esna temple was dedicated to worshiping the god Khnum, the god of creation, in the shape of a ram-headed. 

What is the history of Esna Temple?

The construction of this temple began during king Tuthmosis III’s period in the 18th dynasty, New kingdom. The construction of this temple was completed by the Ptolemaic and Roman rulers who recorded their names all over the temple walls. They were establishing this temple for proving their loyalty to the Egyptian citizens.  

What can be seen in Esna Temple?

The temple contains a hall of columns holding 24 pillars taking the shape of a lotus and a palm. Additionally, the reliefs show the Ptolemaic and Roman rulers dressed in ancient Egyptian clothes and practicing worshiping activities. But the most fascinating reliefs are showing astronomical representations; you can see them on the roof of the Esna temple. 

Enjoy these outstanding monuments dating back to ancient Egyptian history with day tours offered by Explore Egypt Tours.