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FANTASTIC TEMPLES & COLORFUL TOMBS!

LUXOR, EGYPT

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OCTOBER 25th 2019 DAY 14

What is it about being on the water that is so soothing. I slept so well, those woolen blankets kept me toasty warm!

What a way to start the day snuggled in a blanket, steaming coffee in hand, legs dangling over the side of the Felucca, watching the the sunrise over the Nile!

After breakfast is not long before we arrive at our stop.

A small village just out of Luxor.

It is not easy disembarking on the wobbly wooden plank with a heavily packed bag. I am quite proud of the fact that I didn't end up falling in!

A mini bus is waiting for us and takes us the rest of the way to Luxor.

The roads are bumpy and it is slow going. The morning rush hour! The locals are out and about, donkeys struggle with heavy loads, the little local buses are packed with commuters.

It is quite a colorful scene, bougainvillea grow along colorful fences, traditional robes bellow in the breeze.

We turn closer to the river and suddenly we stop and park.

Oh OK this is interesting, we stop at gallery that authentic papyrus paintings... fantastic!

The walls are covered with beautifully painted artwork.

We are given a demonstration on how the papyrus paper is made the traditional way, it is quite a process of stripping the papyrus, soaking it and flattening it, they weave it into large sheets and let it dry.

After the demonstration we get to browse, we can purchase anything off the walls by writing the number of the selected item and then they will get it out of stock. Of course I am drawn to the most expensive in the gallery but in the end I choose a lovely scene of Osiris and Isis in golds and coppers. I really wish I had space in the luggage for more, but I still have other things I want to shop for!

The papyrus comes with a certificate of authenticity, as the majority of paintings on the markets are fake. I am so glad we stopped here, I would never thought about otherwise!

With paintings in hand it;s back on the bus. We cross the river and wind thru the chaotic suburbs of Luxor.

It is hard for me to watch the scenes that pass by, goats roam the streets eating from rubbish piles, donkeys with heads hung low as they struggle to pull carts laden with goods, their owners cracking the whip far too frequently. It is difficult for me to look so I put on some music and close my eyes... am I too emotional when it comes to animals... probably... but I wont apologize for it!

When we stop again I take out my headphones... I totally forgot that a visit to an animal sanctuary is on the itinerary!

It is a bright and modern complex and as soon as you walk in the door you are greeted by a couple of cats.

Children's paintings cover the walls, and we are greeted by a lovely young lady who despite what she must see is smiling.

She tells us about the education program the ACE, Animal Care in Egypt is doing in the community to raise awareness with the locals. They visit schools, farmers, traders to talk them about the treatment of animals.

I am glad to see someone is taking a stand, I know change takes time, but... I will never understand how someone can mistreat an animal!

Happy dogs with wagging tails have a large yard to run around in by the entrance. When we make our way out the back a large open area, shaded with trees has horses and donkeys in large fenced in paddocks, these are the healthy ones, those that have been thru their hard times and now live in peace.

The cats follow us as she takes us to the stables where those still in recovery from their injuries are kept. I am glad to see not all the stalls are full, but... one animal is too many, in my opinion!

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Animal Care Egypt!

The horses are weary of being touched. The 2 gorgeous chestnut horses could be twins both have white blazes on their noses. They watch us with curiosity. One at least trusts me enough to have a quick head scratch, after what they have been thru... trust is hard earned!

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Still weary of humans!
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A little more trusting!

There is a sad little grey and white donkey who is still so skinny you can see every rib, he is the latest arrival, you can see the healing scares on his legs.

My heart is breaking for him, if people think animals don't show emotion then... they have no heart... the sadness and pain is clear to see in this poor animal.

He looks like he has dipped his nose into grey paint. He keeps his head down weary of humans, what happened to this poor boy that he wont even look at us... I feel sick thinking about it! I hope one day he will learn that all people aren't cruel!

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Your safe now!

The cats follow us everywhere, such intelligent creatures, they know who to trust. It is like they are the protectors of the innocent and they are keeping an eye on us.

The ancient Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them.

They honored these treasured pets, wealthy families dressed them in jewels, fed them treats fit for royalty. When their cats died, they were mummified.

As a sign of mourning, the cat owners shaved off their eyebrows, and continued to mourn until their eyebrows grew back.

Cats were so special that those who killed them, even by accident, were sentenced to death.

They even had the Goddess Bastet who was usually depicted as a woman with cat’s head, Bastet represented beauty, love, joy, happiness and was also the protector of humans.

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The protector of the deserving!

A cheeky white donkey is happy for attention and loves a scratch behind the ears. His leg wounds are nearly healed and soon he will let out into the paddocks with the others. He has been here for over 4 months and when he first came in was frightened with deep gashes on his legs, but with gentle care he has earned human trust again and is now a happy, friendly boy who is loves attention... what a wonderful job these people do! The world needs more people like this!

I cant help but spend a little time with him, he is so adorable, after what he has been thru, taking 20 minutes to give him some well deserved affection is nothing.

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He is so adorable!

difficult not to cry when you here their stories and see their wounds. Slowly I make way outside, the rest of the group has already left the the stables.

Out in the open air I sit with a couple of cat vying for attention and of course I oblige.

Mohammad rounds everyone up as it is time to leave, and yes I am the last one as it is difficult to tear myself away from my new furry friends.

They follow me into the lobby. As I drop a donation into the box a little black and white cat jumps up on the counter and rubs against my arm as if to say thank you, oh how I wish I could take you home with me!

We drive into the city center and the traffic chaos gets worse.

Our hotel is on the river front and we find out it has a swimming pool on the roof... Yeah!

From the outside it looks good, and the lobby is quite grand and old worldly with lots of wood, stain glass and marble, but if past hotels are anything to go by, the rooms may be a different story!

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The Emilio Hotel!

We check in and find our rooms. But as predicted the rooms are a little tired looking, at least the air con works and the small bathroom is clean and in working order.

We are right on a busy intersection and the traffic noise is quite loud, I can live with that, that's what ear plugs are for right, it has a pool.... that kinda makes up for it!

Ours has a fantastic view of the Nile and Luxor Temple, there's that Avenue of the Sphinx I have been waiting to see...WOW! I cant wait to take a closer look!

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Avenue of the Sphinx & Luxor Temple, view from the balcony!

Bags dumped on the bed and I meet up with the wives at the roof top, the pool is actually pretty good! Lots of comfy deck chairs and shaded tables.

The water is a little cool but welcome in this Egyptian heat, but first, what's on the menu?

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The Hotel Roof Top!

With lunch ordered we sit and chat, you gotta admire the view below you can see right across to the West Bank, somewhere hidden out there is the Valley of Kings, that's tomorrows adventure! For now it's time to relax!

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Roof top view of the West Bank!

Lunch is simple, it would have been nice to have a more traditional menu, instead most of the choices are western so steak sandwich it is, tastes OK!

We have a bit of time before we have to be downstairs so we swim and relax in the sun, before heading down to the lobby.

The drive to Karnak Temple is a short one.

It is huge, Mo arranges our tickets and then gives us a quick rundown of the temple and it's layout. Looking at the 3D map it must have been spectacular!

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Karnak Temple as it may have looked like!

When you walk outside a huge courtyard opens up lined with souvenir shops the temple is unbelievable, the long pathway to the entrance is lined with Ram headed Sphinx.

Finally Mo has the tickets and ignoring the shop keepers insistence to purchase goods, yeap haven't missed that, we make our to the Avenue of the Sphinx.

It actually used to connect to Luxor temple that would have been a lot of Sphinxes!

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The Entrance!

Up close they are even more amazing, sadly most of them are damaged but they are thousands of years old.

They have a are Ram headed, symbolizing the sun god Amun Ra and a small effigy of Ramesses II, in the form of Osiris (king of the gods), stands between their front paws.

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Ramses II & his protector the Sphinx!

When Karnak Temple was connected to Luxor Temple it is thought that around 1,350 sphinx statues lined this road which was used for a festival once year.

They were all once covered in color, what an unbelievable sight that would have been!

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The Ram a representation of Amun Ra the sun god!

Behind the Sphinxes are two domes, they look out of place among the giant walls and pillars of the temple, more African, I ask Mo, Oh it's a Mosque!

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The Mosque!

What a sight when you enter the temple, or the 'First Pylon', even though it is not decorated the sheer size of it is unbelievable.

The north tower is about 71 feet , and the south tower 103 feet.

If the structure had been completed it would probably reached a height of between 124 feet to 131 feet.

It was built by 25th Dynasty pharaoh Nectanebo I (380-362 BC) who also built the huge enclosure wall surrounding Karnak.

But it is the view that opens up in front of you that catches your attention... the vast Great Court holds the Kiosk of Tahraqa and the 'Second Pylon', two giant statues stand on either side of the opening and a giant pillar so tall the camera can't get it all in.

It originally consisted of ten twenty-one meter high papyrus columns linked by a low screening wall. Today there is only one great column still standing.

Taharqa was the fourth king of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty and also king of his native Kush, located in Northern Sudan.

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Heading into the...
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... the Kiosk of Tahraqa!

To the side it is the giant statue of Ramses II that captures your attention,he stands vigilant, wearing the nemes headdress the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt and his arms are crossed, holding crook and flail, symbols of kingship.

At his feet, Princess Bent’anta holds a flower and wears an Uraeus crown of rearing cobras, they are worn with time but you can still see the shape of the snakes. She is the daughter from his favorite wife Isetnofret.

impressive 35 ft height and weighs 65 tons.

He really did like to promote himself!

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Ramses II & his daughter Isetnofret!

Looking out to the north Obelisks pierce the sky, the walls are cared with scenes depicting the gods, I recognize Osiris but none of the others.

When Mohammad said this place was amazing he wasn't wrong, and we have only just start to explore.

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Obelisks fill the skyline!
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Ramses II and... ummm...!

Before I head into the famous Hypostyle Hall, there is a side hall that catches your attention, it is filled with statues, the Ramesses III Chapel.

The shrine’s entrance was fronted by a small pylon adorned with scenes of the king smiting his enemies and two six meter statues carved from red sandstone flanked the door way.

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Chapel of Ramses III!

Further inside is a courtyard with a small enclosed hall at the far end.

He built this temple in dedication to Amun Ra, each side of the is court is lined with eight statues of himself. The statues west side wear the red crown of the south, while the ones the east side wear the white crown of the north.

was the second Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty.

He is thought to have reigned from 26 March 1186 to 15 April 1155 BC and is considered to be the last great monarch of the New Kingdom to wield any substantial authority over Egypt.

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The inner courtyard!

During his reign Egypt was attacked by the Libyans and even though he defeated them twice in great see battles. He has been described as a "warrior Pharaoh" due to his strong military strategies.

The economic cost to the country was devastating and his long ruler ship decline of Egyptian political and economic power.

His wife Tiye (he had two principle wives plus a number of minor wives) one of his minor wives, was the cause of his destruction. She hatched a plot to kill him with the aim of placing her son, prince Pentaweret, on the throne. She and her confederates stirred up a rebellion and used magic wax images and poison as their weapons. The conspiracy failed and the traitors were arrested but not before Rameses was mortally wounded.

Rameses III’s death marks the end of an era. He had ruled for 31 years.

Egypt’s decline was a break down in the fabric of society. There were disputes between officials and governors and infighting between the north and south. The priesthood became over powerful and eventually they took control of the government. From then on rulers from other lands would determine Egypt's destiny.

But when he was in power he was much loved by his people... well he certainly has portrait himself all mighty in these statues!

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Egypt's last Pharaoh, Ramses III!

At the far end of the Great Court is an archway, there is a perfect view of an Obelisk, in is covered with inscriptions. It is perfectly shaped, hard to believe it is thousands of years old.

Must have taken a lot of work to get so perfect, especially when it's 21.75 meters high and is estimated to weigh 143 tons.

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They were unbelievable builders

As excited as I am to see the Great Hypostyle Hall, I turn and enter the 7th Pylon, it's all very confusing all these halls and temples. It is easy to get side tracked, there are so many interesting and surprising details.

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They decorated everything!
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It's the little details that amaze me!

This court has a row of statues depicting rulers of the Middle and New Kingdoms.

I wonder who is who, some of them are quite damaged, but they look good for their ages!

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The Pharaohs, hmmm whose who?!
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The Courtyard Walls, don't forget to look up!

Along one wall is a scene of the Pharaoh who built this section, Tuthmosis III smiting his enemies in battle.

He was said he actually created Egypt’s wealth. Thutmose III was a brilliant general who never lost a battle, spent the long years of his aunt Hatshepsut’s (we are visiting her temple tomorrow) reign training in the army.

This kept him away from court politics but prepared him well when he became Pharaoh. great ability in war was considered an important quality in a ruler.

Egyptian pharaohs were expected to lead their armies into foreign lands and demonstrate their bravery on the field in person.

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Tutmose III, smiting his enemies!

Against one wall is what is left of the giant statue of Tutmose III, it must have been impressive but all that is left now is his legs and if the size of those are any indication... Wow!

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He had a great set of legs!

As we head back to the Central Court I get side tracked by the Hieroglyphs, the carvings are fantastic, there is a lot of the scarab, such a creepy looking thing, yes I hate bugs!

But the Egyptians saw it as a symbol of renewal and rebirth and was a symbol of the sun god Ra.

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The symbol of rebirth!

As well as depicting themselves and the gods as larger than life , nature was a big influence on the Egyptian.

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Being blessed by the Gods!

Animals were used a lot as symbols in their writing, birds especially, I can actually make out a few... don't know what they mean but, there's Anubis, an owl, ducks, a rabbit, lizards, even bees.

Its a very beautiful way to write, painstaking, but beautiful!

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OK so the goose duck thing is Bah with a sun...S!
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Pretty stork bird is Akh... bee is Bat..!
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The owl is M... with an eye shape is R...!
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Oh that's Anubis a what looks like a Pharaoh one feather is SW...!
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Yeah... I give up makes no sense to me!

When you step into the Hypostyle Hall you can't help but be awe, each of the 134 pillars are decorated, there is still remnants of color, faded and lost in most places but touches are visible here and there.

It truly is spectacular!

Where do you begin to look...

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Pillars to right...!
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Pillars in front you...!
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Pillars to the left...!
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Pillars all around!

No wonder it is regarded as one of the wonders of the world... WOW!

It is 103 meters in width by 53 in length, the 16 rows of 134 columns.

The 134 papyrus columns represent the primeval papyrus swamp from which Amun Re, a self-created deity, arose from the waters of Nun at the beginning of creation.

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Closed Lotus flowers... OK I can see it!
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They engraved every pillar top to bottom...!
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A sneak peak of the Obelisk!
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Try to imagine it all enclosed... WOW!

The inner columns depict closed Lotus flowers, while the main walk way or nave is flanked by two rows of six open-bud papyrus-capital columns... and it once had a roof!

The inner columns depict closed Lotus flowers, while the main walk way or nave is flanked by two rows of six open-bud papyrus-capital columns... and it once had a roof!

Even the underside of the open top or petals of the pillars are decorated, the colors have long faded but you really get a sense of how grand this temple to Amun Re must have been, he was the Creator of the gods and mankind.

Initially it was designed by Queen Hatshepsut but Seti I began construction in 1291BC, I think they really did show how dedicated they were to the great Amun Re.

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In Bloom, open Lotus flower pillar!
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You can still see some of the colors!

When you look up that's when you see the colors, the underside of the beams haven't faded too badly, in fact some of them are so vibrant and clear, so remarkable!

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Faded but fantastic!
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Some are more prominent than others!

This entire hall would have been filled with color, it must have been unbelievable!

Seti I may have started construction but it was his son Ramses II that finished building the Hall around 1225BC, I think he did his father proud... I hope Amun appreciated it!

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The details...
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... are so beautiful!

Mohammad is trying his best to lead us around this giant complex, but we keep getting side tracked and wonder off. He takes us out of the Hypostyle Hall to what is the Forth and Fifth Pylon.

The Fourth Pylon is in quite the ruined state. It originally contained huge statues of Osiris set in niches and two obelisks made of granite erected by Queen Hatshepsut, the tips of which were covered with a mixture of gold and silver, now that would have been impressive.

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Queen Hatshepsut Obelisk!

There is a broken Obelisk laying on it's side, there is hieroglyphs celebrating Queen Hatshepsut's power as pharaoh.

Roughly 25 years after Hatshepsut's death Thutmose III systematically destroyed his aunt's legacy, he stripped her name from obelisks, statues.

I wonder if he destroyed this too or if it was just time and nature?

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Fallen Obelisk!

This complex is huge and I am really starting to wish I had bought a map, but as we wander thru what is the Fifth and Sixth Pylons, Mo mentions something about the Hall of Records, 2 of them.

As usual I am side tracked by the statues of what is called Wadjet... umm strange name...

But the giant statues have long lost their faces, I wonder who they once were?

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They must have been important to have a statue this size!

There are so many little details to look at, it is sad that this part of the complex is so badly ruined. But there is beauty in the rumble, little carvings.

They really loved that Scarab...

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Even the Scarab has it's own statue!
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Love to see it reconstructed!

We walk thru what was once the Botanical Garden, animal Hieroglyphs are etched into broken blocks and pillars, the little scenes and details delicate and quite beautiful. I can relate to their love of nature.

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The Botanical Garden...
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... natural scenes cover the walls!

The once Hall of Records, actually there were 2 has two great statues of Amun Ra and the goddess Amaunet.

She is one of the original creation gods, thought to be the partner of Amun Re, her name means "The Invisible One" or "the mother who is father" the Egyptians believed the mother who is father, Egyptians she needed no husband to conceive children. The Goddess of air or wind.

To be honest I can't keep up with this whole god & goddess family tree, Atum Re, Amun Ra...

It's all very confusing... Atum was a creator god who originally contained everything within himself and emanated elements of himself to produce the world, “the one who made himself into millions”. Ra was the sun god, whose first rising was considered synonymous with the moment of creation. OK, so they’re not really the same, but they are closely related, both were connected with creation and the sun... Hmmm makes a little sense!

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Amun & Amunet!

We head over to the Sacred Lake, that well... doesn't look like much of a lake anymore, more like a broken pond!

They are attempting to revive it, in the distance the towers are being slowly rebuilt and the trees are trying to regrow.

It was built by Tuthmosis III around 1473-1458 BC.

It measures 393 feet long an 252 feet wide and is lined with stone wall and has stairways descending into the water. It was used by the temple priests for ritual washing and ritual navigation.

It was also home to the sacred geese of Amun (the goose being another symbol of Amun) and was a symbol of the primeval waters from which life arose in the ancient Egyptian’s idea of creation.

Surrounding it were the storerooms and living quarters for the priests, as well as an aviary for aquatic birds.

I would really love to see this flourish again, but there is some much history to unearth and reconstruct in this country, I guess there just isn't enough money to do everything.

Such a shame that over the thousands of years we have let our history of the world crumble thru mankind's greed pride and greed. When will we learn to embrace our past and protect it?

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The once Sacred Lake!

Mo points us in the direction to head back to the Hypostyle Hall and leaves us to wonder for the rest of the afternoon.

I decide to take some time out for myself, and wander thru the temple ruins, it is nice just to spend time studying the little details, I really do admire their artistry.

I want to see Knoshu temple (Konshu was a moon god, the son of Amun, he was believed to have the ability to drive out evil spirits)

I have to ask where it is, as apparently the colorful art is spectacular. I am going in the wrong direction, of course! Well sort of at least I haven't got myself totally lost...

But I have found myself at what was Thutmose III temple.

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Festival Hall of Thutmose III!

I found it! But it is closed to the public... bugger! They are restoring the artwork and no one is allowed in side.

The walls are stunningly beautiful, the colors of the art work are so bright and vivid, so I am told, yes I am a little disappointed but hey...!

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The outside of Khonsu Temple!

So I head back to the Hypostyle Hall and just walk around the pillars, in awe. I will admit my neck is getting cramped from constantly looking up... but you can't help it, is it just so amazing how they managed to do all this!

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Every beam...
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... every pillar...
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... a work of art!

Weaving thru the maze of pillars I bump into Hanna and Zoe, and we wander around together. It is getting quite crowded, the hall is a cool relief from the afternoon sun and I guess everyone had the same idea.

You really could spend hours in here and still not see everything!

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Zoe and...
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Hanna and...
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... and more artwork...
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... more Lotus Pillars...
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... more fantastic Hieroglyphs!

Now my neck is s actually starting to ache, but you can't help but to continue to stare upwards, and I am not the only one, my wives are saying the same thing...!

But despite ourselves we can't stop, it's like an addiction you just gotta look up!

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Me & 134 Lotus Pillars!

As the sun begins to set the Hall seems to change colour, the pillars begin to... well... glow a burnt copper color. The change in light casts shadows on the pillars and the hieroglyphs seem to come alive, each curve and line deepen as the stone brightens.

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Fantastic...
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... how the stone seems to glow!
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Hieroglyphs...
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and more hieroglyphs!
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The light makes the...
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... Lotus pillars bloom!

I wander around for a while, just enjoying time to myself before we have to meet up with the rest of the group. The air has chilled a little and it is nice being alone to admire the Egyptians handy work. It was built as a cult temple and was dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut, and khonsu.

It was the largest building for religious purposes ever to be constructed and decorated in Egypt, it was also served as a treasury, administrative centre, and palace for the New Kingdom pharaohs.

Mum would have loved this...

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It really is an...
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... amazing place!

I wander around for a while, just enjoying time to myself before we have to meet up with the rest of the group. The air has chilled a little and it is nice being alone to admire the Egyptians handy work. It was built as a cult temple and was dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut, and khonsu.

It was the largest building for religious purposes ever to be constructed and decorated in Egypt, it was also served as a treasury, administrative centre, and palace for the New Kingdom pharaohs.

Mum would have loved this...

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One last glimpse of the Obelisk!

We head out of the Hypostyle Hall slowly other members of the tour group appear and Mo is waiting patiently for us at the Second Pylon.

While we wait for the rest of the stragglers it's I take the time to take one last look around, it looks different in the dusk light.

Slowly we head out and after a quick stop at the the gift shop we head back to the hotel.

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The Avenue of the Spinx...
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... and dusk falls!

It is dark when we get back to the hotel. I meet the wives in the lobby and we head out into the city to look for something to eat.

Walking thru the market street it is hard to ignore the shop keepers haggling for us 'to buy' so we head back to the main street that lines the water front.

There are so many horse and carriages lining the street, some of the horses are so skinny, the poor things having to work on these busy streets weaving in and out of the traffic... I hate seeing them like this.

We cant find much in the way of restaurants... so once again the only option is McDonalds, yeap I am getting tired of this stuff!

We sit up stairs and we actually have a great view of the river.

We head back to the hotel and chill out in Zoe and Hannahs room for a while before heading off to bed, tomorrow it's the West Bank!

OCTOBER 26th 2019 DAY 15

It's and early breakfast before we head off to the West Bank for this mornings tour... the famous Valley of the Kings, I am so excited! To see inside actual tombs...!

We cross over Luxor bridge, and drive thru busy little villages. The roads are bumpy along the river, the locals are out early, kids on their way to school, shops setting up to open.

The buildings are all sand stone a mix of old and new, palm and date trees pierce the bright blue morning sky, bougainvillea and the flowing robes of the locals add flashes of colour to the ivory landscape.

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One of the locals!

We turn in land towards the desert, passing tourist factories and two giant sitting statues, but we don't stop to take a look... umm I would have liked to but the tombs await!

As we leave the little towns behind, the landscape becomes an ivory desert of sand and stone.

Up on the hills openings appear in the rocky hillside, what is hidden in there? How much history is still buried under thousands of years of sand lost to time?

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More discoveries!

Half an hour of desert hill roads and we arrive at the entrance. We are in the middle of nowhere, how they found this place is beyond me... all around there is nothing but sand and rock!

While Mo explains the layout with the large 3D map that is in the lobby, the excavation area is huge, and they are still uncovering more tombs.

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Map of the Valley from above...
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... how they look underground!

We get our tickets, to see King Tuts tomb is extra, but hey so what, it is meant to be amazing, plus it is only $18...

There are these little yellow... well let's call them road trains, to take us up the valley to the tombs. they look like a children's train ride in our local park at home.

With tickets in hand and cameras away we head up the valley, yeap no cameras allowed except for your phone! Doesn't make sense to me but rules are rules!

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Our ride awaits!

The drive up takes about 10 minutes, and once we arrive it is bustling with visitors, the café is already packed.

We get to see 3 tombs plus King Tuts. the only decision is which one to see first.

Mo gives us some tips on what to look out for in each tomb, little highlights and hieroglyphs that we may find interesting.

I decide to leave King Tuts tomb for last and so it's Ramses IX tomb first up!

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The first tomb of the morning!

He was the 8th Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, and he ruled from 1129 to 1111BC, for 18 years, which actually doesn't seem that long. It is believed he is the grandson of Ramses III.

The long declining tunnel leads down to the chamber of his tomb. Every inch of the walls and ceilings are decorated with colorful hieroglyphs... WOW!

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Going Down!

The first thing you notice is the ceiling, it is bright blue, to depict the night sky. The cross beams are beautifully decorated with a sun disk with Isis and Nephythys, both goddess were the protector of the dead.

The walls as you walk down have passages from the Egyptian Book of Gates, this was their guide thru the underworld, and how to navigate the problems one might face on their journey.

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Wow, now that's incredible!

The underworld, makes sense Anubis presence is very where.

The colors on the walls are not as vibrant as the ceiling, but the hieroglyphs are clear and colorful.

Snakes are a prominent feature along the walls, to the Egyptians the Cobra was a symbol of protection, it guards the gates of the underworld, wards off the enemies of the royals and guides the deceased pharaohs on their journey through the underworld.

No wonder they are everywhere!

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That's a lot a little Anubis!
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Being led thru the underworld!

A lot of work went into Ramses IX tomb when he was alive, but he died before he could oversee the completion so some of the work was finished quickly after his death.

The cross beams and ceiling must have been done before his death as the details are wonderful, I find the winged Isis that Mo mentioned and she is quite beautiful!

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Winged Isis, the goddess in her natural form!

Three headless figures stand out clearly, they are only found in this tomb. Apparently these 3 are going to hell... hmm wonder what they did to deserve that!

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Going to Hell!

About half way done there are these small alcoves or annex the frames are decorated with cartouche, I have no idea who they are for, but I find them interesting... I wonder what mind would be... hope it's as interesting as these!

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Love the little details!
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Who are you...?
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That's me!

Suddenly the hieroglyphs change, the walls are covered with miniature detailed writings, it is so quaint and beautiful. The time it must have taken to chisel and color all these symbols!

Rows of gods appear, collages of royal scenes and text fill very space, it is easy to become mesmerized by all the details, no wonder these tombs were an archeologists dream!

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The walls are covered with little detailed...
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... and colorful...
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... and artistic...
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... and fantastic little scenes!

The actual bury tomb is sunk into the ground, the ceiling is gets your attention straight away, a striking black, white and gold, apparently Ramses IX tomb was completed quickly after his death, and the work wasn't as detailed as the the rest, for a rush job it still looks amazing.

It is quite crowded which makes it hard to get a good photo, one without tourists heads in the way and so I stay awhile, taking in the details, finally...

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Ramses IX, final resting place!

The actual burial chamber it is surprisingly small, now you can see it is unfinished as it isn't as well decorated as the entrance corridor. Apparently there was meant to be a larger burial chamber, but due to his early-ish demise they buried him in a chamber meant for someone else.

After taking in all the fantastic art work I head out as it is getting crowded, I take my time as the intricate scenes are hard to pass by.

The glare of the sun hurts your eyes and the temperature difference is astounding! I head across the open crowded valley floor to the Tomb o f Merneptah, the 13th son of Ramses II who was already an old man when he ascended to the throne at the age of 70 because is 12 older brothers died! Ruling for 10 years from 1213 - 1203BC.

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Merneptah... don't ask me to pronounce that!

Above the entrance is a fantastic relief of what I think is Khnum the creator god and a large scarab, if this is the entrance then inside must be pretty amazing...let's see!

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What... No photos!

The stairs descend down into darkness, at first it is pretty bland but soon hieroglyphics cover the walls.

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More Hieroglyphics...

As go down further the ceiling becomes covered with blue and white stars, they love the night sky. As with Ramses IX tomb the scarab is everywhere.

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Scarab...

Next to one of the arches is a beautiful depiction of Merneptah and Osiris the richness of the colors is quite amazing.

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Merneptah and Osiris...

The first is the Well chamber, the walls are lined with gods, and some of them are very recognizable.

Merneptah stands on the left of the door, Osiris on the right. On the rear wall, Anubis is on the left.

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The Well Chamber

On the left wall, there are finely painted standing figures of Imsety (the god of Funerals, who protected the liver of the deceased), Duamutef (the protection god of the canopic jars, which were used in the mummification process), Anubis, Kherty (earth god and a god of the underworld who sailed the boat which carried the decased on their last journey), Isis, and Neith (the goddess of creation, wisdom, weaving, and war).

On the right, god Hapy (his role is said to be protecting the throne of Osiris in the Underworld), Qebehesnuef (god of protection), Anubis, Nephthys (goddess of the air), and Serqet (goddess of the dead).

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All the Gods and Goddess!

The old fella certainly covered all his gods and goddess for his journey to the underworld.

Passing under a squared arch a large pillared chamber opens up, 2 large white pillars flank the descent, the decorations are patchy some are missing, the back walls are decorated with scenes from the book of gates the Egyptian funerary text describing the passage of a newly deceased soul into the next world.

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Passage to the underworld!

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Swallowed by the Serpent of the Underworld!

Further down we reach the burial chamber. In the middle of the sunken floor is one of the outer layers of his sarcophagus, there were four... behind it is the inner sarcophagus depicting the man himself arms crossed over his chest, he seemed quite short! He actually doesn't look that old... a bit vain really!

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One of the sarcophagus layers!
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Inner sarcophagus!

Sadly time has taken it's toll on the decorations and they are very faded and patchy. Only the barest traces remain of the elaborate astronomical vaulted ceiling.

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Merneptah Burial Chamber!

It's time to go as the crowds are pouring in and I managed to snap some pics before they all arrive.

On the way out, like in Ramses IX tomb there is so much that you miss on the way in.

The winged vultures in red and blue on the ceiling, the little details, you could spend hours just staring at the walls!

But it's off to the next one!

I am saving King Tut for last so, I head over to visit Ramses III tomb, which is said to be quite spectacular!

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It certainly is bigger than the others!

Apparently he was considered to be the great monarch of the New Kingdom. His reign was from 1186 - 1155BC. Defending Egypt against 3 invasions, so for most of his time in power he ensured tranquility throughout Egypt, but the cost of war led to a bit of an economic decline.

He was assassinated by a secondary wife & her son due to conspiracy amongst harem, I guess that's what happens when you have too many women for one powerful man, greed and jealousy fester!

Heading in the first thing you see is an amazing depiction of Ramses III and Ra represented in his Hawk form with a giant red sun disc. The colors are still very vivid, it is almost like they are having a conversation.

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Having a chat with Ra!

The long entrance down to the first chamber is fantastic, along with row upon row of intricate hieroglyphs there are vivid scenes honoring the multitudes of gods.

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Gods, Goddess and oh more of em!
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They love to write about themselves!
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Amazing... right!

The walls are washed with white paint and the artistry is quite simple and almost childlike, but still amazing in the details, you can still make the representations of each deity!

Of course Ra is a prominent feature, scarabs are everywhere in the writings from the book of the dead. Mo told us to look out for the 3 headed serpent which you have to pass to get to the afterlife and apparently his judgment of your deeds decided which way you went! This is the only tomb where this serpent can be found so I guess I will know it when I see it!

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He looks a bit menacing!

A chamber opens up and there are beautifully colored paintings on every inch of the walls, some look like

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Just thought it was kinda interesting!

Ramses daily life as the Pharaoh, others look like he is talking to the gods, whatever they are depicting... they are so amazing in the details and colors!

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Is it me or does it look like he is about to like up a pipe!
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Hmm... making an offering perhaps!
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I know that is Ra but I think the other is Sobek!

The ceiling is fantastic bright yellow and black covered with writings and what I am guessing is celestial representations.

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The Corridor Ceiling!

It is difficult to know where to look first, it is quite crowded, but bugger em all I am going to take my time it's not everyday you get to step back into history...

Some of depictions are easily recognizable, Anubis, Ra, Isis, but others I just can't figure out... I am so buying a book!

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Wonder who this is!
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Yeap I know who you are!

Yeap this is pretty magnificent and we are not even half way down yet!

Finally I have to get out of this chamber as it really is getting too crowded.

Another corridor and the wall are like the first are covered with writings and gods and goddess, but unlike the chamber the style of the art work is more simple and less detailed again.

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They really had a lot of gods to worship!
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Another scarab for luck!
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I think the little guy was a bit naughty!
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Anubis judges you!
The next chamber has side rooms and pillars the large scenes show Ramses III interacting with the gods fill the spaces, the walls are colorful and well fantastic!

On one wall Ramses stands wearing the crown of Lower Egypt offering incense to gods Atum and Ptah. On another wall, King Ramses III is shown the King is standing offering what I guess is incense before a seated figure of Ptah, Sokar (the Memphite god of the dead, but he was also the patron of the workers) and Osiris.

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Offerings to the god Ptah, the god of Craftsmen
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The one god you really want to please!
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Is that Amun? Think so...!

It is hard to get around as it is crowded I bump into Tracey and we don't really say much just sort stare at the scenery and smile at one another.

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Ladies!
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They really did make a lot of offerings!

So many details to see, the time it must have taken to do all this work and we still haven't got to the burial chamber yet!

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Don't judge me too harshly, I've been good really!

Another corridor and the walls are like the first 2 are covered with writings from the book of the dead and the journey to the under world.

Boats and serpents seem to play major role in this journey, the snake symbolized divinity, sovereignty, and the right to rule. It was also a symbol of protection, both for pharaohs and for everyday people

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That's different!
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... oh and there's more of them!

The Egyptians took this belief very seriously, I mean they mummified themselves and put their organs into canopic jars for safe keeping, with lids in the shape of the heads of protective deities who were the four Sons of Horus.

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Being or been judged?
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Another scarab for luck!

I find the 3 headed serpent it is quite prominent and easily found, I wonder how he would judge me, not too well I guessing, I mean I haven't lived a bad life but hey I have enjoyed it OK!

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Ah the serpent of the underworld, been looking for you!

Oh WOW...! They weren't kidding when they say this is one of the most spectacular tombs to be unearthed...!

Ramses III burial chamber is unbelievable!

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Ramses Chamber...
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Imagine discovering this!

Large white pillars fill the space, all of them are decorated with giant distinctions of gods and goddess, the walls are filled with magnificent colorful scenes of the King making tributes to a multitude of deities, it really is fantastic... it is hard to know where to look first!

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How awesome is this!
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More of the underworld journey!

So I start with the least crowded corner and work my around... some of the gods are instantly recognizable others not so much and will require a little homework.

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Mut, Nephythys, Qebehsenuf and Imsety

The more you study each scene the more you notice the little details, the things they hold in their hands or the decorations in their garments and head dress. Whoever painted these did so with care and attention... remarkable!

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That's one I do know... Toth god of wisdom
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Horus, the son of Osiris!
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Imsety funerary deity and one of the Four sons of Horus!
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Bastet, goddess of pleasure, of course she has to be here!

The chamber is huge eight large pillars dominate the space, you can't help but stare at the giant gods that loom over you.

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I think that is the King himself, making an offering!

This room once house his red quartz sarcophagus which is now in the Louvre in Paris, hmmm... I don't remember seeing it there!

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Nephythys, protector of the dead!
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I think that is the King himself, making an offering!
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Ra, I think!
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Khepri, god of the rising sun!

I would really love to spend hours in here but the morning is getting late and there is still one tomb left. The echoing voices of the crowd is starting to get annoying and when someone actually pushes me aside I know it is time to go before I loose my cool so to speak!

I pass Zoe and Hanna on my way out. At the entrance the large carvings of Ramses and Ra loom over you as you exit.

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The king himself!
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Ra!

Even the orange stone door frame is delicately carved with animals, I missed that going in.

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Just thought it was cute!
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The entrance stone work!

The outside air is dry, still and hot. The entrance to King Tuts tomb is unassuming. The short corridor takes you down to the burial chamber but unlike the others it isn't decorated and at first you wonder what all the fuss is about...

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The most famous tomb in Egypt!

But when you get to what is called the Ante Chamber color fills the room!

When Howard Carter discovered this small tomb in 1922 it was filled with treasure, the Ante Chamber contained house hold items that he would need for his journey to the afterlife, furniture clothes, food, a chariot, even mummified ducks... eww! Some if it we saw at the Cairo Museum.

The walls are a bright golden yellow rows of Baboons and scenes of the boy king in the afterlife cover the walls in vivid color.

The boy king lays in cased in glass in the center of the room a white clothe covers his mummified shrunken body so all you can see is his head!But when you get to what is called the Ante Chamber color fills the room!

When Howard Carter discovered this small tomb in 1922 it was filled with treasure, the Ante Chamber contained house hold items that he would need for his journey to the afterlife, furniture clothes, food, a chariot, even mummified ducks... eww! Some if it we saw at the Cairo Museum.

The walls are a bright golden yellow rows of Baboons and scenes of the boy king in the afterlife cover the walls in vivid color.

The boy king lays in cased in glass in the center of the room a white clothe covers his mummified shrunken body so all you can see is his head!

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King Tut!

Due to his untimely death at the age of 19 the tomb was hastily prepared for the sickly boy. So compared to the large tombs of the pharaohs before it is small. But the artwork is amazing.

One wall depicts the his funeral procession, another the sun god Ra and his journey thru the under world.

There are 12 Baboons that represent the 12 hours of night and to the Egyptians they signify wisdom, strength, judgement and defense against danger.

On another wall King Tut is with Anubis, Hathor (the goddess of sky & fertility) Nekhbet (the goddess of the Upper Nile) and Wadjet (goddess of the Lower Nile) they protect Tut on is journey thru the after world.

There is a scene of him entering the realm of the gods, he is depicted as larger than life, godlike when in reality he was a cripple with a wedge foot and required a cane to walk. He was sickly boy and was plagued with malaria and scoliosis.

His burial chamber where the large 4 layered sarcophagus we saw in the museum was found.

There is a smaller room off to one side, this was the treasury contained mostly funerary equipment, jewelry, model boats for the trip through the netherworld, images of the gods, and gilded canopic shrine that held Tutankhamen's internal organs.

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King Tut embraces Osiris!
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The 12 Baboons!
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The boy King looking larger than life!

There were 5,398 items found in this tomb, I try to imagine what it was like for Howard Carter seeing it for the first time all the gold and finery, Tuts coffin and death mask which we saw in the museum were solid gold, it must have been a sight, no wonder it is considered to one of the greatest finds in history.

I head out and make my way to the cafe to get a cold drink but the prices are extortionate so I stick with my bottle of water. I sit in the shade and wait as the rest of the group slowly gets to together.

We make our way back down the hill to catch a ride on the little mini trains.

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The Valley of the Kings, doesn't look like much from the outside!

Back in the bus once again and we wind our way out of the hills and stop in this village at a souvenir shop and factory, where they produce the stone statues and carvings.

A group of men are sitting out the front carving the quartz stone they use from the area when suddenly they break into song, and they are totally deserving of the of the applause that they receive!

We browse for a while, but I think I will do my shopping in the markets as quartz is a little too pricey for my budget!

So it is back on the bus again and we turn off and head up into the hills once again, I thought we were heading back into the city but I am delightfully surprised when pull up in front of another temple.

It is huge and dominates the hill side, it is a stunning colonnaded structure built into the rocky hillside.

The temple of Queen Hatshepsut (yeah I can't pronounce that!) on!e of Egypt's greatest Queens!

Mo organizes our entry while we get a layout of the area from the 3D map.

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The Temple as it would have been!

When you walk outside the temple looms over you from it's setting high on the hill. It is pretty spectacular!

A large open walk way takes you up the large stone stairs, to the colonnaded temple.

It seems different to the other temples where the pillars are round and decorated like Lotus flowers. The pillars here are squared Osiris statues stand with arms crossed in the forefront some in different stages of deterioration!

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Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple!

Hatshepsut was the 5th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty and the second historically confirmed female Pharaoh, ruling between 1507 and 1458BC. Her name actually means "Foremost of the Noble Ladies" which is kind of ironic since she disguised herself as man during most of her reign, even affecting a false beard, but it was never her intention to pass herself off as a man, rather, she referred to herself as the “female falcon.” Her success was due to the growth of Egyptian economy which flourished when she expanded trading relations on the African coast at the southernmost end of the Red Sea.

She become famous for all her building work throughout Egypt including this beautiful temple which she named the ‘Most Sacred of Sacred Places’.

At the base of the large stone staircase a Sphinx and Falcon stand vigilant sadly they are not completely intact, I love the Falcon it looks strong and determined, like the Queen in a male dominated world!

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Sentry Falcon...
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Is this guy smiling?!

When you get up close to the Osiris statues they seem quite feminine, they have the face of the Queen but still have the curling beard, must have been hard to rule as women in a man dominated society, although she did take power from her what I guess you would call a step son, her husband Thutmose II had a son to one of harem girls, the boy became king Thutmose III when his father died. She was not content to be the power behind the child king, Hatshepsut soon proclaimed herself pharaoh, and the boy was kept away from the court. He was sent off to join the army where he grew up. As the self-proclaimed daughter of God, she further justified her right to the throne by declaring that the god Amun-Ra had spoken to her saying “Welcome my sweet daughter, Thou art the king"

I head left to Hathor's temple columns fill the courtyard, they have Hathors face, the goddess of love and music. She looks a little comical with her cow shaped ears.

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Her little temple!
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The goddess Hathor...
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... she looks mischievous!

When you look at the hieroglyphics on the walls cows seem to be a big theme, these represent Hathor in her animal image.

There are scenes of dancing and even one of the Queen drinking from Hathors... well umm udders! Strange, yes definitely strange!

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Is it me or this a bit weird!
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Hathor in animal form!

Hieroglyphics cover every surface, neatly carved into the rock walls and pillars. I can't help myself, I just love the intricate workings of the symbols. The Egyptians were so clever and artistic.

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I think they are...
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... so fascinating!

Walking along the colonnade the main wall is covered with scenes of her life and rule as Queen. They are faded and worn, red is a prominent color with touches of blue.

Many of these portraits were destroyed at the order of her stepson Thutmose III after her death.

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Hmm...
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OK that's strange!
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More of the goddess Hathor!

A small room is hidden behind barred doors, you can get close enough to have a peek thru the ceiling is painted blue and celestial scenes cover entire thing.

The walls are covered with colorful writing and cartouch. I can make out the wings of Isis and many different animals, but I can't stay too long as the security staff are watching us closely and I quickly snap a pic before moving on.

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Ohh... a hidden chamber!
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A sneaky peek inside!

The Osiris statues loom over you, standing with crossed arms in the sun, you can still see patches of color on some of them but like many of Queen Hatshepsut portraits they were destroyed at the order of her stepson Thutmose III after her death, revenge maybe for taking his throne!

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What's the plural of Osiris?!
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Imagine them in full color!

It is a fantastic temple, it's nice just wandering along taking in all the artwork. Being an artist must have been a great occupation for the Egyptians, it must have taken a lot hours to cover every wall, column and archway they way have.

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Every inch...
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... is decorated like this!

When you look out to the valley you can understand why she chose this place to build. You can see Luxor in the distance back in Hatshepsuts day the Nile would have glistened in back drop now it is hidden by the city.

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Bet the view was better in Hatshepsuts day!

The temple complex is long and another chamber opens up this one we can go into. The door frame looks like it has been cut directly into the rock, it is so solid and the artwork framing the door is intricate 2 figures frame the door and it is hard not to be impressed when you step inside.

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I love these!
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Don't forget to look up!
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Another chamber to explore!
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I wonder who...
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... they are?!

The curved vaulted ceiling is fantastic, the red stars and the black background are striking.

Sadly the scenes on the walls are not intact patches are missing.

Small chambers are closed off to the public and security is there it make sure we don't break the rules.

But at least we get to spend time in this little chamber!

I make my way to the Anubis temple, it is the part of the temple I am looking forward to seeing, he is after all my fav god!

And I am not disappointed!

The art work is fantastic, the colors are amazing, so bright and vivid! There are 12 columns ans yet another, night sky painted ceiling, this is the best part of the temple complex.... well that's my opinion!

In one scene Anubis receives offerings from Hatshepsut but while the god himself is in good condition, poor Hatshepsut has been completely erased. The prime suspect for the damage is Thuthmosis III.

You can't help but feel sorry for her, having to insert her power by dressing as a man, then having the memory of reign wiped from history out revenge by her stepson!

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Here he reigns supreme!
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Anubis in his glory!

I make my way back to the stairs and take in the views, I try to imagine the temple with with all the gardens and water features, exotic trees and shrubs from Hathsepsut’s trading expeditions to Punt (thought to be in the region of Sudan) it must have been stunning!

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Sadly the green is gone & the desert took over!

Saying one last good bye to the Horus Falcon statue I head back to the entrance.

Most of the group are there already and we seek refuge from the afternoon heat and sit in the welcoming air conditioning on the bus.

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Proud Horus!

Heading back to Luxor we stop to take a closer look at the 2 seated statues we passed on the way to the Valley of the Kings. The Colossi of Memnon!

They are badly damaged and the faces barely recognizable. But they are both Amenhotep III (from the 14th century BC) in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs these are his wife Tiye and mother Mutemwiya, although I cannot for the life of me make them out!

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Amenhotep III times two!
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He looks kinda bird like!

The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple, very little remains today of Amenhotep's temple. It stood on the edge of the Nile floodplain and the huge temple disappeared over time, plus it was not unusual for future Pharaohs to destroy others temples as we know from poor Queen Hatshepsut.

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The inscription at the base, now I see them, wife & Mum!

We don't stay too long and head back to the hotel. Dumping my day pack I head up to the pool and meet up with the girls, ah thank goodness for the swimming pool!

We spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool side, this trip is a little non stop going from one iconic historical site to another so it is nice to enjoy a lazy afternoon... plus the pool is a major bonus!

After changing I meet the girls in the hotel reception and we head out.

The street is really chaotic and trying to cross the road is a major feat. I hate seeing the horses and carriages they look so sad and tired some of them are so thin and to work in this traffic must be so horrible for them... so heartbreaking!

Finally we weave our way thru the traffic, they certainly don't believe in zebra crossings, not that they would stop they are crazy drivers!

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Can't wait to see it up close!

The sun is beginning to set and the tall Palm Trees cast fantastic black silhouettes against the golden skyline!

Somehow we manage to get a little lost trying to find the entrance to Luxor temple, trust us!

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Luxor Sunset!

It doesn't cost much to enter and once again it is pretty amazing! The first thing that catches your attention are the giant Ramses II statues. Two are seated either side of the temple entrance, there are 3 more along the right main wall, he certainly liked to promote himself!

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Hey there Ramses!
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Ramses II in all his royalness!
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A little self promotion!
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There are more of him!

There is a huge Obelisk towering the entrance, there was once 2 of them but the other is now in Paris. But before I look around what is called the Pylon of Ramses II, I really want to see the avenue of the Sphinx. It is one of the sites on my list of "must see"!

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Will take a closer look later!

There are so many of them! I was really hoping we could walk down the avenue as the Pharaohs once did but sadly it is closed off to the public.

They are all in differing states of ruin, but I can imagine what they would have been like in their glory days! When this road was used once a year during the Opet festival when the Egyptians paraded along it carrying the statues of Amun and Mut in a symbolic re-enactment of their marriage.

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The Avenue of the well you can see what they are!
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They are so cool!

The construction of the Avenue of Sphinxes was begun during the New Kingdom and finished during 30th Dynasty, but sadly it doesn't connect to Karnak temple anymore, modern day living has buried much of the past!

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Wish I could get closer!
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Good thing I have a zoom lens!

I head back to the Ramses II Pylon to take a look around, the statues are fantastic, the details on their faces make them look like they are smiling. I guess it was good to be King!

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Amazing details!
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The story of his great battles are etched into his throne!
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He doesn't look that tough to me!

The entrance alone is over sixty-one meters wide! The statues line the front wall, construction was begun by Pharaoh Amenhotep III and was completed by Pharaoh Tutankhamun. It makes me wonder if all of these statues of are Ramses II, they do seem to look alike to me!

And why is one of them facing the wall?

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Quite a proud Pharaoh!
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So many!

I head over to study the Obelisk up close, I saw the one in Paris but never got to see it up close, I wonder if they are identical.

The etchings are so clear on every side all the way to the top! The 25m pink granite obelisk was built by Rameses so it's not surprising his name is carved into each side.

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Does that say Ramses... Probably!
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Love how they use animals in their alphabet!
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Still so amazingly intact!

There are 12 what look like Baboons at the base, yes I counted them, and they are... well let's just say they added all their bodily details! So detailed in fact I actually laugh out loud and get a few strange looks from passers by!

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Well... they are anatomically correct!

Heading in the Court of Ramses opens up, the sun is setting and the lights are slowly being turned on. The huge courtyard is surrounded by pillars and statues. the lights seem to make the glow, it is pretty spectacular.

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Ramses Court, WOW!

At 57 m long and 51 m wide, with 74 papyrus columns it is no wonder it is classed as one of the most amazing temples in Egypt.

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Every Column....
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.... every Beam...

Like Karnak this was once full of color, it is hard to imagine now as a lot of the statues are missing limbs and heads. Every column, beam and wall tells a story of the Pharaohs life, the battles, worship to the gods and family there is a smaller statue of his wife a diminutive Queen Nefertari, who was quite famous in her own right, his first wife they married when he was 15!

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... tells his story...
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and it's impressive!

I really want to get a closer look at the hieroglyphs on the columns but they are roped off, so I sneak thru an opening, the details are really amazing how they survived the thousands of years of weather, burial and time is well... amazing.

The fun for me is finding interesting little hieroglyphs that I haven't seen before, how did they read this stuff?!

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Water + disc + hill + Bee = NTBIT no idea what the rest are!
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Owl = M... umm I think!
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That looks like and anarchy symbol and a vulture =MERA
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That's too complicated!

I finally get caught and a security guard gives a me stern look and points the way out I apologize and smile and he just laughs a little... phew not in any big trouble then!

The next courtyard is dedicated to the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, a colonnade takes your there and it's just as impressive. It is 45m wide 56 long, with double rows of papyrus columns on three sides. The northern end was originally the entrance to the temple.

The dusk light make it all the more impressive as the stone seems to glow and the hieroglyphs and their shadows come to life, the stone seems to change color turning a shade of pink.

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Statues in the Court of Amonhotep III

At the back of the court is a Hypo style hall like at Karnak filled with more columns, in fact even the chambers and sanctuaries have columns, walking thru to the chapels dedicated to their various gods, each section is filled pillars.

The back section was once enclosed with a star decorated ceiling, now that must have been a fantastic sight to see.

I can't help but admire their work, the etching in the stones feels smooth and cool to touch. The pink of the stone has become quite obvious with the setting of the sun.

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Rows upon rows of pillars!
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The shadows seem bring them to life!
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Hmmm... who are you?!
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The symbol of the common people!

I duck into a small chamber it is crowded and just when I think about leaving I hear a tour guide explaining the hieroglyphs to her group. She points to one that represents Alexander the Great who apparently was crowned here at Luxor as great leader, so I stay and eves drop for a while.

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Inside the little chamber!
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Mirror image, wonder if it says something important!
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The Cartouche of Alexander the Great!

I stay for a while after the group in gone to enjoy having this little chamber to myself before the next chatty group piles in.

I head back to the entrance, night has taken over and the whole temple is lit up with spot lights. It looks fantastic.

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Leaving the Hypos style Hall!

The statues bask in gold light and shadows cross their features giving them an almost serine look. The hieroglyphs on the pillars seem stand out even more under spot light.

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Proud Ramses II
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Casting shadows!

The Obelisk looks fantastic under light, the writings on it are even better at nigh they seem to stand out more. What it must have taken to cut this out of the rock in one piece, then float it up the Nile from Aswan to here, clever!

I head over to the Avenue of the Sphinx and bump into Zoe and Hanny. It looks fantastic all lit up the little Sphinx glow gold as they sit silently and serenely basking in the light. Damn I wish we could get closer!

They built over most of the avenue with a Mosque and so most of it was lost, what a shame!

Cleopatra once paraded down this avenue, along with many other Pharaohs in celebration of Amun and Mut in a symbolic re-enactment of their marriage... that's a party I would have loved to attend!

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They have a glow about them!
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Opps someone is still in the dark!
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Me and these guys!

We head back towards Ramses II courtyard and to the left is this little, what looks like a small temple, a headless statue stands in the center, it is one of the only standing Roman temples left that was built here. The headless statue is of Isis in Roman dress.
When the Romans took control of Thebes and the Luxor Temple in about 250 AD, they turned the whole of the Luxor complex into a fortified garrison, and this is the only remnant of that time left, apart from the graffiti they left behind!

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Isis... well part of her anyway!

We take one last look at Luxor Temple, it is pretty amazing, especially all lit up in gold, you can't help but admire the Egyptians for their artistry, engineering skills and their dedication to their gods.

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One last look... Luxor Temple... AMAZING!

This is the last ancient site of this trip, you would think I am all templed out... Na!

We leave the temple and make our way into the Bazaar, we really need to get those souvenirs and we have time to kill before dinner.
The Bazaar is actually really pretty with the bright lights and neatly displayed tables but then.... arrr!

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Luxor Bazar....

It is busy and as we expected the shop owners see us coming and the hassling begins, but we push on thru and make our way into a couple of shops and I get some of those little statues I promised myself. I really don't like to haggle but this time I didn't care as the constant "you buy" "come into my shop" hardened my reserve!

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It's a bit of an effort!

With the shopping over we head to the restaurant, once again thank god Zoe knows what she is doing and we find the Al-Sahaby Lane Restaurant, where we are meeting some of the group for dinner.

The front doesn't look like much, and we have to climb up 4 flights of stairs but the restaurant has a great view of Luxor Temple!

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Dinner View!

We find some of the others are already there and once we settle in it's time to eat. Everything on the menu looks so great, and I will admit all that walking today has built up quite the appetite, so I can't help but order the lamb kofta thingys I love the way they come out on their own little BBQ!

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Dinner... yum!

We chat for a while relaxing in the cool river breeze. Then head back to the hotel. We leave Luxor tomorrow and have quite a long drive and my plans of a good nights sleep fail me, now you think after a long day walking in the sun I would crash out but... NO!
So I read for a bit...

Posted by TracingTheWorld 01:13 Archived in Egypt

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