Tomb of King Tutankhamun

The boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, who ruled the New Kingdom in the 14th century, enjoys fame disproportionate to his short reign and modest achievements. This is mostly due to the discovery of his largely intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922, his mummy adorned by a dazzling gold mask (now in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, along with most of …

Ramesseum

While not as well preserved as nearby Medinet Habu, this mortuary temple dedicated to Ramses II, dating to 1258 BC, still has more than enough to interest the visitor. In the inner sanctuary, for example, the majority of the columns in the hypostyle hall are still standing, as are a number of osirid statues standing sentinel at the entrance, albeit …

Temple of Ramases III

Where the fertile Nile floodplain meets the desert lies the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III, known locally by its Arabic name Medinet Habu. The whole compound forms a huge rectangle, with the temple a smaller rectangle within. The ensemble is the second largest in Luxor after Karnak, and is related in both style and scale to the nearby Ramesseum. Visitors …

Temple of Hatshepsut

The vast Temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari rivals the Pyramids as one of the great funerary monuments of the ancient world. Built into the towering cliff face which shelter the Valley of the Kings on the other side, it rises on three enormous terraces connected by ramps, each level marked with a colonnade of stark, largely unadorned square pillars. …

Temple of the Sphinxes

The Avenue of Sphinxes was the site of ceremonial processions and originally connected the temples of Luxor and Karnak, although it is considerably more recent than either of those sites, dating to around 380 BC. It stretched some 1.5 miles (2.7 kilometers) and would once have had 1,350 sphinxes lining its sides. Around half of those have been uncovered, with …

Temple of Karnak

Temple of Karnak The largest of Luxor’s temples, Karnak was one of the most sacred sites in ancient Egypt. It marked the ascendancy of Thebes (present day Luxor) as the capital of the New Kingdom, with construction beginning in the 16th century BC. Most subsequent rulers tinkered with the complex so it represents a great crash course in different pharaonic …

The Valley of the Kings

 The Valley of the Kings The harsh, lunar landscape of the Valley of the Kings is the resting place of numerous New Kingdom pharaohs, whose remains were interred in tombs burrowed into rock. The 60-odd tombs which have been discovered (which may represent only half of the total tombs in the area) are identified by number rather than the name …

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple The enormous Luxor Temple was one of the great constructions of the New Kingdom (dating from the 14th century BC) dedicated to the god Amun. It was known as the “Southern Sanctuary” and was the site of ceremonies aimed at encouraging the life-giving Nile floods. Once through the processional Avenue of Sphinxes you come to the First Pylon, …