Luxor at Sunrise and Egyptian Temples

| Don't miss part 1 of our visit to Luxor here. |

The next morning in Egypt started early for us with a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Sorry for the slew of photos that follow; I couldn't pick just one!

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Flying low over the city. 

Flying low over the city. 

Looking back on the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut's Temple. 

Looking back on the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut's Temple. 

Crossing the Nile.

Crossing the Nile.

Luxor Temple from above. 

Luxor Temple from above. 

It was cold and beautiful and a lot of fun. Sadly, we were supposed to fly directly over the Valley of the Kings but the wind was not in our favor. We did get to cross the Nile, though.

After that, we hit Habu, Karnak, and Luxor Temples. 

Habu Temple. 

Habu Temple. 

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The ceilings were adorned with beautifully colored vultures. 

The ceilings were adorned with beautifully colored vultures. 

Karnak Temple is fascinating. More than just your standard Ancient Egyptian Temple, Karnak's construction lasted 1,500 years. It is considered the most important place of worship in the New Kingdom. Its main structure (let alone its additional sanctuaries, pylons, and obelisks) is considered the largest religious structure ever built. The entire complex covers more than 2 sq km. 

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When they were excavating the temple, they found the "temporary" mud brick walls still in place. They used these walls to help lift the stones into place, and then removed them when they were done. In the case of Karnak, it was under construction on and off so frequently that these were still in place thousands of years later! 

When they were excavating the temple, they found the "temporary" mud brick walls still in place. They used these walls to help lift the stones into place, and then removed them when they were done. In the case of Karnak, it was under construction on and off so frequently that these were still in place thousands of years later! 

It was incredible to see the scale of what these ancient architects and workers were able to accomplish. 

Can you believe the size of these columns?! 

Can you believe the size of these columns?! 

Looking back on a small portion of Karnak Temple for some sense of scale. 

Looking back on a small portion of Karnak Temple for some sense of scale. 

From Karnak Temple, we headed over to Luxor Temple. 

A walkway over 3 km long connects Karnak and Luxor Temples, lined the entire length with sphinxes on either side. 

A walkway over 3 km long connects Karnak and Luxor Temples, lined the entire length with sphinxes on either side. 

With its central location in downtown Luxor, the Temple has been used through the ages for many purposes. That, along with the years of debris, led to a Muslim mosque bring built directly on top of the temple. 

I love this picture because it shows the Ancient Egyptian religion (on the left), the Muslim mosque (with the beautiful carved windows), and the temple site that was used by Christians for worship (below the mosque). 

I love this picture because it shows the Ancient Egyptian religion (on the left), the Muslim mosque (with the beautiful carved windows), and the temple site that was used by Christians for worship (below the mosque). 

Lost his head and still faithfully worshipping. 

Lost his head and still faithfully worshipping. 

Cannot get over the scale of their buildings! 

Cannot get over the scale of their buildings! 

Some of the Roman influence at Luxor Temple. Seeing the similarities and differences of these two great cultures as they melded thousands of years ago was one of the most interesting things we observed during our trip.

Some of the Roman influence at Luxor Temple. Seeing the similarities and differences of these two great cultures as they melded thousands of years ago was one of the most interesting things we observed during our trip.

After Luxor, it was on to Alexandria! But that's a story for another day.

DON'T MISS

  • VALLEY OF THE KINGS - my absolute favorite part of the entire trip
  • Hatshepsut's Temple - amazing architecture
  • Luxor Temple - it has the most interesting story to tell of Egypt through the ages
  • Karnak Temple - a little piece of every Pharaoh (well, not quite, but you get the drift!

CONSIDER PASSING

  • Habu Temple - it was a good temple to see to make up for Esna, but not so high on the list otherwise. 

  • Eating - Hope you have some packed food, because Luxor had the worst food in all of Egypt and we gave it quite a few chances... 

  • Hot air balloon ride - I know; I'm as shocked as you that this would be on here! But tourism is so down in Egypt and everyone's looking to make a few extra bucks, so they way overpacked our basket. There was no room to even turn around, and our Asian friends struggled to even take a selfie! In the end, I wish we had rather saved a few bucks and slept in. But, we also did not fly the intended course so...