Luxor is a city on the east bank of the Nile River in southern Egypt. It’s on the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries B.C. Today’s city surrounds 2 huge, surviving ancient monuments: graceful Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple, a mile north. The royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are on the river’s west bank.Both east-bank temples have preserved statues, columns, obelisks and hieroglyphics, plus sound-and-light shows at night. The west-bank necropolis includes the tombs of Tutankhamun and Ramses III, which is adorned with colorful 2000-year-old reliefs. The Luxor Museum displays artifacts recovered from many of the tombs, while the Mummification Museum sheds lights on mummification techniques. The Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut is backed by towering cliffs. Traditional felucca sailing boats, cruise ships and hot-air balloons provide trips on or above the river. Many of the modern hotels and restaurants in Luxor overlook the water.
When to visit
Most visitors arrive Dec–Apr, when the weather is warm and dry. With a desert climate, temperatures soar May–Sep. Major events include the Egyptian & European Film Festival (Jan–Feb) and the African Film Festival (Mar). Major religious holidays include Ramadan (dates vary).