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Luxor and Aswan: Best places to visit in ancient Egypt's capital cities

December 09, 2020
Luxor and Aswan are two cities in Upper Egypt located along the River Nile and known to be home to marvelous ancient Egyptian temples that date back almost 4,000 years ago. Luxor alone has one-third of the world’s ancient monuments, and many Egyptians like to call Aswan the “Egyptian Paradise”. Both cities have a rich historical background and equally interesting cultural traditions. Whether you are a history lover or not, you will find yourself fully amazed standing in front of ancient temples whose secrets are still unknown. You will live a seamless experience listening to the whispers of kings and queens narrating untold stories through the stunning drawings that have survived thousands of years. The best time to visit Luxor and Aswan is in December, January and February, as the gentle shining sun really makes these two cities special during winter. You can escape the cold, whether it’s in Cairo, Alexandria, or another metropolis around the world, to enjoy the warm southern Egyptian winter sun. Taking a cruise from Luxor to Aswan is a must-consider if you want to enjoy the calm and peaceful atmosphere while sailing through the Nile. On both sides of the river’s banks, you can satisfy your eyes with a combination of sand and green lands and enjoy mesmerizing golden sunrises and sunsets. In this article, we tried our best to be your guide to two stats-of-art cities on the land of Egypt. Two cities that no matter how many words anyone can say about their beauty, it will never be enough till you see them with your own eyes!

Temple of Philae

Philae is a beautiful island surrounded by clear blue water and black granite boulders in Aswan. It is located in a beautiful setting and landscaped to match the original site of the temple when it was relocated by UNESCO after the building of the Aswan Dam threatened the site. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the Temple of Philae has several shrines and sanctuaries such as Trajan's Kiosk or Pharaoh's Bed. For a morning visit, sail there, enjoy the sun and river and snap the reflection of the temple in the water. And for a night visit, don't miss attending the marvelous Sound and Light show!

Nubian Village

Aswan is surrounded by many small islands and Nubian villages on the west bank. The Nubian villages are such a cheerful sight for being painted with bright colors and inhabited by Nubians who speak their own Nubian Languages and have specific traditions that are different from the rest of Egypt. The village is like an outdoor museum filled with vibrant colors and symmetrical patterns. Buy herbs and handicrafts and ask about women who draw Henna for tourists. Between all Luxor and Aswan attractions, visiting the Nubian villages could be the only trip that will capture your heart in all meanings. It is such a wonderful trip for adults, kids and all ages.

Unfinished Obelisk

The unfinished obelisk's construction was ordered by Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt and the second female pharaoh. The large unfinished obelisk in Aswan in the Northern Quarries has provided valuable insight into how these monuments were created, although the full construction process is still not entirely clear. The unfinished obelisk is nearly one-third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 42 m (approximately 137 feet) and would have weighed nearly 1,090 metric tons (1,200 tons), a weight equal to about 200 African elephants.

Elephantine Island

The island of Elephantine is one of the major Aswan attractions floating on the Nile. Elephantine Island is the biggest island in Aswan and its history dates back to the pre-dynastic period. The island received its name after its shape, which in aerial views is similar to that of an elephant tusk, or from the rounded rocks along the banks resembling elephants. Elephantine Island was the place where ancient Egyptians first resided when they first settled in the area. There are many attractions on this Island Such as The Nilometer, the Elephantine Museum and the Temple of Khunum and all are definitely must-visit.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of Kings is situated in the ancient site of Thebes in Luxor. It was the burial place of Egypt’s New Kingdom Rulers and a few lesser nobles. The tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut) that was discovered in the 1920s is located there. Additionally, there is also a Valley of Queens, which is the place where the wives of the Pharaohs were buried. The legendary Queen Nefertiti’s tomb lies in The Valley of Queens. So far about 65 ancient tombs have been discovered while a big number is still hidden to this very day.

Temple of Karnak

Being the largest religious site in the world, Karnak Temple is the most astonishing and magnificent tourist attraction in Luxor and one of the most popular and most visited temples in the world. The Karnak Temple Complex was built by the pharaohs for over 2000 years and was dedicated to the Pharaoh Amun. What makes Karnak Temple unique is the fact that around 30 Pharaohs contributed to it. The result is a fabulous treasure trove of ancient buildings and structures, columns, courtyards, pylons and obelisks, even a sacred lake, the scale of which is unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple is a large ancient temple complex located on the East bank of the Nile River and amongst one of the beauties of Luxor. Dedicated to Amun, his companion Mut, and their son Khons (the moon god), Amenhotep II and Ramses II built this temple in 1400 B.C. It was built with sandstone and its main purpose was to celebrate the Festival of Opet. This festival was by far the largest and most important celebration by the Pharaohs. The Luxor Temple was held in honor of the great Pharaoh Amun in the season of inundation.

Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari

Located beneath massive cliffs near the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, The temple of Deir al-Bahari, popularly known as the Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple is dedicated to Amon-Ra, the sun god. The light-colored sandstone of the temple stands out significantly against the golden yellow rocks behind. The temple complex lies on the three terraces linked via ramps that divide it into the northern and southern half. The beautiful temple has three floors and a long sweep of steps and a walkway as its entrance. Inside you'll see the sun court, chapel and sanctuary. The temple is unique because it was designed like classical architecture.

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