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Luxor, Egypt


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episode transcription

Hello, it’s nice to greet you, I’m Yael Yancelson and it will be a pleasure to take this historic journey with you, so close your eyes if possible, breathe, relax, give me your hand and let’s travel together with the power of imagination to Luxor, let’s begin!

The fascinating history of ancient Egypt comes to life in one of the oldest civilizations in the world located on the eastern bank of the Nile, in the ancient city of Thebes, capital of the new kingdom of ancient Egypt: Luxor and Karnak.

Luxor is located 700 kilometers south of Cairo. The city, with almost 500,000 inhabitants, makes a living from tourism and agriculture. Luxor is the city in which the largest number of monuments in Egypt is concentrated. Among the most outstanding are the Luxor Temple, the Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and the Colossi of Memnon.

We thus arrive at the modern city of Luxor, in the heart of the city center and just in front of the pier we are going to take the ferry to cross the Nile River. This site was conceived as a complement to the other great temple of the city, Karnak, and its construction was promoted mainly by the pharaohs Amenhothep III and Ramses II. The latter finished it as it is known today.

What a way to enter the fascinating world of the ancient gods and see how well preserved the temple is since only the high priests and the pharaoh could access it before!

Before crossing this gateway, we look back and walk along the avenue of the sphinxes and it is best to imagine at that time where it had a length of almost 3 km, a width of about 70 m and joined the two most important temples of the ancient Thebes: Luxor and Karnak. it was flanked by 1,400 sphinxes, half man, half lion, and 650 were recovered in the excavations, this road on which we find ourselves, was processional and numerous religious festivals were then celebrated, such as the Opet Festival which consisted of a procession in that the priests transported the boats of the Theban triad, composed of the god Amun, his wife Mut and their son, Konshu, from the temple of Karnak to Luxor through the avenue of the sphinxes. They stayed there for a while and the return to Karnak was made by the river taking advantage of the course of the current.

Stop for a second and manage to appreciate this magnificence, we are about to enter the enclosure and a huge obelisk, which symbolizes a petrified sunbeam, surprises us, right? and voleta also to see the two seated colossi that flank the entrance and that represent the pharaoh Ramses II. who reigned for more than 60 years and was a great builder, was represented in colossal statues in various temples where he was worshiped as a god. Look, there are recorded scenes of the legendary battle of Qadesh in which he is victorious and invincible against the Hittites.

We have been told that the pylons, which are an architectural structure of ancient Egyptian art, were like a gateway to the world of the gods and also a “safety lock” that prevented chaos from penetrating into the divine world. That is why its facades were decorated with scenes of the pharaoh fighting against the enemies of Egypt (chaos), thus helping to maintain maat (order). After all, the pharaoh was the only human being capable of serving as an intermediary between the earthly world and the divine. After crossing the pylon, to the left is the rear of a mosque, that of Abu el Haggag, which was built in the 13th century on the ruins of the Luxor temple. Opposite the mosque, to the right, stands a colonnade that forms part of the courtyard of Ramses II, made up of 74 papyrus columns distributed in two rows. Interspersed between the columns are colossal statues (many headless) representing Ramses II. This was the only place the town had access to during religious processions and they are darker in color as they were carved from black granite. His favorite wife, the beautiful Nefertari, is next to his leg, do you see?

The two seated colossi of Ramses II mark the beginning of Amenothep III’s colonnade: two rows of seven 16-meter columns. These were decorated with colorful scenes from the Opet Festival. Unlike the columns in the courtyard of Ramses II, which we have left behind, these have open papyrus capitals. Papyrus, in addition to being a writing support, was a plant that grew in the marshes of the Nile delta. It not only provided the material for writing, but also served as food and with its stem ropes, baskets, furniture were made. , footwear and even boats. Given the abundance of this plant in the river landscape on the banks of the Nile, it was one of the favorite motifs for Egyptian artists. It is found in the columns and reliefs of temples, as well as in funerary amulets and in many everyday objects.

It is worth visiting the Luxor museum that contains 26 pharaonic statues that were buried by the priests in Roman times.

The function of the Egyptian temples was to provide an earthly dwelling for the gods, that is, a stone construction that will house their statue, let’s continue walking to see the Offering Room, the Sanctuary of the Boat and the Birth Room that surrounded the most intimate part of the temple, the one that housed the statue of the god Amun.

I’m very excited because we’re literally going to fly, let’s get on this hot air balloon, it’s the first time I’ve done it and you? and now yes, let’s go up to the clouds to walk on the west bank of Luxor and we have with this beautiful trip an aerial perspective of the archaic views of the city. See those vast temples and enjoy the sight of tall statues illuminated and colored by the sun. Look there is the complex of temples and chapels in Karnak to the east, if you direct your eyes to the west you can admire the views of Hatshepsut’s temple in its spectacular place at the foot of colossal cliffs. Spy the Colossi of Memnon rising up and apparently guarding royal tombs. Wow what a delightful experience! Did you like the flight? Let’s talk about it on Facebook.

Throughout its history, the city has had different names; the ancient Egyptians called it “scepter” uast, the Greeks Thebes because of its similarity to the Greek city and the Arabs gave it the name of Luxor or palaces with a thousand doors. It was the capital of the country for more than 1500 years

 Without a doubt, this is an extremely interesting trip, especially for those who enjoy history. To be honest, the ruins tire me a bit, but we have to take advantage of what each place offers us, so we don’t stop and go to the Temple of Karnak, the largest in Egypt and even today remains are still being found and are still being rebuilt. The enclosure in which it is located has a perimeter of 2,400 meters and is surrounded by an 8-meter-thick adobe wall. Built by multiple pharaohs between 2200 and 360 BC, the Karnak Temple contains within it the great temple of Amón, other smaller temples, chapels and the great sacred lake. The most important pharaohs involved in its construction were Hatshepsut, Seti I, Ramses II and Ramses III.

Probably the most spectacular part of the temple is its hypostyle hall; With more than 5,000 square meters it contains 134 columns, of which the 12 central ones are wider and raise the roof, now destroyed, to 23 meters high.

At the entrance of the temple, we are warmly welcomed by 40 ram-headed sphinxes, which is the beginning of the Avenue of the Sphinxes that reaches the Luxor Temple and the Nile.

 We are going to enjoy one of the most famous light and sound shows in Egypt right inside the Karnak Temple and we are going to advance through the enclosure while we listen to the story and see how different parts of the temple are illuminated. It’s very well done, right!

We cannot miss The Valley of the Kings, which is basically the necropolis of Egypt, where many of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom are buried. To date, more than 60 tombs carved into the rocks have been discovered. In ancient times, the valley was called “Ta Iset Maat”, which means “place of truth”. The first pharaoh to be buried in the Valley of the Kings was King Tuthmosis I, pharaoh of the (18th) 18th dynasty.

And if you want to see the tomb of Nefertiti, then we quickly go to the Valley of the Queens, although I honestly don’t know if it’s worth it because there are very few things open to the public today. The tomb of Nefertari was built in 1290 BC. by order of Ramses II for his favorite wife. It has a depth of 27 meters.

Feel the breeze in this unbearable heat, which gives us being on the banks of the Nile River, while we see The Colossi of Memnon, which are two gigantic statues of Amenophis III that presided over his funerary temple, The statues, built 3,400 years ago, show the pharaoh calm, hands on knees, looking at the Rising Sun. His mother, Queen Mutemwiya, and his wife, Queen Tiy, are carved in its lower part. Legend has it – that in the year 27 B.C. An earthquake brought down much of one of them. From then on, the other colossus began to “sing” every morning at dawn. At the beginning of the 3rd century the Roman emperor Septimus Severus rebuilt the statue and its twin fell silent.

Each statue is 14 meters tall, weighs 700 tons, and stands on a 4-meter-high pedestal weighing 600 tons. In total, the set is 18 meters high and weighs 1,300 tons. It is thought that certain parts of the head and headdress are missing, so the actual height could have been about 21 meters. Each sculpture is made from a single block of granite brought from quarries located near Cairo, 675 kilometers from Luxor.

And after so much traveling, I’m already hungry, so if you like to cook, stay with me and we’ll go to the kitchen.

Click the button to see the recipe or if you prefer you can continue to travel.

Well, this is how we have to say goodbye to Luxor in Egypt, without a doubt it is a place that inspires great fascination among lovers of exotic destinations, thanks to its history and archaeology. Thank you for traveling with me and I wait for you every week in one more episode, how do you know Alternative Reality is a project that seeks to make a community by contributing to different causes and I found that the foundation for social promotion of Egypt, made a day here in Luxor, where the participants They learned about the value chain in general and the tourism sector in particular, along with the different types of values ​​that can be associated with a product and/or service, in order to promote the industry. If you are interested in knowing more about the subject, go to: https://promocionsocial.org

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