Luxor is a rather unique Egyptian city, standing proudly in the Nile Valley and offering an appealing mixture of past and present. Today, Luxor is composed of three main areas, the busy city centre, the north-easterly village of Karnak, and also the many ancient remains of Thebes, located on the West Bank of the world-famous River Nile.
For many years, the numerous monuments dotted around Luxor have attracted tourists from all over the world, although since the arrival of modern-day mass tourism and package holidays, Luxor has never been more popular. If you plan your visit well, you will find that you can avoid many of the crowds and large groups, making your trips to the many temples and tombs all the more enjoyable. It is true to say that the many sights around Luxor are really second only to the Great Pyramids of Giza, with the Valley of the Kings being just one of the many highlights.
The chief tourist attractions in Luxor include the breathtaking Valley of the Kings and the equally impressive Valley of the Queens, where many important burial sites and royal tombs can be found; Deir el-Medina - often referred to as the Artisan Village and known for its ancient wall paintings and glimpses of the past; Temple of Deir El-Bahri - a particularly beautiful temple made of limestone and built for the great Queen Hatshepsut; the Temple of Luxor - an elaborate structure which played an important part during the historic Festival of Opet; and also the Temple of Karnak - a city of temples covering a vast space and boasting an enormous temple at the very heart.
Around the city of Luxor lies a number of outstanding landmarks and ancient monuments. The best include the Avenue of the Sphinxes - a truly awesome sight that is sure to make you gasp with delight; and the Colossi of Memnon - sited in the city's West Bank area and comprising two enormous sandstone statues. Also of importance within the city of Luxor, the faithfully reconstructed Temple of Merneptah now stands proudly once more, while the Temple of the Seti 1 is famous for once being the largest temple in Thebes and was built during the 13th century.
Several excellent museums and art galleries exist in the city of Luxor and are worth adding to your itinerary. Amongst the most popular, the Karnak Open-Air Museum contains many reconstructions of historical landmarks and structures, while the Luxor Museum is known for its collection of artefacts, treasures and interesting objects, such as relics from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Also of interest, the Museum of Mummification offers in-depth information about the famous Egyptian art of preserving bodies in preparation for the afterlife.