City of Palaces
“The City of Palaces”
Luxor, situated 440 miles south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile, was the capital of Egypt during the Middle and New kingdoms, holding the seat of power for more than thirteen centuries. In antiquity, Luxor was called Thebes. Renowned Greek historian, Homer, called Thebes “the one hundred-gated city” because of its buildings and large gates. The city grew over the years, and the Arab Moslems, impressed by its beautiful palaces and huge edifices, re-named it Luxor, meaning “the city of palaces”.
Today, visitors are still awed by this city, made immortal by its huge, pillared-monuments along both banks of the Nile. Luxor is the world’s greatest open-air museum filled with awe-inspiring monuments of ancient civilizations. In the east stands the City of the Living, where the life-giving sun rises; and in the west lays the City of the Dead, where the sun, in its never-ending orbit, bids farewell to life. Surrounded by modern shops and luxury hotels, the temples, tombs and palaces still stand in sandstone and granite, as symbol of the desire for immortality and eternity.
Luxor is unique among the cities of the world. A visitor can walk through history, past statues with heads of gods and animals, beneath pillars carved with lotus buds and papyrus. You can ride in a horse-drawn carriage, sail aboard a felucca, take a sunset cruise, and even see the city from a hot-air balloon! Wherever you tread, you feel you are experiencing the past and the present simultaneously. There is hardly a place in this city that does not have a relic that tells of the grandeur of the ancient Egyptians.