There are many amazing ancient temples in Luxor, so which are the best ones to visit if you only have a few days to spare? In this post, we are going to look at what many people consider to be the top 5 temples in Luxor: Karnak Temple; Luxor Temple; Hatshepsut Temple; Medinet Habu Temple, and Edfu Temple.
If you only have enough time to visit a few ancient temples during your stay in Luxor, these should be right at the very top of your list.
1. Karnak Temples in Luxor
Karnak Temple is located on the east bank of the River Nile at Thebes near modern-day Luxor. It is a vast complex that consist of numerous structures, most of which were added at various times during the history of Ancient Egypt. Each successive pharaoh would renovate, alter, or add to the original complex during their reign.
Best described as a city of temples, Karnak was dedicated to the god, Amun. It continually grew and expanded over a period of around 2,000 years. While the oldest structures at the site are estimated to be about 4,000 years old, many of the other structures are considerably younger. Karnak is the largest place of worship ever constructed, even by today’s standards.
Karnak Temple is one of the most visited ancient temples in Luxor. It is also the second-most visited archeological site in Egypt, surpassed only by the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. Sadly, history and Mother Nature have not been kind towards Karnak, and today only ruins remain. However, despite its poor state of preservation, there is still so much to see at the site.
The most striking feature at the site is the “hypostyle hall” with its 134 stone columns, each measuring 23 meters in height. Like many other things at Karnak, the hypostyle hall was huge, covering an area of roughly 16,500 square meters.
Considering it breathtaking nature and its historical significance, Karnak Temple features in all of our Nile cruise holidays and our Nile cruise itineraries. If you are contemplating a trip to Egypt, you can read more about the Karnak Temple complex here, or you can create your own custom tour here.
2. The Temple of Luxor
Luxor Temple is an ancient Egyptian Temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile at Thebes near modern-day Luxor. The temple, which dates back to around 1400 BCE was mostly constructed during the reign of Amenhotep III but was later added to by Tutankhamun, Horemheb and Ramses II.
Luxor Temple is one of the most visited ancient temples in Luxor, and also one of the top tourist attractions in the area. In 1979 the complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In guided Luxor tours and Nile cruise itineraries, Luxor Temple typically features alongside Karnak Temple since the two sites are located in close proximity to one another. Tourists are able to move from one temple to the other via the Avenue of Sphinxes which is a popular attraction in its own right.
Tourists visiting Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple will also often visit other Luxor tourist attractions as well, both on the east bank and west bank. All Nile cruises from Luxor that are available on our website include a visit to Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple and Hatshepsut Temple, three of the most famous temples in Luxor.
If you are planning a trip to Egypt, you can read more about Luxor Temple here. As is the case with most ancient Egyptian monuments, Luxor Temple is best visited with a professional tour guide.
3. Hatshepsut Temple
Hatshepsut Temple, also known as Djeser-Djeseru, is an ancient mortuary temple located on the west bank of the River Nile at Luxor. The complex was constructed during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, an Eighteenth Dynasty female pharaoh. The temple was dedicated to the god Amun and herself.
The design of the temple was inspired by the design of the nearby mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II. It is a vast terraced complex, and undeniably one of the grandest ancient temples in Luxor. The mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut is today considered to be one of the Incomparable Monuments of Ancient Egypt.
Hatshepsut Temple, which was once known as the “Holy of Holies” sits at the foot of some stone cliffs at Deir el-Bahari near the Valley of Kings. Queen Hatshepsut, who died in 1458 BC was never buried in her mortuary temple. Instead, she was buried in a tomb (KV60) in the Valley of Kings.
As with Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple is one of the temples in Luxor that feature in nearly all of our Egypt tour packages, including our Nile cruises. Find out more about Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple, or you can add it to your own custom tour here.
4. Medinet Habu Temple
Medinet Habu Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple that was constructed to serve as the mortuary temple of Ramses III. It is located on the west bank of the Nile River, more or less directly opposite the modern city of Luxor. Covering an area of more than 66,000 square meters, it is the second-largest ancient Egyptian temple ever discovered.
Medinet Habu Temple is one of 6 famous ancient temples in Luxor. The area where the temple is located is also known as Medinet Habu and is home to several other ancient structures, although none of these are as impressive. The temple is best known for its many well-preserved reliefs and its giant statues of Ramses.
The size and grandeur of the temple have led Experts to speculate that Ramses III wanted his mortuary temple to rival the nearby mortuary temple of Ramses II known as the Ramesseum Temple. Like many other temples built during the same era, Medinet Habu Temple was dedicated to the god Amun.
When archeologists discovered the temple, they also discovered numerous human skulls on display in the great hypostyle hall. It is thought that the skulls belonged to captives and were put on display to demonstrate the pharaoh’s power and his control over Nubia and Syria.
5. Edfu Temple
Edfu Temple is an ancient Egyptian cult temple located on the west bank of the Nile River near the modern-day city of Edfu. The temple was built between 237 and 57 BC and was dedicated to the chief god, Horus. It is the best preserved ancient shrine ever discovered in Egypt.
Edfu Temple is largely still intact to this day. During the Roman period, the complex was seized by the Romans who then later deserted it. By the time Edfu Temple was rediscovered in 1738, it had become buried by shifting desert sand and silt deposited by the Nile, with only the upper sections of the temple’s pylons visible above the sand.
Also known as the Temple of Horus, Edfu Temple is a major tourist attraction. Although the temple is not actually located in Luxor itself, it is often listed as one of the top temples in Luxor. Most visitors travel to the site from Luxor, a journey that takes about two hours.
Edfu Temple is the main reason why Edfu has become a popular stop for river boats cruising the Nile. Almost all of our own Nile River cruises from Luxor also include a stop at Edfu where one of our guides will then take you for a tour of the site. Several of our Luxor tour packages also include a visit to Edfu Temple, along with the other top temples in Luxor.
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