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Contiki Egypt & The Nile – Day 5: The Temple of Horus & Luxor

We woke up the following morning & were docked in Edfu for a morning visit to the Temple of Horus.  I boarded a cart pulled by a donkey through the streets of Edfu and we made it to the temple within a few minutes.

The temple was built beginning around 200 BC & was dedicated to the falcon god, Horus, the same god that half of Kom Ombo was dedicated to which we saw the day before.  Upon arriving at the temple, we saw an imposing façade.  I could not believe that façade was still standing & in great condition!

The temple is the most well preserved temple in Egypt, so we were really able to get a feel for what all the temples across Egypt were like.  I can only imagine how impressive it was to the Egyptians, though, as we are used to tall buildings and skyscrapers dominating major cities across the globe, but this was the biggest thing they would ever see.  Like the Great Pyramids, it is a testament to what mankind was able to do over two thousand years ago before electricity & machines were invented.

Upon walking through the doors in the bottom of the façade, we found ourselves in a large courtyard lined with columns.  It was, again, a very imposing structure.

The level of detail that went into the inscriptions was very impressive & I could not believe the size of them or the fact that they’ve survived in such impeccable condition for so long!  Our trip manager told us that the key inscriptions depicted the battles between Horus & Set, the god of evil, for who would succeed one of the kings of Egypt, Osiris.  Of course, good triumphs over evil and Horus is declared the victor.  Sherif, our trip manager, also pointed out something we did not expect – an inscription of the mother of Horas, Isis.  He said that the mother was supposed to be more powerful than other gods & a protector of Egypt from their enemies.  He also confirmed that the Islamic State’s name was not based off of this Isis.

We then had free time to walk around the temple where I saw the ceremonial barque of Horus which was supposedly used to carry him around during festivals.

While exploring the temple, I could not believe how beautiful the columns were or just how detailed & numerous the inscriptions were throughout the temple.

After our visit was complete, we headed back to the boat for the final stretch of our voyage up the Nile River towards Luxor.  During the boat ride, a few vendors in smaller boats followed our ship trying to sell souvenirs to us.  They would throw things onto the upper deck of the boat for people to look at, and hopefully purchase.  People would either negotiate a price and throw money down to the boat or throw the item back down if they didn’t want it.  It was impressive to see the motivation the Egyptians had & the lengths they would go to try to make a deal.

Before we arrived at Luxor, our boat entered a lock as the second part of river was much lower than the part we had been riding on for the first few days.  It was my first time traveling on a boat through a lock, so it was interesting to see something else I had learned about in school (the locks of the Erie Canal) take place in real life.  Some of the vendors even followed our boat into the lock!

The rest of the trip to Luxor was very relaxing.  We relaxed in our rooftop pool & enjoyed the scenery on the banks of the Nile River, careful not to get burned by the sun which was directly above us heating the earth to a hot 115 degrees Fahrenheit!

Upon our arrival into Luxor, we had the opportunity to take a tour around a traditional Egyptian village.  I rode in a donkey cart while some of the others rode on the backs of donkeys or camels.

As we rode along dirt roads, we passed crop filled fields, livestock, children waving to us from their houses & mosques.

We were then invited into one of Sharif's friends houses where we were offered shia (tea) and traditional bread.  The family showed us the oven that is used to make the bread & walked us around their house and the rest of the town.

After a quick dinner on the ship, we headed to see the Temple of Luxor.  On the way there, we were treated to a beautiful sunset over the Nile.

We were then able to tour the famous Luxor Temple as day turned to dusk on the banks of the Nile River.  The temple was beautifully illuminated at night which accentuated the beautiful details of the temple.  When we first arrived at the temple, we were greeted by an obelisk at the entrance which looked familiar.  There were once two obelisks, but the French took one in 1832 & it is now located at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.  The one obelisk was a sight to be seen, but it is a shame both were not there as it would definitely lend to the symmetrical architecture the Egyptians intended when the constructed the temple millennia ago.

Upon entering the temple, we were immediately immersed in more illuminated columns and imposing statues.

We learned that the Luxor Temple is not dedicated to any specific god, but the place where many kings of Egypt were crowned before taking a stroll down the famous “Avenue of Sphinxes” which connected the Temples of Karnak & Luxor.  While we did not visit Karnak, that evening, we were very impressed by the sheer number of sphinxes down the 1.3 mile path.  Unfortunately, it was so dark that the pictures I tried to take didn’t come out very well, but would visit Luxor again the following day!

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