Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Luxor II

As this was our second trip to Luxor in as many years we felt that this visit was a chance to see some of those things that we just simply did not have the time to visit last time.  I'm pleased that we were not running about feeling like we HAD to do anything either as it has been pretty hot here - over 44 most days, if not hotter.

With Angel (who we met at Wadi Rum) we negotiated with a taxi driver to take us up to the Temple of Hapchesut (Deir El Bahri).  He was keen to take us further but the other site we wanted to see were so close it did not justify having him wait about for us to drive us another 500m along the road.  I really feel for the operators in Luxor, and all of Egypt at the moment, not only is it low season, but numbers really are down as people just aren't travelling at the moment.

The Temple looks quite modern as you approach, and we were worried that it was all going to be reconstructed and repaired, if not brand new, when we got there.  The archaeological work had been undertaken by a Polish group and having lived in the UK we knew just how good the Poles could be with their labour.  As we got closer however it was plain to see that while the front of the temple had been reconstructed a little, the inside was full of the ancient, and colourful carvings and paintings. 

After a good explore, finding all the possible shady spots in the Temple, we set about to do a cross country mission over to the Valley of the Nobles. This took us longer than we expected, not because the route was long, but more because a bored security guard and his friend invited us into his shady mud hut for some cool and some tea.  There was no way I was saying no to that!  Over the tea we learnt that, in the past 18 months since our last visit, that their local village had been relocated a couple of kilometres away.  The theory is that beneath their village there are bound to be more temples and tombs to be excavated and preserved, but all the same these local men did not seem happy about the move (although not a bad word was said about the government or the regime).  The plan is to turn Luxor into a great open air museum and it seems that a lot of relocation is required for this.

Valley of the Nobles was so different from our experience in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Artisans that we visited last year.  Smaller than the VOTK, and larger than the VOTA they were great examples of later tombs, with ornate designs and images of the Egyptian highlife.

Luxor seems to have changed a lot.  I can't figure out if it because we are travelling just the two of us, it is the heat of summer, we are staying somewhere different or because there are just so few travellers, but it seems very empty and quiet...

PS - Sorry for no photos... after 45 mins waiting for them to load I gave up, sorry...

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