Exploring Luxor’s West Bank
With the mighty Nile flowing through its center, Luxor is often described as a city of two halves—the modern East Bank and the picturesque West Bank, an archaeological paradise. Here are some famous sites not to miss while exploring Luxor’s historic side.
Valley of the Kings
Considered among the most significant archaeological destinations on earth, the Valley of the Kings was the burial place for many of Egypt’s New Kingdom pharaohs—the most famous of which is the tomb of Tutankhamun, aka King Tut. The remaining tombs are divided into three sections; those of Ramses VI and Ay rank among the most beautiful, thanks to their intricate detail.
Temple of Ramses III
One of the most underrated historical sites in Luxor is the Temple of Ramses III, situated at the base of the Theban mountains. It’s best to visit this quiet complex—a palace and town surrounded by a defensive wall—in the late afternoon.
Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
This impressive mortuary temple, built by Queen Hatshepsut, seems to blend in with the limestone cliffs from which it was cut. The meticulously restored complex happens to sit on one of the hottest places on the planet, so most visitors come in the cooler morning hours.
Valley of the Artisans
It took a small army of builders and artisans to construct the magnificent monuments in the Valley of the Kings, and those workers lived in a village today known as the Valley of the Artisans. You can still make out the streets and outlines of old buildings, and a visit offers fascinating insight into the daily lives of average ancient Egyptians.
Colossi of Memnon
Standing nearly 60 feet (18 meters) above the desert plain, the two faceless statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III are often the first monuments you’ll see when visiting Luxor’s West Bank. Each of the two Colossi was cut from a single block of stone.