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Luxor Temple, Luxor

Luxor, Egypt, Africa + Middle East: Luxor Temple
East Bank
Egypt's insider take:

This 3,300-year-old temple is downtown Luxor's greatest reminder that this sleepy town was once a mighty metropolis called Thebes. What's more, the fact that a 12th-century mosque is plopped right down in the middle of the temple grounds illustrates how Thebes's eventual successor, the Arab village called Al-Uqsur, grew among the ruins of the ancient city. The temple is at its most atmospheric at night, when the crowds have gone home and shadows gather between the papyrus-bundle columns in the Hypostyle Hall. Look for the bas-relief carvings of the Feast of Opet; the most important religious festival of ancient Thebes, this annual ceremony coincided with the Nile flood and symbolized royal regeneration.

Open daily May through September 6 am to 8 pm, and October through April 6 am to 9 pm.

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