The Temple of Luxor
The XVIIIth Dynasty Temple of Luxor, located close to the Nile in the centre of Luxor town, is one of the great temples of Pharaonic Egypt. Although built on a smaller scale, it is considered by many to be more beautiful than than the more famous Karnak Temple. Approached through an Avenue of Sphinxes (which originally linked Luxor Temple to Karnak 2 miles away), the temple gateway is flanked by massive pylons and enthroned colossi, with a single 25-metre-high obelisk; this was originally one of a pair - the other one now stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Whereas Karnak is the work of many dynasties spanning a staggering 1,500 years, the Temple of Luxor was built by just two rulers of the New Kingdom - Amenophis III and the great Ramses II.
Within the temple walls lies the Court of Ramses II (pictured below), surrounded by a double row of papyrus-bud columns. This leads through to the superb Colonnade of Amenophis III, renowned for the elegance of its giant papyrus columns whose capitals support massive architraves. The temple has some excellent reliefs in good condition, particularly those in the Birth Room of Amenophis III; this small temple was built to emphasise the pharaoh's divine paternity and has reliefs showing Thoth leading the god Amun into the queen's bedchamber, the queen's pregnancy and confinement, and Isis presenting Amun with his son.