El uqsur, as modern-day Luxor was initially known, is the ancient capital of Thebes. Together with the extensive necropolis on the opposite bank of the river, it forms a focal point of ancient Egyptian culture. Luxor Temple Complex presents itself is a 260M long sequence of grandiose gates, courtyards and columned halls.
The 40-hectare temple district of Karnak is breathtaking. For over 1700 years, well into Roman times, Karnak was extended by almost every ruler. Highlights include the gigantic pylon and obelisks, and the Amun temple with its phenomenal columned hall. The size and scale of Karnak is impressively conveyed every evening during the sound & light show on the shore of the Holy lake. The charm of the small town is best experienced in a one-horse open-top 'caleche' trotting through the quiet streets. Recommended are the various museums for mummification and archaeology. Worthwhile day trips from Luxor include the temples of Dendra and Abydos in the north, Esna to the south, or eastwards to the Red sea.