The ancient Egyptians called it simply "Niout" the city. Homer gave him the name "City of a hundred doors." Vivant Denon, who accompanied the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, wrote: "The city was a ghost so immeasurably to our imagination that Napoleon's army, at the sight of scattered ruins, stopped short. In a spontaneous act, we got everyone to clap. "

Luxor, the City of the Living
In times of splendor of Memphis, Thebes was nothing. Nothing but a small village. It was Mentuhotep (Middle Kingdom, 2061-2010 BC), Theban king and architect of the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, who made Thebes the capital of the Empire. Overthrew Thebes and Memphis to the south, eaten by civil strife. The new capital had its heyday during the New Kingdom, adopting grandiose monuments. From the reign of Tuthmosid III (1484-1450 BC), who ruled Thebes extended its authority to the banks of the Euphrates to the north-east, east to the borders of Libya, west and south to Sudán.La right bank where it is today Luxor, was the city of the living, entirely consecrated to Amun, obscure local deity promoted to the rank of chief god rather than Ra. The priests of Amon accumulated such omnipotence that they are not escaping anything that had relation to power. Amenhotep IV (1372-1354 BC) found in the flesh, when he decided to abandon Amen and the pantheon of gods for the monotheistic worship of Aten. After the death of Pharaoh, and once destroyed the city of Tell el-Amarna dedicated to the new cult, the servants of Amon were commissioned to restore the power of God ... and therefore the suyo.Más beyond his conquests and his wars against enemies peoples Hittites and Libyans, among others, successive Pharaohs, considered divine incarnations and revered as such, trying to ensure its greatness and posterity. To do so, undertook to enlarge and embellish the two temples erected to the glory of Ammon, the complex of Karnak and Luxor temple more modest ... but always looking, sometimes with excessive zeal, to forget the prestige of their predecessors.

Luxor, the Egyptian capital of tourism
The decline of the civilization of the pharaohs and their subsequent disappearance seriously impacted on Luxor. The monuments, previously reserved for the dignitaries and priests serving the Almighty God, loved and feared, now sheltering small brick houses, common and currents. Because only the high and thick walls of temples offering effective protection against bandits época.En the first centuries of the Christian era, followers of the new faith built their churches on the sacred sites of the Egyptians of the Pharaonic era such as the temples of Luxor and Karnak, where the crosses are still visible engraved on the stone. Luxor does not represent any interest to the Arab armies came to spread Islam. Muslim leaders founded in Cairo, and the greatness of Islamic civilization develops hundreds of miles north of the ancient capital.

When Europeans rediscovered the pharaonic civilization, whose first trophy came in the suitcases of Napoleon's military expedition in the late eighteenth century, Luxor still asleep. The drawings and watercolors from the time show it. The temples are covered with sand, herds of domestic animals wander among columns which protrude from the ground only capitals. But the Egyptian and oriental fashion take over Europe. The Description of Egypt, written by scholars who accompanied Napoleon's army, is a clear example of this. The exhibitions of ancient works, jewelry, mummies, are very common. And from mid-nineteenth century, Luxor is stated as a tourist destination, although at that time, of course, reserved for a handful of wealthy visitors.

Luxor has an undeniable charm. Everywhere, whether in the halls and gardens of the palaces, or on the facade of a nineteenth century building, cantilevered balconies, a perfume fleet obsolete, the era of the English settlers and the Egyptian monarchs, the rich English ladies of the beys and pashas. At sunset, the temple of Luxor, close to the largest and tourist souks, seems isolated from the world of the living. Its columns, colossal statues, its vaults, regain their calm, indifferent to the carts that pass by. Meanwhile, across the Nile, the town of Qurna, on the slope, sweetly slumbers under some stars brighter than ever.

City in mutation
For almost half a century, the Egyptian authorities try to book the west bank of Luxor, and in particular the mountain of Qurna, exclusively for tourists. This, they say, to protect ancient sites, mostly tombs of the Valley of the Nobles, and to provide decent living conditions for its inhabitants. Those in the flank of the mountain does not have access to drinking water because the pipes could ruin the tombs. That is why we notice the incessant buzz of donkeys loaded with good-sized reservoirs, descending the mountain and climbing with difficulty the steep paths. There have already been several attempts to restructure the place, one of which gave rise to the "New Qurna", located between the Nile and the old Qurna designed by Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. Another new village is north of Theban acropolis, on the edge of the desert. Each time you repeat the same scenario: the traditional houses are surveyed and studied, as well as living conditions, needs and demands of families. Plans are established a new village at some distance from the old Qurna ... and a number of families refused to move. Because the houses are too small. Or because they believe that the compensation offered for the loss of its exceptional location are insufficient. A new project of this type has been set up in 2006. Try to evacuate the inhabitants of the flank of the mountain (Valley of the Nobles, and Hatshepsut Temple near), but also those living in the agricultural part of the Theban necropolis, for example in the villages surrounding the temple of Medinet Habu .
Luxor is not surprising, given the recent evidence of this dramatic discovery, where the Colossi of Memnon, statues of fifteen, especially a giant statue (3.62 m) of the wife of Amenhotep III, Queen Tiya ,. Not forgetting the mummy of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, the only Egyptian mummy preserved in situ, which has been exposed in a plexiglass window, providing the public eye for the first time the face of Pharaoh child.
Egyptian Tourist Authority


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