Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nile Cruises and the Top 10 Temples In Egypt

Egypt is full of fascinating things from temples to tombs and everything in between. Take a Nile cruise to pull into the ports that hold the answer to the riddle of the pharaohs. The basic Nile cruise visits Aswan, Luxor, Esna, Edfu,and Kom Ombo. Expand your Nile excursion with an extension to Abydoss and Denderah, situated north of the city of Luxor. Abydoss is best defined for the King's List wall depicting a royal record of the long line of Egyptian pharaohs. Nearby, the Temple Of Denderah is a rich adventure into the worship of the cow goddess Hathor. 

The list of major monuments and attractions along the Nile and it's environs is a long one. Your Nile Cruise will take you to the most important sites and many of the 10 most popular temples to visit.

1. Karnak Temple
Located in Luxor, this massive complex is Egypt's largest temple. Walk the soaring hypostyle halls and take note of how the artwork and architecture changed from one pharaoh's rule to the next. Karnak Temple is open for tours during the day and puts on an elaborate laser light show at night.

2. The Temple of Luxor
This architectural feat got its significant start from pharaoh Amenhotep III, father to the infamous Akhenten. Construction would continue through the Nineteenth Dynasty under Ramses II, aka, Ramses the Great. The Avenue of the Sphinxes connects the Temple of Luxor to Karnak Temple and makes for a brisk and extraordinary hike to examine the ram-headed sphinxes up-close and personal.

3. The Ramusseum
Located on Luxor's West Bank, the Ramusseum is like a city behind ancient walls. Walk the intense hallways filled with eye-popping stellae and intricate carvings. Take a break at the tiny Habu Hotel situated just steps from the Ramusseum. Habu serves up cold drinks, ice cream bars and light snacks in a covered patio area just a stone's throw from the Ramusseum walls.

4. The Temple Of Philae
This island structure is located off the shore of Aswan. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the architecture is stunning and lights up at night. Access to Philae island is had my a motor boat and the journey takes just minutes to reach the temple complex entrance.

5. Abu Simbel
This monumental attraction was built by Ramses II in honor of his Great Wife, Nefertari. The two mortuary temples face the tranquil waters of Lake Nasser and are opened for a self-guided walk through. Be sure to visit the chamber where the sunlight strikes the face of the three Ramses' statuary only once a year on his birthday. Outside the temple complex, you will find a multitude of street vendors selling quality souvenirs at a good price. Please refrain from wearing heavy metallic jewelry as that will slow your admission process down at the metal detector at the main gate.

6. Temple of Kom Ombo
This well-preserved temple was used to honour the crocodile god, Sobek. Located in the desert sands of Kom Ombo, this unique stop is best accessible by Nile cruise ship and is a fascinating journey through the worship practices of the ancient Egyptians. Automobile caravans are available to visit Kom Ombo from Aswan, however permission is required and a police escort is mandated. Kom Ombo travel is a snap from the Nile cruise ships and a must-see on every cruise tour.

7. Hatchepsut's Temple
Located on a prime piece of ancient real estate, the Temple of Hatchepsut enjoys stunning Nile views in the Luxor area. Take a self-guided walk through and notice the temple's facing has been destroyed. This act of vandalism took place in antiquity when Hatchepsut was deposed by her younger brother who believed the throne was rightfully his. The whereabouts of Hatchepsut's mummy is left open for discussion. However, many believe a mummy tagged as The Elder Woman is that of the pharaoh herself. The Elder Woman's mummified face exudes the striking characteristics of strength, power and privilege. Remember, this ruthless female ruler did not call herself queen; she declared herself pharaoh and therefore equal with the gods. Hatchepsut was one tough little lady that ruled her country with an iron fist and her mortuary temple is a must-see attraction in Luxor.

8. Amada
This well-preserved temple complex is located in Nubia and best accessed with an excursion on a Lake Nasser cruise. Many of the most impressive structures were built by the Eighteenth Dynasty's Amenhotep II with contributions all the way through to the Nineteenth Dynasty and Ramses the Great.

9. Temple Of Denderah
This is one of the oldest temples along the Nile with written texts dating back to the Old Kingdom and pharaoh Pepe II. Major temple additions were created during the New Kingdom with contributions from Amenhotep III, also famous for being father to the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten.

10. Tell el Amarna
This fascinating temple complex was built as the new centre of worship and palace living for Akhenaten and his beautiful bride, Nefertiti. Amarna is located approximately midway from Cairo and Luxor and best accessed by long Nile cruises departing from Cairo. The long Nile cruise is approximately two weeks in length and includes other major attractions in the northern Nile regions.

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