Luxor is often called the world’s greatest open-air museum and there might be nothing in the world that compares to the scale and grandeur of the monuments that have survived from ancient Thebes. After the pyramids of Giza, Karnak is Egypt’s most important pharaonic site. Excavations over the years have gradually uncovered the original structure of the temple complex, which was built over a 1,300-year period. Luxor Temple is an elegant example of Pharaonic temple architecture. The temple was largely completed by the 18th-Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III and added to during the reign of Ramses II in the 19th Dynasty.
Modern Luxor grew out of the ruins of Thebes, once the capital of ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom (1550–1069 BC). The Temple of Hatshepsut rises out of the desert in a series of terraces that merge with the sheer limestone cliffs behind. Discovered only in the mid-19th century, and still being restored by the Polish Mission.
More Angkor Temples
Here are the last four temples I visited in Angkor. Surprisingly, I haven’t felt “templed-out“. Each one does have its own distinct architecture, style and personality. Prasat Kravan was built in 921 for Hindu worship. Uninspiring from the outside, the brick carvings concealed within its towers are the hidden treasures. Prasat Kravan was partially restored in 1968. From the latter part of the 12th century, Banteay Kdei is a massive Buddhist monastery. Pre Rup means “Turning the Body” and refers to a traditional method of cremation. It is believed that this temple served as a royal crematorium. It consists of…
Preah Khan + Temples of Rolous
Angkor boasts some of the largest religious monuments ever built as it is known as the “City of God-Kings“. Many of these temples and monuments are under conservation and restoration funded by international organizations that include UNESCO, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S.. Preah Khan or “Sacred Sword ” is one of the largest complexes and is a maze of vaulted corridors, fine carvings and stonework. It served as the temporary residence of the King while Angkor Thom was under construction. The Temples of Rolous (namely Lolei, Bakong , and Preah Ko) are among the earliest temple complexes built in the…
Ta Phrom & Banteay Srei
Two of my favourite temples in Angkor are Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei. Ta Prohm is a classic example of the power of nature and the jungle. Built in 1186 and originally known as the Monastery of the King, Ta Prohm was a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of the King. Ultimately, its crumbling walls and towers ended up locked in with the vast root systems of trees. Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft — as scenes from the Tomb Raider movie was filmed here. Considered the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, Banteay Srei is made from pinkish…