Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum,
as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of
the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else
in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of
as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City
of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just
north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called
Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.
Right - The west bank across the Nile from Luxor.
To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in
Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist
destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient
times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods,
the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today
Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels
and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the
people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile
Valley every year.
Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of
Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to
the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia
al-Mahatta and runs away from the Nile where it meets the
gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad al-Karnak
which means Karnak Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor
Temple to Karnak Temple. However, Sharia al-Karnak is known as
Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to
the south around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda.
Along this street one will find the colorful signs of
restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual
variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the
alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and miled not
far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals
for cooking, which are more unusual.