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.
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.
Take a boat trip over to the West bank. This trip had a special meaning to the Egyptians, for they were more crossing the way to the West and life, then to a necropolis. The Valley of the Kings is as good as any to try first, with tombs from the 18th and 19th Dynasties
Reaching the Valley of Asasif. These are 25th and 26th Dynasty tombs. At the end of of the Valley of Asasif at the foot of a cliff named Deir el-Bahri is a spectacular complex of temples. The Temple of Mentuhetep I, Hatshepsut and Thotmose II here must be seen. Much of the architecture here seems so very powerful against the towering cliffs in the background.
As the road runs along past the remains of Thutmose IV, Merneptah, Ay and Horemheb's Temples, it finally comes to the huge complex known as Medinet Habu, which is another of Thebe's major attractions and a must see sight. The gate has square towers and appears almost oriental. Behind the complex is the workmen's village called Deir el-Medina. Out in the fields near here is the Colossi of Memnon, one of the major tourist attractions throughout time. Southwest of Deir el-Medina is the Valley of the Queens, where queens of the 18th and 19th Dynasties were buried.