Day 9. Luxor

Overnight – Sofitel Winter Palace

You are escorted with your disembarkation after breakfast. Your destination this morning is the incredible Karnak Temple Complex. Occupying about 200 acres, the Karnak Temple and its structures are purported to be the largest religious complex ever to be built. Construction of the first parts started about 5000 years ago, and continued over the reign of about 30 Pharaohs. The site is made up of four parts, out of which only the largest part, the Precinct of Amun-Re, is open to the public. This is the second most visited site in Egypt after the Giza Pyramids. Experience the hundreds of ancient structures, including the awe-inspiring Great Hypostyle Hall, a 50,000 square foot Hall with 134 massive beautifully carved pillars. 122 of these pillars are 33 feet tall, while the other 12 are 69 feet high and almost 10 feet in diameter.

After your exploration of the Karnak Complex, you are driven to your historical boutique hotel and you are assisted with your check-in after lunch – check-in is at 3 pm. This luxury hotel has played host to various members of royalty and other dignitaries. Agatha Christie also stayed here and wrote part of her book while she was in residence. As at Aswan, the hotel’s common areas, hallways, and dining venues can be very cold during winter, especially December through February.

Luxor Temple and Sunset Illumination: You can enjoy a very short walk on the scenic Nile Corniche (with pushy souvenir sellers) to the Luxor Temple, or you can choose to be driven. The best time to visit this magnificent 3400-year-old Temple Complex is in the late afternoon as this allows you to first explore its incredible attractions in daylight and then be mesmerized at sunset as the artfully placed spotlights illuminate the façade and the scores of ancient attractions the complex contains.

Avenue of Sphinxes Moonlight Walk: From the Temple you will experience a walk on the similarly lit Avenue of Sphinxes. This ancient royal pathway finished a massive reclamation and restoration project and opened to the public with much fanfare in November 2021. It is a unique experience to walk along the broad avenue in the dark, flanked by gently illuminated ancient sphinxes. The Avenue of Sphinxes was ‘The King’s Festivities Road’, and runs the full 1.7 miles between the awe-inspiring temples of Luxor and Karnak – you can choose to walk as far as you want before returning to your hotel.

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