Luxor Temple In Egypt – Facts, Pictures, & History
Luxor Temple is one of the most famous and easily accessible Egyptian temple ruins in the Luxor area.
Luxor was formerly the ancient capital of Egypt, so the city is loaded with great Egyptian temples, tombs, and artifacts left over from times past.
Don’t miss this gem of the Nile on your trip through Egypt! This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
History Of Luxor Temple
The history of Luxor Temple dates back to 1400 BC, when what is now Luxor city used to be the site of ancient Egypt’s city of Thebes.
Thebes was the capital of the Egyptian kingdom for hundreds of years, and a lot of the most famous temples were built here on both sides of the Nile River.
Luxor Temple was mostly constructed by pharaohs Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, with some additions by Tutankhamun, Alexander the Great, and the Romans.
During Roman times, the temple was taken over and parts were converted into a church. In the years that followed, the temple gradually became lost to the world.
It was almost completely buried by sand over time, and medieval Muslim settlers built over it with houses and a mosque that’s still there today.
Massive excavation and restoration works by French Egyptologists started in 1885 and continued off and on through the 1960s.
The temple is amazingly well preserved for its age — thousands of years old! — and today it’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visiting Luxor Temple
Like the rest of the ancient sites in Egypt, Luxor Temple is pure magic, and you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy it.
That said, most people could probably walk through the whole temple in about 60 minutes or less, depending on your pace and how much time you spend soaking things up.
A good time to visit is early in the morning before the heat and crowds, or in the evening when the sandstone walls glow in the sunset.
After dark, the whole temple is lit up for an even more mystical effect!
Best Things To See
These are some of the main features to see at Luxor Temple:
- The avenue of sphinxes at the front entrance
- The pharaoh statues and main pylons (walls) with carvings showing Egyptian chariots in battle
- The inner courtyard with its dozens of stone columns still standing
One of the top highlights for me was the huge 80 foot obelisk at the front of the temple. It’s got some of the best animal hieroglyphs at Luxor Temple.
There used to be two of these obelisks, but the other one is in Paris now.
Hours & Entrance Fees
- Hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
- Entrance Fee:* 160 EGP
- Students: 80 EGP with ID
- Photos: Free**
*If you buy the Luxor Pass, this is one of the temples included in the pass.
**There’s no extra charge for taking photos with a phone/DSLR at Luxor Temple.
How To Get There
Luxor Temple is located on the east bank of the Nile River in Luxor, Egypt.
The Cairo International Airport (CAI) has 1 hour direct flights to the Luxor airport (LXR) for around $90 USD or less, or you can take a 9 hour day train for around $10 or so.
Once you’re in Luxor city, you can walk to the temple from many hotels in the area. If you happen to be staying on the west bank, there’s a cheap public ferry that goes across the Nile and stops near the temple.
You’ll be bombarded by clingy touts on your way there, but that’s normal in Luxor!
Best Luxor/Karnak Temple Tours
Viator has a private guided tour of Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple starting from $25 USD, including entrance fees.
This is a great option if you're wanting to visit the temples with a vetted tour company! We've done lots of tours with Viator over the years.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at Luxor Palace hotel on the west bank for 200 EGP ($13 USD) per night.
For this price, I got a clean triple bed room with cold A/C, good WiFi, a pool, kitchen and washer/dryer, and a big rooftop area with a nice sunset view.
The owner was friendly, and it was in a handy location near the Nile, ferry, and restaurants. All in all, this apartment was one of my favorite places I stayed in Egypt.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal!