The land of the Temples and Noble Tombs..
Originally I had no intention of visiting Luxor, as I had already visited it a number of times in the past. While looking at the map before heading on this journey, I came to see Luxor with a fresh eye and realized something, I had never stayed on the west side of Luxor. The east side is where the more modern city is and is where I’ve always stayed while visiting Luxor.
Suddenly Luxor became very interesting, a world of possibilities and place I have yet to see. Of course Luxor, being such a touristic destination where the temples of Karnak, Luxor, and Hatshepsut are all located, as well as, the valley of noble tombs, is already a well visited place with a lot to offer. I wanted to see a different side of luxor, the people of Luxor, the crafts, the generosity, and it’s architecture.
Once I arrived, crossing the Nile was simple by boats traveling back and forth all day. To see the real Luxor I needed one of its people to help me, and Hussein was the answer. After explaining the vision I had we set out together on a little tour walking into people’s houses and small businesses.
Hand crafting is a major skill in Luxor, it’s people might excel at farming but they sure are artists at heart. From palm, they weaved chairs and tables; they have the ability to furnish a whole house with nothing but palm. An environmental solution and economical one as well, the intricateness of their craft and their devotion to it, is a living lesson in craftsmanship.
One of the main highlights of a more modern Luxor is the city of Qurna, an architectural masterpiece created by the brilliant Hassan Fathy. This eco friendly place was designed specifically to help sustain life in the hot climate of Luxor. Utilizing arches, domes and using clay for its construction. A city that once stood as proof of Egypt’s heritage in sustainability.
An even more demanding craft that is home to Luxor, is the sculpting of alabaster. The creation of different pharaonic structures in different shapes and sizes. The rock itself is mined about 40km west of Luxor and delivered in chucks of large crystals before being shaped into the final form.
The one thing I’m always eager to find everywhere I go, are the local acts of kindness by people who support their community. Three of the local cooks prepped meals for more than 50 locals on a daily basis funded by a young buisness owner in Luxor. Sherif who owns a small local petrol station makes sure that nobody passes by without sitting down for iftar. To spread happiness amongst others, is surely the purest of goals.