This is a travel guide about a cruise on the Nile in Egypt.
About the authors:
Isabel Giménez Barrachina. Passionate traveler and history lover. She enjoys visiting landmarks and understanding the secrets behind. She likes nice views, skylines and tasting new kinds of food. She has visited more than 30 different countries in three continents.
Fernando García Peña. Tireless traveler. He enjoys all kind of trips but he especially loves road trips and planning all the details up front before departing. He is an experimented backpacker and he is proud of having invented the best international breakfast all over the world. He has visited more than 30 different countries in three continents.
If you want to know about Egypt and its history, you should not miss the Nile cruise from Asuan to Luxor that we propose in this article. For concrete information about Cairo click here to our article about the capital of Egypt.
From the beginning of your sailing, you will feel that you will not be able to forget that experience and that such a river trip will allow you to know even more about the history of the pharaohs, their temples and mausoleums and the rest of their great constructions. You will wonder after all… how they could do all that?
With more than 6.600 km length, it passes through 10 countries. The Nile is the actual economic and cultural engine of Egypt throughout its history. The ancient Egyptians were very dependent of agriculture. Therefore, they based their calendar on the floods of the river since these could destroy the fields. Currently, there are no floods due to the construction of the Asuan dam.
At sunset and after a suffocating day with high temperatures, the most appealing thing is to relax catching a faluca for a ride along the river. A faluca is a traditional small sailing boat used in the past to transport goods and people.
Dedicated to Isis, it was built on the island of File, but with the construction of the Asuan dam, this island was flooded and consequently it had to be transferred stone by stone to the islet of Agilkia.
Philae Temple is actually a set of temples, where we can admire all the splendour of that time of the pharaohs. Its columns with their hieroglyphs tell us the fascinating history of the ancient Egypt. With the arrival of the Romans, these temples were improved by adding new constructions such as the Trajan Kiosk.
Kom Ombo was an important crossroad between the caravan route and the gold mines path. The temple was dedicated to the gods Sobek and Hareeris and its main attraction is the columns full of hieroglyphs that relate the offerings of the kings to their gods.
In those years, before the construction of the Asuan dam, crocodiles were abundant on these part of the river so there is a museum about them next to the temple.
Also there we will not be able to skip the souvenir shops and sticky street sellers and sometimes very insistent but always courteous and polite.
It is one of the best preserved temples, and the second largest in Egypt, built in honour of the god Horus. The statue of the god Horus (falcon head) is protecting the entrance (PILONIO) which is decorated with large engraved figures that lead to a courtyard of columns. The inscriptions on its walls show us more about Egyptian language and mythology.
We continued sailing on the Nile and crossing its lock, we arrive at Luxor (The ancient Tebas) to visit the temples of Luxor and Karnack, formerly separated by an avenue with sphinxes of 3 km long.
Upon arrival in Luxor, just in front of the port we could spot the temple of Luxor, which is dedicated to Amon (god of the wind). At its first door (pylon) there were 2 obelisks in acient times of which only one currently remains. The other one was a given to France. If you go to Paris you will be able to see it in the centre of Place de la Concorde.
At night, illuminated, it is amazing, a pleasure for the eyes while you relax from a hectic day having a cold drink on the terrace of the boat.
This is the largest of the temples in Egypt, dedicated to god Amon. It is flanked by lamb-headed sphinxes that were its guardians and protectors. It was the main religious centre all over the country. We can highlight its large statues and reliefs. On one of them we can see the boat with which they transported the god Amon in their processions.
On the way to the Kings´ Valley we come across the giants, two solid stone statues of Pharaoh Amenofis III.
When the pharaohs realized that their pyramids were repeatedly looted, as they were large constructions and visible from afar, they decided to find a place to be buried that was less accessible to grave robbers.
They found a valley with small mountains and more protected where looting was more difficult. There are more than 60 tombs there including those of Ramses III, Ramses VI and Ramses XI. All of them belong to the New Empire.
The temple in honour of the god Amon-Ra (god of the sun) is also the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut and is located on a mound formed by three separate terraces and which are joined by large stairs forming a central ramp.
This temple was the scene of the terrorist massacre of 1997, where more than 70 people died, most of them foreign tourists.
It has been a journey full of adventures, incredible in its content and very worth because of its great beauty. We will never forget.