As Thebes, it was the capital of the ancient kingdom; today Luxor is known as the world's greatest open-air musuem, home to some of Egypt's most famous temples, tombs and monuments.

Throughout its history, Luxor has been known as Thebes, the great capital of the Egyptian Empire; Waset, meaning "city of the sceptre"; Ta ipet which meant "the shrine"; the "city of 100 gates" and many other names. The name Luxor comes from the Arabic word for "palaces". 

It began to gain importance around 3000 BCE, and eventually became Ancient Egypt's political, military and religious capital for a period of over 1500 years. Home to a huge number of the country's architectural monuments, it is an important tourism centre nowadays.

What to see in Luxor

Luxor is home to an incomparable number of ancient Egyptian monuments. Amongst its highlights are the 3400-year-old Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple Complex; the necropolises of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and the massive stone statues known as the Colossi of Menmon.

As a small city, visitors can get around Luxor as easily by taxi as by horse-drawn carriage. While the horse-drawn carriage option is a true tourist pleasure, hiring a bike can also be a fun way of seeing the city sights - although only recommended during the day, and not during the hottest times of year!

English-language guided tours

Make the most of your time in Luxor by taking advantage of our selection of guided tours, day trips and activities with English-speaking guides.