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Luxor (El Uqsur) City in e central Egypt, on the e bank of the River Nile; known to the ancient Egyptians as Weset and to the ancient Greeks as Thebes. After the Pyramids, Luxor's temples and tombs constitute Egypt's greatest pharaonic monuments. There are remains of many temples and tombs, dating back nearly 4000 years. Luxor Temple lies on the banks of the Nile in the heart of the city where, until the 19th century, it remained half buried. It was linked to the Karnak temple, 2.5km (1mi) n of Luxor, by an avenue of sphinxes. Karnak's temple complex covers 40ha (100 acres) and was built over 1300 years. The site has three separate temples, the greatest of which is the Temple of Amun. The Valley of the Kings, on the Nile's w bank, contains the tombs of many pharaohs. The 1922 discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb revealed the lavish treasure buried with kings. In 1997 Muslim fundamentalists killed 58 tourists outside Hatshepsut's Temple. Pop. (1996) 360,503.

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Upper Egyptian commercial and tourist center.

This town on the east bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt is called al-Uqsur in Arabic. It is noted for its ancient temple and its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the tombs of the pharaohs, queens, and nobles on the opposite (west) bank of the Nile. It is the site of numerous Coptic churches and monasteries. With the coming of Islam, it became the site of mosques, notably that of al-Hajjaj, built above the Temple of Luxor. After the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922, the area became one of Egypt's premiere tourist attractions, and to this day the local economy is strongly dependent on tourism.

see also nile river.


Shaw, Ian. Exploring Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

arthur goldschmidt
updated by paul s. rowe

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Luxor (lŭk´sôr, lŏŏk´–), city (1996 pop. 360,503), central Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile. It is 1 mi (1.6 km) SW of Karnak and occupies part of the site of Thebes. The temple of Luxor, the greatest monument of antiquity in the city, was built in the reign of Amenhotep III (1414 BC–1397 BC) as a temple to Amon. The temple, 780 ft (230 m) long, was much altered by succeeding pharaohs, especially by Ramses II, who had colossal statues of himself erected on the grounds. In early Christian times the temple was made into a church, and later a shrine to a Muslim saint was built in the great hall. The temple was restored, beginning in 1883. Numerous temples and burial grounds, including the Valley of the Kings, are nearby on the west side of the Nile.

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Luxor a city in eastern Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile, which is the site of the southern part of ancient Thebes and contains the ruins of the temple built by Amenhotep III and of monuments erected by Ramses II.