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by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
February 15, 2008
From journal Sunrise, Sunset: 24 Hours in Luxor
March 15, 2002
Most everything displayed here was found in either Luxor Temple or Karnak Temple. Magnificent statues. Beautifully carved inscriptions and art. Stelas. Hieroglyphics. Jewelry. Canopic jars. King Tut's funerary boat. Even furniture.
On the 2nd floor, a large exhibit labeled "Wall of Akhenaten" displays 283 sandstone blocks excavated from Karnak. The reliefs illustrate the pharaoh and Nefertiti making offerings to Aten, their newly appointed god; and scenes from daily life such as farming, bread making, and washing. (Amenhotep IV was the funny looking king...big lips and womanly body... who decided that Egyptians should worship just one god, and changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of that god, Aten.) There are several statues of him scattered throughout the museum, one eerily emerging from the solid background of a wall.
My favorite statue was that of Tuthmosis III, a grand polished black granite statue of the once bitter pharaoh who childishly defaced his aunt's images and monuments after her death. He looks magnificent, powerful and young.
A new exhibit displays 16 statues that were recently excavated at Luxor Temple in 1989. These include black granite statues of Amun and Mut, the original Theban gods; Amenhotep III, and Thor, the god of knowledge and wisdom.
Although there are signs posted in the museum, "No tipping allowed," museum attendants were scattered around everywhere, extending that familiar hand asking for baksheesh. They would point to a feature on a statue (no clue what they were pointing at, they just smiled), remove a cord from the statue (so your photo wouldn't be obstructed), bring a chair to stand on (for a better photo), or just stand there smiling. There were very few tourists in the museum besides us, so we were followed quite regularly by these grinning attendants comically creating ways to get another tip.
Museum hours are 9 am to 1 pm, and 5-10 pm daily. Admission is 15 pounds ($5 US). Permission to take photos cost another 10 pounds. No flash or tripods are allowed so bring fast film. And visit when it's hot to appreciate the air-conditioning even more.
From journal Honeymoon in Luxor