On the bus again, we travel back to Luxor through lush agricultural area and cross the Nile, where cruise ships are tethered one to another.
On the other side of the river, the lush farmland again quickly gives way to arid hillsides.
Despite the number of tourists who visit here, this is a poor rural area and we share the highway with more donkey carts than motor vehicles.
We are on the west side of the Nile.
In ancient Egypt, the temples for worship of the gods and rites for the living (like those that at Karnak) were located on the east side of the Nile. The west side of the river was reserved for use by the dead. The structures here were the first step in the long and complicated journey to the world of death.
Our first stop on this side of the Nile is the Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu.
Huge carvings on either side of the entry gates show the powerful king smiting his enemies.
The Medinet Habu complex contains a number of temples, but this is the most grand and best preserved, a structure that includes more than 75,000 sq ft of decorated surfaces. It is a wonderful place to slowly wander, admiring the intricate artwork that has survived these thousands of years.
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