Although millions of tourists visit the west bank at Luxor every year the area is so rich in archaeology that it is not difficult to find quiet and equally spectacular monuments away from the hordes.
Just across the road from the bazaars and the coach-park at the Hatshepsut temple a jumble of mud-brick remains marks the cemetery of el-Asasif, site of some of the largest and most spectacular tombs anywhere in the country.
Three of its tombs are open to the public: that of Kheruef of the 18th Dynasty, and those of Pabasa and Ankh-hor of the 26th. Their subterranean ‘sun-courts’ are unique to this area, and each of the tombs preserves beautiful relief decoration of varying styles.
I would highly recommend taking a walk from here back to the road through the crumbling remains of tombs yet to be investigated; at the road I recommend hailing one of the local service taxis and riding back to the river with the locals for a few piasters, rather than taking a private car for 100 times the price.
Egypt decided some years ago that it was relatively unsafe to allow tourists to travel outside the established tourist centres; as a result several isolated, but nonetheless spectacular sites in between Cairo, Luxor and Aswan are infrequently visited.
For those looking for archaeological adventures away from the hordes, I highly recommend making arrangements (in hotels or with taxi drivers) to join the daily convoy down-river (north) from Luxor to see Dendera and Abydos. The former is the site of one of Egypt’s best preserved monuments, the Ptolemaic and Roman temple of Dendera, with scenes of Cleopatra VII (the Cleopatra) and her son Ceasarion; at the latter the atmospheric temple of Sety I and his son Ramesses the Great features some of the most beautiful relief decoration anywhere in Egypt.
The drive is fairly lengthy but provides an excellent opportunity to see the Egyptian countryside.
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