West Bank, Luxor - Stein Travel
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West Bank

The West Bank is an area of limestone hills and valleys riddled with tombs and temples across the river from Luxor. Goats roam freely among the ruins, and the tiny settlements on the slopes provide a splash of colour in an otherwise desert-like barrenness. The 59 foot (18m) high pair of enthroned statues of the Colossi of Memnon are the first things most visitors will see on the West Bank, the only remaining part of the mortuary temple of Amenophis III.

Most travellers come to visit the Valley of the Kings where the secretive tombs of the Pharaohs were built to immortalise their mummies and treasures for eternity. In an attempt to thwart tomb robbers, traps and deceptions were part of the architectural planning. Dramatic descents, spectacular murals on the passage and chamber walls and a replica of the original sarcophagus at the end of the tunnel create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. Highlights include the Tomb of Tutankhamun and Ramses II. The country's finest tomb, however, lies in the Valley of the Queens, the Tomb of Nefertari, which has exceptional painted murals, but is at present closed to the public. Also worth a visit is Hatshepsut's Temple, mortuary temple of Egypt's only female Pharaoh.

Information & Facts

Language

Arabic is the official language although English and French are widely spoken, especially in the tourist areas.

Money

The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP), which is divided into 100 piastres. Most credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. Visitors are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds to avoid additional exchange rate charges. Banks are usually closed on Friday and Saturday, but private exchange bureaux, called 'Forex', are open daily and banks in major hotels are open 24 hours. Cairo branches of the Egyptian British Bank and Banque Misr now have ATMs available that accept Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus and are quite common in the main tourist areas.

Opening Times

Daily 6am to 5pm.

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