Welcome to the Luxor city guide, in which our travelling reporter Rafael Diogo explores the sounds of this historical city to give sonic tourists an idea of which sounds to listen out for when visiting.
This is part of our ongoing series of city sound guides, highlighting the sounds that characterise some of the most beautiful cities on Earth.
Luxor city guide
Luxor is a city located in southern Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile River. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, as the ancient city of Thebes, one of the most important cities of ancient Egypt. The desert landscapes surrounding Luxor, are characterized by rolling sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and rugged mountains.
The region is arid and inhospitable, with hot temperatures and very little rainfall. Despite its harsh conditions, the desert has a stark and beautiful beauty and is dotted with ancient temples, tombs, and ruins that have been preserved for thousands of years.
This is my Luxor city guide to some of the sounds you might hear in different areas of the city:
1. Karnak Temple
Karnak Temple is a complex of ancient religious buildings located in Luxor, Egypt. The temple is situated on the east bank of the Nile River and is considered one of the most impressive examples of ancient Egyptian architecture.
The landscape of Karnak Temple is characterized by towering columns, massive stone structures, and intricate carvings and sculptures. You can expect to hear the sounds of visitors exploring the temple complex. This may include the sounds of footsteps echoing on the stone floors and people speaking in different languages.
The temple’s gardens and courtyards provide a suitable environment for birds to nest and forage for food, so you may also hear the sounds of various bird species, including pigeons, sparrows, and doves. The sounds of birds singing and flitting through the temple complex can add an extra layer of life and energy to the otherwise quiet and contemplative atmosphere of the temple.
2. A hot air balloon trip
A hot air balloon ride can be a peaceful and serene experience, and the sounds you might hear while on the trip can vary depending on the location, weather conditions, and altitude. Some possible sounds you might hear while on a hot air balloon ride include:
- The sound of the burner as it heats the air to keep the balloon inflated
- The sound of the wind as it moves the balloon through the air
- The sound of the basket creaking and swaying as the balloon moves.
It’s important to note that sometimes silence and peacefulness may be the most prominent sound during the trip.
3. Traditional stone carving
Luxor is home to many ancient stone carvings, including those found in the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak. At a stone carving store in Luxor, you may hear a variety of sounds depending on the stage of the carving process.
Generally, it can be a loud and abrasive process, with the sound of chipping and grinding as the stone is shaped and carved. The use of power tools such as angle grinders or chisels can also create a loud, high-pitched noise. When you are using hand tools such as hammers and chisels, the noise will be lower and more pleasant to hear.
4. The Temple Of Hatshepsut
The soundscape of the Temple of Hatshepsut is a mix of the sounds of tourists and visitors, as well as the natural sounds of the surrounding desert environment. The temple is located in a remote area of the desert, so you may hear the occasional rustling of desert vegetation.
The soundscape here is relatively quiet and peaceful, with the sounds of the temple adding to the sense of being in a place of historical and cultural significance. The peaceful atmosphere is broken only by the occasional sounds of visitors exploring the temple and learning about its history and cultural significance.
5. Soundscapes of Luxor Temple
The soundscape of Luxor Temple in Luxor, Egypt is a mix of the sounds of tourists and visitors, as well as the natural sounds of the surrounding city and the Nile River.
The temple is located in the heart of the city, so you may hear the sounds of urban life, such as the honking of car horns and the chatter of street vendors. Within the temple, you can expect to hear the sounds of footsteps echoing on the stone floor, and the occasional sounds of camera shutters clicking as tourists take photos.
The sounds you’ll hear are a mixture of the sounds of the city and the temple, creating a unique and bustling atmosphere, which adds to the sense of being in a place of historical and cultural significance.
6. Night life in Luxor
Night time in Luxor is a magical and mesmerising experience. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with the soft glow of streetlights and lanterns illuminating the ancient monuments and temples.
In the old town, you may hear the sounds of the occasional call to prayer from the local mosques, as well as the sound of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. You may also hear the sounds of people walking and talking in the narrow, winding streets, and the occasional sound of doors opening and closing.