Luxor, Egypt

A Storied Ancient Capital

Iyna Bort Caruso

You don’t have to be passionate about ancient Egypt to live in Luxor, but it helps. Luxor was once the storied city of Thebes, the ancient capital that ruled over the Egyptian Empire for more than 1,500 years. With ruins everywhere, modern Luxor stands as a window into the past.

Luxor is located in the region of Upper Egypt, straddling the Nile River, about 400 miles south of Cairo.

It’s not only one of the oldest-inhabited cities, it’s also among the sunniest with air that’s pure and dry. With its abundance of remarkably intact antiquities, tourism drives the economy. Restoration and conservation are also thriving industries. In addition, the agricultural sector has long been a key contributor.

Today, Luxor mixes contemporary architecture with a skyline of minarets and church domes. On the East Bank of the Nile is the heart of modern Luxor, the population center and the international airport. The Sharia al-Corniche, a palm-lined promenade along the waterfront, has shops and cafes. While most of the archeological treasures are on the West Bank, two important sites are here: Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple Complex, the second largest complex of its kind in the world. The Nile’s West Bank is where most tombs are located, notably the Valley of the Kings—the royal burial ground for dozens of pharaohs and nobles--and the Valley of the Queens, the lavish burial site of Queen Nefertari as well as the wives of pharaohs. Also here is Colossi of Memnon, enormous twin stone statues built as guards at the temple of King Amenhotep III.  As modern Luxor evolves, relics continue to be unearthed, a reason it’s known as a great open-air museum.

The Luxor real estate market offers flats, townhouses, villas and even palaces. Some properties overlook the Theban Hills, others the Nile.