Luxor Museum: Easily Egypt’s Best

While Egypt has many of the world’s greatest ancient archeological sites, its museums are generally dreary. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, while old school, is world class simply by the brute magnificence of the treasures it displays. The Luxor Museum, made possible and designed by the people who brought us the Louvre in Paris, is the finest museum in the country. While it’s a fraction of the size of the big museum in Cairo, it offers more than enough ancient art and artifacts–all wonderfully displayed.

The Luxor Museum is the only museum in Egypt that’s as slick as the great museums of Europe. And it’s filled with art that’s both B.C. and B.U.
The Luxor Museum is the only museum in Egypt that’s as slick as the great museums of Europe. And it’s filled with art that’s both B.C. and B.U.

Good as it is, I was thankful for the expert tour given by our guide, Fateen. As is almost always the case when it comes to interiors in Egypt, photos were strictly forbidden. I busily took notes for our TV work.

Looking at the fine statues of the god Amun and the pharaoh Amenhotep III, I remembered the coin collectors’ term from my distant childhood for a coin that was never in circulation: BU, or brilliantly uncirculated. These statues were B.U. because they were part of the famous “cachet” of statues found filling a chamber in perfect condition in the late 1980s.

Names of ancient Egyptians are written in ovals called a cartouche. Pharaohs have two cartouches, side-by-side, because every pharaoh has two names: birth name and royal name, like kings and popes. Elegant and pedicured toes show a life of pampered luxury. Gods hold the ankh–the key of life–and a symbol of eternal life.

If you know what to look at you can see the back and forth of a religious war (around 1340 B.C.) as Amenhotep III’s son, the monotheistic Akhenaten, scribbled out his father’s polytheistic cartouche “Amenhotep.” For a while there was a battle of the gods between Amun–the Zeus of polytheistic ancient Egypt, and Aten–a proto Allah. Amun eventually won out and Aten was thoroughly ground into oblivion by the forces that felt threatened by the economic and political fallout of having only one god. (This is similar to how the Apostle Paul was run out of town when he tried to replace Artemis and company in Ephesus with one God who didn’t need all the statue worship–which indirectly kept a lot of people employed and therefore not inclined to trade many pagan gods for a single Christian one.)

Pharaohs had images posted everywhere because, somehow, that increased the likelihood that their souls would survive the journey to the goal line for eternal life. If you’ll meet any pharaoh in heaven, I bet it’ll be Ramses II. He’s guilty of a dirty trick that, to me, reflects very poorly on his character. Just in case his soul could read, Ramses usurped the images of a previous pharaoh, Amenhotep III, by carving out Amenhotep’s name and carving his name into Amenhotep’s belt buckles and bases.


2 Replies to “Luxor Museum: Easily Egypt’s Best”

  1. I’ve been to this museum and it’s amazing. Well worth a visit, even if you’ve spent most of the day tramping around the Luxor and Karnak temples and the Valley of the Kings.

  2. While one can spend a few days in Cairo at the museum, certainly Luxor must be on everyone’s plan when visiting Egypt. From here in Boston and the unfortunate and unacceptable bomb blasts by criminals who make judgement against another of God’s children when no other man has right to make judgement on another, only God and here at Boston Strong! …a city and metro region where all lawful citizens and tourists are welcomed and permanent and civilized residents from all over the world are welcomed to study at our many, many academic institutions of excellence and to live together with respect towards another, not imposing he or she and their values on another…Luxor and Egypt has so much as well to offer visitor who relishes the awe and valued history of Egyptians and the wonderfully friendly and welcoming Egyptian people….

    It is time for all of us to travel and learn about one another and to see for the most part that we all strive for happiness and security for our families and to live peacefully and all of us must understand that We live before God and all is witnessed by the Lord!

    God Bless us all!

    All must visit Luxor.. a must see! Egyptians like Americans and here in Boston have much pride in sharing their valued history and We must all demand far much more from politicians today and religious leaders who must be held accountable for whether we follow Biblical scripture or verse from the Qur’an, peace and caring of others, compassion and attentiveness to other is foremost…not this abuse and manipulation of the good intent of our religious preference so abused by others and allowed to cause harm upon other…no matter differences in choice….We are all children of the Lord!

    God Bless us all!

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