Less Visited Sights of the West Bank (Ancient Thebes) near Luxor, Egypt

The West Bank of the Nile (across from Luxor) has a number of interesting sights, some of which very few tourists visit. Lots of boats will take you across the Nile for a small fee. Once you cross the Nile, there are plenty of taxis and bicycles for rent to get you around the sights. For a map of places we visited in Egypt, click here.

Our boat, the "Omar Sharrif" getting ready for the short journey across the Nile.

Our boat, the “Omar Sharrif” getting ready for the short journey across the Nile.

Colossi of Memnon

I admit these aren’t “less visited,” but since these huge statues mark the gateway to the sights of the West Bank, I am including them here. This is a popular spot since the Colossi are right off the road. They were part of a huge temple complex dating to the time of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC). The temple has long since disappeared, mainly due to the site being in the flood plain of the Nile and pilfering of the building materials by subsequent pharaohs.

These 60 ft. statues have been standing watch over the West Bank of the Nile for almost 2,400 years.

These 60 ft. statues have been standing watch over the West Bank of the Nile for almost 2,400 years.

The Colossi were already a tourist site in Roman times 2,000 years ago!

Deir al-Medina

These ruins are also known as the Worker’s Village. The workers who created the nearby Valley of the Kings and other monuments in Thebes lived in this village, which was founded about 1500 BC. During our visit we had the place to ourselves. The site includes a temple, ruins of the village houses, and several decorated tombs (no pictures inside allowed).

My sister in a view of the Worker's Village ruins (Deir al-Medina).

My sister in a view of the Worker’s Village ruins (Deir al-Medina).

A small temple in the Worker's Village.

A small temple in the Worker’s Village.

Walls surrounding the temple in the Worker's Village.

Walls surrounding the temple in the Worker’s Village.

Another view of the Worker's Village (Deir al-Medina).

Another view of the Worker’s Village (Deir al-Medina).

Tombs of the Nobles

These tombs are less refined and more rough-hewn than the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, but are considered some of the best in Thebes. There are 100 tombs, not all of which are open and you probably couldn’t find them if they were. It is impossible to get pictures inside the tombs, and I understand the need for ensuring the paintings will endure for future generations. We were the only group visiting this spot.

Looking up at the hillside containing many of the Tombs of the Nobles.

Looking up at the hillside containing many of the Tombs of the Nobles.

The entrance to the Tomb of Sennofer (considered one of the best in the Tombs of the Nobles), 18th Dynasty (about 1500 BC).

The entrance to the Tomb of Sennofer (considered one of the best in the Tombs of the Nobles), 18th Dynasty (about 1500 BC).

The village that intermingles with the tombs is called Old Gurna and the government is trying to relocate the population away from the tombs. We had some friendly local residents show us around some of the tombs for a small fee.

The village of Old Gurna near the Tombs of the Nobles.

The village of Old Gurna near the Tombs of the Nobles.

The Ramesseum

This very ruined structure was built for Ramses II (around 1250 BC) as his mortuary temple so he could live eternally in the minds of his subjects. Ramses II ruled Egypt for 67 years. With almost no tourists in sight, it was fun exploring the ruins of this huge temple.

In the Hypostyle Hall of the Ramesseum.

In the Hypostyle Hall of the Ramesseum.

The head and shoulders of a 60 ft. statue of Ramses II - how did they move and hoist such a huge block of granite?

The head and shoulders of a 60 ft. statue of Ramses II – how did they move and hoist such a huge block of granite?

Another view of the Ramesseum. In the background are statues of Ramses II as Osiris, god of the underworld.

Another view of the Ramesseum. In the background are statues of Ramses II as Osiris, god of the underworld.

We spent two days exploring the sights of the West Bank and it would be easy to have spent more exploring this vast culturally rich area.