Egypt's history goes back some 5,000 years with the Pharonic Era divided into three main periods.


The capital of the ancient Kingdom was Menf (Memphis) which was founded by King Menes, the first king of 1st Dynasty, who united Upper and Lower Egypt. One of the famous kings of that Dynasty was Zoser who built the Saqqara pyramid the first large scale stone structure in history.


The capital of the Middle Kingdom was Thebes - a period characterized by an artistic renaissance, agricultural projects and trade exchange with Bilad al Sham and the Sudan. Luxor is part of ancient Thebes - the one hundred-gated city as it was called by the renowned Greek historian, Homer. The city grew over the years and the Arabs, impressed by its beautiful palaces and huge edifices, renamed it Luxor - City of Palaces.


The New Kingdom begins with the T8th Dynasty founded by King Ahmos. Its capital was Thebes, except for a short period when King Akhen-Aton moved his capital to Tel-el-Amarna. Among the eminent rulers of the New Kingdom was King Ramsis II who left a great architectural patrimony, the most important being the two Temples of Abu Simbel. The First and largest of the temples is dedicated to the sun god Ra-Harakhte while the second was dedicated by Ramsis II to his beautiful wife, Nefertari. The Greater Abu Simbel Temple is unique since the sun shines directly on the Holiest of Holies two days a year - February 21, the king's birthday; and October22, the date of his coronation. Mter the Pharaonic Era came successively, the Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.