Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Upper Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of Amun, which later became the god Amun-Ra. The city was considered in ancient Egyptian texts as wAs.t (rough pronunciation: “Wasit”), which means “the city of scepters”, and later in Egyptian Demotic as ta jpt (traditionally pronounced as “tA ipt” and meaning “shrine/temple”, referring to To Jpt-swt, the temple now known by its Arabic name Karnak, which means “fortified village”), which the ancient Greeks adopted as Thebes and the Romans after them as Thebes. Thebes was also sometimes known as the “City of a Hundred Gates
It is called “Southern Heliopolis” (“Yuno Shaima” in ancient Egypt), to distinguish it from the city of Ionu or Heliopolis, the main place of worship of the god Ra in the north. It was also referred to as niw.t, which means simply city,” and was one of only three cities in Egypt for which this name was used (the other two were Memphis and Heliopolis); It was also called niw . t rst, “Southern City , as its southernmost.
The city’s importance began as early as the Eleventh Dynasty, when the city grew into a prosperous city. Mentuhotep II, who unified Egypt after the troubles of the First Intermediate Period, brought stability to the lands as the city grew in stature. The pharaohs of the modern state saw in their expeditions to Kush, in today’s northern Sudan, and to the lands of Canaan, Phoenicia, and Syria, that the city had accumulated great wealth and stood out even on a world scale. He expelled the invading forces of the Hyksos from Upper Egypt, and from the eighteenth dynasty until the twentieth dynasty, the city rose as the political, religious, and military capital of ancient Egypt.
The city attracted peoples such as the Babylonians, the Mitanni and the Hittites in Anatolia (modern Turkey), the Canaanites of Ugarit, the Phoenicians of Byblos and Tyre, and the Minoans of Crete. Indeed, a Hittite prince from Anatolia came to marry the widow of Tutankhamun, Ankhsin Amun. However, the city’s political and military importance faded during the late period, as Thebes was replaced as the political capital by several cities in northern Egypt, such as Bubastis, Sais and finally Alexandria.
However, as the city of the god Amun-Ra, Thebes remained the religious capital of Egypt until the Greek era. The main city deity was Amun, who was worshiped with his wife, the goddess Mut, and their son Khonsu, the moon god. With the rise of Thebes as the first city in Egypt, the importance of the local god Amun also rose and he became associated with the sun god Ra, thus creating the new “king of the gods” Amun-Ra. His great temple at Karnak, just north of Thebes, was the most important temple in Egypt until the end of antiquity.
Later, the city was attacked by the Assyrian Emperor Asur Banipal who installed a new prince on the throne, Psamtik I. The city of Thebes was in ruins and its importance had fallen. However, Alexander the Great arrived at the Temple of Amun, where the statue of the deity was moved from Karnak during Opet, the great religious feast. Thebes remained a site of spirituality until the Christian era, and attracted many Christian monks from the Roman Empire who set up monasteries among many monuments including the Temple of Hatshepsut, now known as Deir el-Bahari (“Northern Monastery