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Friday, 18 April 2014

Luxor::Ancient City in Egypt-Part 2

Economy

 Luxor souq

 The economy of Luxor, like that of many other Egyptian cities, is heavily dependent upon tourism. Large numbers of people also work in agriculture, particularly sugarcane.

The local economy, reliant on tourism, was greatly hit by the Luxor massacre in 1997, in which a total of 64 people (including 59 visiting tourists) were killed, at the time the worst terrorist attack in Egypt (before the Sharm el-Sheikh terrorist attacks).The massacre reduced tourist numbers for several years. Following the 2011 Arab Spring, tourism to Egypt dropped significantly, again affecting local tourist markets.


 Streets of Luxor in 2004

To make up for shortfalls of income, many cultivate their own food. Goat's cheese, pigeons, subsidized and home-baked bread and homegrown tomatoes are commonplace among the majority of its residents.

Tourism development


 street market

 Winter Palace Hotel

A controversial tourism development plan aims to transform Luxor into a vast open-air museum. The master plan envisions new roads, five-star hotels, glitzy shops, and an IMAX theatre. The main attraction is an 11 million dollar project to unearth and restore the 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) long Avenue of Sphinxes that once linked Luxor and Karnak temples. The ancient processional road was built by the pharaoh Amenhotep III and took its final form under Nectanebo I in 400 BCE. Over a thousand sphinx statues lined the road now being excavated which was covered by silt, homes, mosques and churches. Excavation started around 2004.

2013 Luxor hot air balloon crash

Nineteen Asian and European tourists died when a hot air balloon crashed early on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 near Luxor following a mid-air gas explosion. It was one of the worst accidents involving tourists in Egypt and likely to push the tourism industry deeper into recession. The casualties included French, British, Hungarian, Japanese nationals and nine tourists from Hong Kong.

Infrastructure

Transport

 Luxor is served by Luxor International Airport.

A bridge was opened in 1998, a few kilometres upstream of the main town of Luxor, allowing ready land access from the east bank to the west bank. Traditionally, however, river crossings have been the domain of several ferry services. The so-called 'local ferry' (also known as the 'National Ferry') continues to operate from a landing opposite the Temple of Luxor. The single fare (June 2008) is 1 L.E. - one Egyptian Pound - per passenger for foreigners. Egyptian nationals pay ¼ of that, 25 piasters. This ferry is mainly used by the locals although a number of foreigners do use it.

  

 Luxor railway station

The sites on the west bank are further than you think and you will need transport - taxi drivers often approach ferry passengers, and it is recommended that a fare be negotiated ahead of time. There are also local cars that reach some of the monuments for 25 piasters, although tourists rarely use them. Alternatively, motorboats line both banks of the Nile all day providing a quicker, but more expensive (5 L.E.), crossing to the other side.
The city of Luxor on the east bank has several bus routes used mainly by locals. Tourists often rely on horse carriages, called "calèches," for transport or tours around the city. Do not ask calèche drivers to go to the west bank, because it is too far for the horses, not to mention illegal. Taxis are plentiful, and reasonably priced, and since the government has decreed that taxis older than 20 years will not be relicensed, there are many modern air-conditioned cabs. Recently, new roads have been built in the city to cope with the growth in traffic.
For domestic travel along the route of the Nile, a rail service operates several times a day. A morning train and sleeping train can be taken from the railway station situated around 400 metres (440 yd) from Luxor Temple. The line runs between several major destinations, including Cairo to the north and Aswan to the south.

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