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7 Facts About Venice
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Purple Hearts: Luxor Travel Guide

7 Facts About Venice

The Queen of the Adriatic, La Serenissima, City of Bridges – Venice is a never-ending sea of allure. British poet Arthur Symons once said “A realist, in Venice would become a romantic, by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.”

Dating back over 1500 years ago, Venice has a long and diverse history. From the hustle and bustle of Rialto Bridge to the weaving and winding Grand Canal, travellers find a true escape in the romantic city break destination.  Here we have gathered some interesting facts about Venice:

mosaicf776f086beaca0e9a3e18597ada69b3ee30a5b91Images via @ Paulo Bulbol, Dr. Savage

  1. Although Venice appears to be a magical floating city, it is actually a series on wood pilings built upon the 118 submerged islands in the Northern end of the Adriatic Sea. Four hundred foot bridges and 170 boat canals connect the city to make it easily accessible to the local populace.
  2. Many famous people in history were born in Venice including the playwright and famous lover Giacomo Casanova, the explorer Marco Polo, and composer Antonio Vivaldi.
  3. The traditional and symbolic boats in Venice’s canals are known as Gondolas and have been used as transport around the narrow Venetian waterways for more than 10 centuries. Failing to ride one is like going to Egypt and not seeing the pyramids.
  4. Only 3 to 4 Gondolier licenses are issued annually. To qualify, applicants must be able to finish an extensive training after passing a rigorous exam. Today, there are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice.
  5. The Ca’Dario, a Palazzo with an attractive Venetian Renaissance architecture along Grand Canal, is home to a series of inexplicable deaths. The ‘curse’ started way back when the structure was built in 1847, affecting owners of the building.
  6. Oddly, the last victim of the curse is John Entwistle, famed bass guitarist of The Who. John was leasing Ca’Dario during his untimely death in 2002.
  7. Never ever touch the produce in the Rialto Market, or in the whole of Italy for that matter. Ask the vendor of what you want and they’d be more than happy to give their best products to you, but touching them is considered extremely rude.

Purple Hearts: Luxor Travel Guide

Not to be confused with the stunning Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, (which is also amazing) this is the one in Egypt, perched right on the banks of the Nile offering the ultimate in history, holidays and sunshine. Either on its own, a stop off on a Nile Cruise or on your way to one of the stunning Red Sea Resorts like Sharm el Sheikh, Luxor is a city just waiting to be discovered. Enjoy Egypt this year with our Luxor travel guide.

Luxor’s been named the ‘world’s greatest open air museum’ with its stunning complexes of temples, tombs and history. Perched right on the banks of the infamous Nile River, its Indiana Jones appearance feels completely exotic and its show stopping antiquities are well worth the visit.

The city is more or less divided in two. On the West Bank sits major ruins including the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, that’s where you’ll find the likes of the tombs of Tutankhamun and Nefertiti, still standing vibrant against the blue sky after a 3000 whopping years. The town proper sits on the East Bank, home to the Luxor and Karnak Temples as well as tonnes of Hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.

It’s not just the history that draws people in, but the extensive city, that is absolutely made for exploring. It’s a group of districts that come together to create a bustling environment of nightlife, accommodation, eateries and sightseeing. It’s ideal for families who want to share the discovery of ancient times, couples who are looking for romance or anyone looking to simply soak up the sunshine.

Read more: Purple Hearts Sharm el Sheikh

What to see in Luxor

Valley of the Kings archaeologists are *still* finding new tombs in this vast complex. The Valley of the Kings is where you’ll find the extraordinary tombs of the boy king Tutankhamun and Ramses the Great.

Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple The aim of this is to bring the ancient city of Thebes to life through the magic of sound and lights. It’s also said to be one of the largest religious sites in the world. Everything is lit up and it’s a great way of viewing the historic monuments in a different way way, plus the reflection of the temple on the Sacred Lake makes a great finale.

Memnon Colossis these are two huge figures depicting the famous god Amenhotep III and featured in front of his temple.

Museum of Mummification This is a small museum but is devoted entirely to the mummification process. So, if that’s something you’re into, this is the place to go.

Read more: top 10 facts about the pyramids of Egypt

What to do in Luxor

Go to the Egyptian Museum Kids will absolutely love this and mum and dad will get some preparation for years worth of school projects here. Luxor is where the ancient capital of Egypt Thebes once stood and the museum is home to the great finds from the (cursed?) tomb of Tutankhamun and the Royal mummies of the pharaohs Ahmose I and Ramesses I. There’s even a double statue of the crocodile god Sobek. If that doesn’t impress the kids, nothing will.

Afternoon tea Agatha Christie style at the Winter Palace Hotel Agatha Christie stayed here while she was working hard on her famous Poirot detective story Death on the Nile. So what better place to indulge in a little tradition, than in her footsteps with tea and sandwiches? There are macaroons, fruit scones, assorted cakes and custard along with proper brewed tea. It really is a home away from home.

Horse drawn carriage These cost about £1 and kids will love it. A great way to rumble around the city, stop and get your picture taken or just take in the breathtaking sights.

Felucca rides These are traditional Egyptian sailboats that float up the bustling banks of the Nile. It’s a great way to see the cities that dot the shore. Just one thing to remember, it’s best to haggle over a price, it’s totally expected.

For something extra special (honeymoon anyone?) a hot air balloon trip is a stunning way to enjoy the beauty and history of Luxor. Flights usually start before dawn and last about 40 minutes, so you can totally indulge in the beautiful surroundings of this ancient city.

Buy stuff The old Luxor market is great for an afternoon out. Here it’s all about the ritual, find a seller you like, sit down, have a cup of tea and put your bartering hat on. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but haggling over the price of even the smallest item is all part of the experience. There are spices, scarves, and sheesha (water pipes) to be had here.

Read more: Opera in El Gouna

Where to stay in Luxor

For a honeymoon Maritim Jolie Ville Kings Island this 5 star is proper luxury, set on its own private island and surrounded by lush gardens. There are ten restaurants on site andevery possibility amenity you could imagine.

For a little luxury Iberotel Luxor, The 4 star Iberotel Luxor is home to a heated floating pool on the Nile and overlooks the Theben Hills for a great holiday, with spacious rooms and a relaxed atmosphere.

For all the family Gaddis Hotel Luxor The 3 star Gaddis offers hotel and apartment accommodation and is in a peaceful neighbourhood as well as within walking distance of the main sites.

For something a bit different Bob Marley House Hotel Bob Marley might not be synonymous with Luxor, but this relaxed hotel has a certain charm. This budget friendly hotel is within walking distance of lots of amenities and even offers horse riding lessons.

Read more: Top 10 holidays for history buffs

What and where to eat in Luxor

Luxor is a paradise for vegetarians. Restaurants usually offer whatever they have in season, so you get beautiful extra fresh tomatoes or cucumbers. Mezze dishes are a big deal in Luxor, these are small dishes that give you a taster of Egyptian style food. It’s usually traditional pieces of pita, with baba ganoush or taboule. You can of course get meat in the form of simple kebabs in plenty of the street shops and if you’re really missing home there are plenty of chain restaurants downtown to pick up a Big Mac.

Jamboree Restaurants on Market Street, inside the souk. This one is child friendly, with lots of choices and is great value.

Sofra has a great terrace where you can enjoy delicious, traditional Egyptian food.

El Kebabgy Reasonably priced, decent quality food, offering pasta, kebabs or mousaka. Snobs in the East Bank. Worth it for the name alone really, Snobs servers Western style food at great prices.

The Lantern, Al Roda Sharifa Street, good quality English style and Egyptian food at good value prices.

Read some our customer reviews of Luxor.

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