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MODERN LUXOR

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LUXOR RENOVATIONS - THE SOUK AREA
Connie Tindale
 

Souk Street runs parallel to Karnak Temple Street with its entrance close to the side of Luxor Temple.  Naturally, it is one of the main places that tourists want to visit to buy their souvenirs and presents to take home to friends and family.  Luxor’s Souk has always been a busy and vibrant place where you could spend hours haggling over the cost of a scarf or a Chinese made pyramid but it was also ‘tatty’ with bad drainage for the surrounding houses.  When the street had to be dug up to provide a new sewage system, it was a great opportunity to revamp the whole area in keeping with Luxor's other renovation projects..

 
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The old souk ..................................................................The old surface was removed and new paving laid after the sewage system was complete
The souk is actually in two parts and runs for a considerable length. The first part is the Tourist Souk which sells everything that a tourist could desire such as jewellery, gellabyyas, papyrus and perfume bottles. This part ends at the street with the Emilio Hotel in it. Crossing this road leads to the Egyptian Souk, which is a local market which sells fruit, vegetables, fish, household goods and clothes without a tourist item in sight. Only the Tourist Souk was renovated so if anyone wishes to see what the souk was like then they do not have to mourn its loss, they only have to cross over a road.
 
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Initially the laying of pipes made the street almost impassable.

Initially the digging up of the street caused mayhem and made the area almost impassable with rough surfaces and large holes everywhere but the promising results were soon apparent.  Once the drainage pipes had been laid, struts were put in for the new roof and the street was paved in an interesting design.  The wooden trellis type roof was a new aspect to the Souk and gave it a more intimate and enclosed feel.

 
soukEntrance to soukSouk Street
 

A wooden gateway to the Souk is a dubious addition but it does make the area noticeable and stops endless lines of tourist-bearing calleches from driving down the street.  Unfortunately, these odious convoys of up thirty of more vehicles now go along the Egyptian Souk blocking the street and placing everyone near to them in danger of injury.  Getting rid of the calleches would be a major improvement for Luxor and would certainly lead to calmer nerves and fewer traffic accidents.

It is still a case of buyer beware in the Souk and you must appreciate that once a price is set and a bargain complete, then it is no use thinking you have been overcharged just because someone else bought the same item for half the price at the same shop.  There is no set price so it is wise to go to several places and bargain hard before you agree to any purchase.