LUXOR TEMPLE FACTS
Within the ancient city of “Thebes” lies the purest vision of elegance and wonder, and one of the world’s largest and most magical Outdoor Museum “Luxor Temple“. The temple was built in 1400 BCE during Egypt new Kingdom in the reign of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) of the 18th dynasty and completed by Tutankhamun (1336-1327 BC) and Horemheb (1323-1295 BC) under the name Ipet Resyet which means “The Southern Sanctuary”. It was also enlarged and expanded by King Ramses II (1279-1213 BC). Luxor temple was the center of the political and religious aspects of Thebes. It was dedicated to the God Amun of the Theban Triad with Mut and Khonsu and the temple was the annual location for the Opet Festival where the three statues of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu are transferred from Karnak temple to the Luxor Temple, to highlight the concept of rebirth. The temple stature falls through time but the glory days of Amenhotep where once restored By Alexander the Great in 320 BC where it became the center of the Roman emperor cult.
LUXOR TEMPLE HISTORY
Luxor temple is one of the most visited landmarks in Egypt, which you can when you visit Egypt due to its excellent preserved condition and intact beautiful carvings and the rare phenomenon of having only two pharaohs leaving a significant mark on its architectural structure. The temple contains several pylons that can reach 70 yards long. The entrance of the temple is in the north and is lined a Sacred Way Known as Avenue of Sphinxes. The temple contains a peristyle courtyard dating back to Amenhotep which holds the best-preserved columns on the eastern side while the southern side is made up of 32 columns that leads to the inner sanctums which were used as a chapel during the Roman times. Luxor temple also holds a birth shrine built by Amenhotep III and a barque shrine to be used by Amun built by Alexander. Ramses II constructed a pylon which shows two towers at the height of 24m and the wide of 65m that is decorated with his military expeditions and victory at the battle of Kadesh.
LUXOR TEMPLE INFORMATION
In fact, the name Luxor comes from the Arabic al- Uksur, meaning “fortification” Which in turn derived from the Latin word “castrum” the word for a fortification. The temple was also called the ” Temple of Amen of the Opet,” Amenemopet” or ” The Southern Sanctuary.” Like the temples at Karnak, Luxor Temple has undergone numerous changes and additions over the past three millennia. Undoubtedly, an earlier Middle Kingdom temple once stood on the site, perhaps even an Old Kingdom Temple before that. There is certainly evidence that Queen Hatshepsut built here in the 18th Dynasty. But the earliest structures visible today were erected by Amenhotep III, and he and Rameses II were responsible for most of the temple’s huge colonnades and courts. Later, substantial redecorating was undertaken by Ptolemaic and Roman rulers, Christian priests, and Moslem Sheikhs.
THE OUTER COURTYARD BETWEEN THE SPHINX AVENUE AND THE PYLON
There is a huge shrine for the goddess Isis dating to the Roman period, surrounded by columns a statue wearing Roman clothes. The Rest of the area was always left empty probably to allow some space for the procession of Amon.
After the death of Amenhotep III, Akhenaton ruled the country and ordered that all work is to be stopped in the temple of Amon, and the name of Amon was to be erased from all monuments. It was proved that Akhenaton had two temples in Luxor. But after the death of Akhenaton, Tutankhamon took place then Horemhab. Then Seti I then Ramses II.
THE PYLON OF RAMSES II
The work in this pylon started in the first year of the reign of Ramses II, which is the time when work is started in the temple of Abu Simbel in the rock mountain. The finished their achievement in the 3rd year of the reign of Ramses II.
The pylon is about 65 M in length and 24 M height, at the top there are four vertical openings for the flags staff which would have golden, and opposite to these two pylons there were two Obelisks erected.
These two Obelisks were decorated by hieroglyphic inscriptions, till now we don’t know the actual reason of the erection of Obelisks in front of the temples, but there are some opinions saying that it is nothing but to notify the actual site of the temple, exactly like the minarets of the Mosques and the bells of the Churches, and especially that their peaks were in the form of a pyramid and covered with a layer of golden and copper which made it shining obvious all the time.
The western Obelisk was moved to France 1819, erected in Paris in the place de la Concorde. The eastern Obelisk 257 tons. The base of both Obelisks is decorated by four praying facing the pylon are six statues of Ramses II. Two the king seated.
The Two Pylons of Ramses II are all decorated with scenes of the king and his victories and invasions in Syria.
On the left pylon, we could see the Hittite Battle of Kadesh in Syria, where the king is shown on his chariot attacking the fortress of Kadesh and being surrounded by his enemies who have been arrow by him and his soldiers with a lot of wounded and killed shown on the screen. In another scene we could see the Hittites running away from the fortress of Kadash.
The military inscriptions of Ramses II. Rows of chariots of the Egyptian army shown with defeated Hittite and forts and cities been captured together with a strange scene of the pharaoh’s lion attacking some enemies.
THE SHRINES OF THUTMOSE III
Built by Queen Hatshepsut, guarded by arrow of rose granite columns, each one is representing a bundle of papyrus stems. The style of art which is shown is representing the details and beauty of that period.
Thutmose III erased the name of the Queen, and then when Ramses II came to build his pylon, he carefully dismantled the shrine, then built his pylon. Then rebuilt the shrine with his own name carved as well. This shrine consisting of three chapels.
THE OPEN COURT OF RAMSES II
The open court is surrounded from all four sides by two rows of columns, 14 columns and eleven statues of Ramses II. There are two black granite statues, on their bases are scenes of conquered lands by Ramses II in Syria and Nubia. On the top of it are symbols of the unification of both lands. The scenes of the open court of Ramesses II, the celebration of the Opet festival by the god Amon, who moves from Karnak to Luxor temple. The Procession is led by sons of Ramesses II, each one according to his age, were Merenptah is seen as number thirteen.
THE HYPOSTYLE HALL
The Hypostyle Hall is consisting of fourteen columns in the form of two rows, of open papyrus flowers, it is different than the rest of the columns in the temple the high of each columns is about 16 Meter, it is very much similar to the court of columns in Karnak temple but these are a bit shorter than the later.
Amenhotep III was the one who built them and his name is seen at the top, though it was not the similar style of art in his period. Tutankhamon, Horemhab, Seti I and Ramesses II completed this Hall.
These two rows of columns are surrounded by two enclosure walls. These walls are representing the celebration of the Opet festival. While it seems that it was done by Tutankhamon because his name is found more than once. These scenes on the west wall are representing the festival departing from Karnak to Luxor Temple, while the eastern wall is showing the festival arriving back to Karnak.
THE OPEN COURT OF AMENHOTEP III
Which are in the form of a bundle of Papyrus. The court was always open as it is now, but it had a great alter in the middle for the offerings and presents which were prepared for Amon. the temple was built out of sand stone blocks, which brought from Gabal el Selsela.
THE HYPOSTYLE HALL OF AMENHOTEP III
The Hypostyle hall of Amenhotep III representing the real Ancient Egyptian art- 64 columns. The floor of the court is higher than the rest of the temple. While we go deeper the we find that the temple goes higher in level and the roof gets lower than usual.
Alexander the Great when he was in power, he removed the columns of this sanctuary and the alter of the barque of Amon, and had a totally new sanctuary built that barque. Alexander the Great performing his religious rituals.
THE BIRTH ROOM OF AMENHOTEP III
This was done specially to represent the king being born as a divine child from the god. It wasn’t the first time to have such representation Because Queen Hatshepsut already has the same scenes carved on the walls of her temple.
LUXOR TOURS AND CRUISES
Luxor is a magic place, where you can enjoy ancient treasures, breathtaking Nile valley’s nature and adventurous activities at the same time. Here you have a possibility to visit East bank with its famous Karnak complex with giant pillars and Luxor temple, West bank with mysterious Valley of Kings, Hatshepsut Temple. Also, from Luxor you can make small Egypt tours to Aswan, Abu Simbel, Cairo, Nile cruise and many more. So, doesn’t matter is Luxor your permanent destination or it’s just point on the route – incredible memories, it’s something what you will definitely get here!