Travel to Egypt

Day 7 (y 3) Luxor

Egypt


 

Thebes: A former Waset The Greeks called it Thebai (Thebes). Waset was in the prefecture IV of Upper Egypt, in its southernmost part. Its geographical position has contributed greatly to the historic significance of the city was close to Nubia and the eastern desert, with its valuable mineral resources and its commercial routes, while distant from the centers of northern rulers. The local rulers of Thebes, in the beginnings of Egyptian history, carried out an active policy of expansion, especially in the intermediate periods I and II; in the final period this is masked as a egyptian reaction against the foreign invaders (the hicsos). The oldest monuments are from the end of the Old Empire and scarce, then Waset being little more than a provincial town. His ascension took effect during the XI dynasty, although at the beginning of the XII Dynasty´s capital was moved to Itch-tauy, but Thebes, with its god Amun, was consolidated as the administrative center of the southern part of Upper Egypt. His period of greatest glory came with the XVIII dynasty, when the city was the capital of the country effectively.

Luxor - Avenue of the sphinxes
Luxor - Avenue of the sphinxes

Its temples were the largest and richest of all Egypt, while the graves prepared for the most prominent minority of its inhabitants, and which were in the West Bank, were the most luxurious Egyptian eyes ever contemplated. Even at the end of the XVIII dynasty and the period of Rameses, where the residence and the center of activities moved to the north (El-Amarna, Memphis and Pi-Ramses), the temples of Thebes continued with fis splendor, the monarchs continued to be buried in the Valley of the Kings, and the city has retained some of its importance in the administrative life of the country. During the Third Intermediate Period, Thebes, with the leading of the high priest of Amon, represented the other side of the balance of the sovereignty of the kings of the dynasties XXI and XXII, who ruled from Tanis in the Delta . The influence of Thebes only ended in the Late Period.

Luxor - Base of the obelisk and statues of Ramses II at the entrance of the temple
Luxor - Base of the obelisk and statues of Ramses II at the entrance of the temple

The main part, and probably the oldest, of the town and its temples were more imposing on the eastern bank. Across the river in the western belt, was the necropolis with tombs and funerary temples, as well as the western neighborhood of the city; Amen-Hotep III had his palace in al-Makat, and throughout the Rameses period the city was located north of it, in Medinet Habu.

Temple of Luxor: The temple that we see today was due mainly to two pharaohs: Amen-Hotep III (the inside) and Ramses II (the outside). Many other sovereign contributed to its decoration in relief and their inscriptions, adding small structures or introducing minor changes, mainly Tut-anj-Amon, Hor-em-heb and Alexander the Great. A primitive funeral chapel of the triad of Thebes was incorporated into the courtyard of Ramses II. The total length of the temple, from the pylon at the rear wall, is approaching the 260 meters. The temple was dedicated to Amun, that in Luxor took the form of the God Min Ithyphallic.

Luxor - Colonnade of Amenophis III
Luxor - Colonnade of Amenophis III

The avenue of sphinxes with human head of Nectanebo I joined Karnak, about 3 miles to the north, to Luxor. The temple is in front of a pylon of Ramses II. Two red granite obelisks originally stood in front of the pylon, but now there is only one of approximately 25 meters in height, the other was transferred to the Place de la Concorde in Paris in the years 1835-36. Several colossal statues of Ramses II, two of them seated, flank the entrance. The peristyle courtyard of Ramses II, which opens after the pylon, has 74 columns in the form of papyrus with scenes of the pharaoh in the presence of various deities. The columns are arranged in two rows around the yard, interrupted by a shrine consisting of three chapels of Amun, Mut and Jonsu, built by Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III and re-decorate by Ramses II.

Luxor - Statues of Ramses II between columns
Luxor - Statues of Ramses II between columns

It was probably the existence of this shrine which led to a notable deviation from the axis of buildings of Ramses II in respect to the earlier temple earlier of Amen-Hotep III. Giants next to the pharaoh are placed in the voids that are in the first row of columns at the southern end of the courtyard. The entrance to the processional colonnade of Amen-Hotep III, with seven columns on each side, has two seated giants of Ramses II with the queen Nefertary next to his right leg on the north side, while on the south side there are two doubles statues, also seated, which correspond respectively to Amon and Mut.

Luxor - Temple lit at dusk
Luxor - Temple lit at dusk

A peristyle courtyard of Amen-Hotep III merges with one of its sides with the hypostyle hall, which is the first room on the inside of the temple, originally roofed. This leads to a series of four antechambers with ancillary rooms. The so-called "birth room", which is located east of the second antechamber, is decorated with reliefs that describe the symbolic "divine birth" of Amen-Hotep III as a result of the union of his mother Mut-em-uia with the god Amun. Alexander the Great built a shrine of boats in the third antechamber. The sanctuary of Amen-Hotep III is the latest stay on the central axis of the temple.


 

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