Luxor Temple 

Luxor temple

-Luxour temple was built in the eastern bank of the Nile.        

-the temple was built from inside to out-side, with total plan of 2600 ms.

It is one of the most important temples of Egypt; it is one of these constructions, which had a big portion of research from Egyptologist to try to know the reason after its construction. Some opinions considered it as if it is representing a human being; its head is the sanctuary, were the god residence & organizes the universe, while the body of the human being is the main structure of the temple representing the natives living in it.

Luxour temple one of these cult temples, which dates back to the new kingdom period, and especially Amenhotep3rd who decided to build the whole temple for god Amon the main god of Luxour and the head of the triad of Thebes (amon-Mut-Konso)

This is not the original temple of this site but there were ruins of tables of offering dates back to the middle kingdom period during the reign of king Senusert 3rd, which are now in the Egyptian museum in Cairo under the name of Apophis II

As mentioned in the famous papyrus called Harries which dates to the Ramses 3rd {this temple had over 2623 serving the priesthood of Amon, and 279 animal offerings were to be slaughtering to Amon just during the time of this king}.

The name of this temple at the ancient Egyptian times was the house of Amon or the southern house or harems house (ipt-reset)

The sphinx avenue:

The temple is lead by a sphinx avenue-representing king Nekhtanbo 30th dynasty who founded it, on these statues the king depicted all his achievements and his titles, and his royal names, together with a mention about this avenue being achieved and a mention about trees, when the excavation were done it was proved the presence of trees between these statues, together with a canal on the side of the road to irrigate these trees.

These statues were carved of one piece of sandstone blocks, which is representing the lion's body and the king's head, while the face is colored in red. The statues were based on a base higher than the normal level of the path and made out of small pieces of sandstone.

This path was blocked from all sides by a huge wall in order not to allow anyone to pass through except from its southern and northern entrance and in order to protect the festival of god Amon from the crowds during the journey from Karnak to Luxor or visa-versa. Till now there are 68 statues extending to Karnak temples.   

It is not positive till now weather they used the road or the Nile for the journey of the god, but there are some representations showing that they used the river as a main mode of transport.

-the sphinx avenue is extended to 3 k.m connecting Karnak with Luxour

The outer courtyard between the sphinx avenue & the pylon:

Towards the beginning of the passage at the pylon, there was a stela of Nekhtanbo representing his achievements. Then we could see a huge mud brick wall from the east & west sides surrounding the temple and dates back to the Ptolemaic times

To the right hand side there is a huge shrine for goddess Isis dating to the roman period, surrounded by columns, this shrine built of mud brick it was rebuilt by the Egyptian department of Antiquities as it was supposed to be in the ancient times. By the front step of the shrine, the local roman ruler recorded the dedication of this shrine to the goddess Isis, in the 10th year of the roman emperor Hadrian.

One of the most important pieces found there was a statue of king Ramses the 3rd 20th dynasty made out of black granite;

There was a chapel, which was belonging to king Taharqa25th dedicated to goddess Hathour; it is in a very bad condition, so it is now buried under the sand.

Facing the pylon are 6 statues of king RamsesII, 2 of them are flanking the entrance, in between the pylon & the obelisk, representing the king seated and on the side of the throne of the eastern statue there is a figure of queen Nefertari, one of his princess daughters representing in the right side of the western statue.

On the base of the throne of these statues are representations of the king uniting upper & Lower Egypt. These seated statues are of black granite, their height of about 14 m.

The standing statues were of rose granite, the only one remaining is on the western side & beside him is his daughter Merit Amon shown. The rest of the standing statues were destroyed.

2 obelisks erected, hieroglyphic inscriptions decorated them, on the base of these 2 obelisks, from all 4 sides there are representation of Ramses the 2nd kneeling to offer some offerings to the chief of the gods Amon Ra.

The western obelisk was moved to France in 1819 & it was erected in Paris, in the place de la Concorde, while the eastern one standing in front of the pylon, its base are decorated by 4 praying baboons, only 1&1\2 baboon left & the rest in the Louver museum.

The first pylon:-

The work in this pylon started in the first year of the reign of king RamsesII which is the time when the work started in the temple of Abu Simble in the rock of the mountain. They finished their achievements in the 3rd day of the 4th month of the inundation in the 3rd year of king's reign.

The pylon is about 65 m in length & 24 m in height, at the top there are 4 vertical openings for the flags staff, opposite these 2 pylons there were

The pylons of the king are decorated with scenes of the king & his victories and invasions in Syria. On the right tower the king is seen on his throne preparing his princes in a council for war, while the Egyptian camp is shown with soldiers protecting it by organized shields in more than one row, with the Hittites trying to attack it, while the king is shown on his chariot in the middle of the battle.

On the base of this pylon we could see Egyptian inscriptions explaining the battle of Qadesh, with representations showing the king on his chariot destroying the towns of Syria, and defeating his enemies and taking prisoners of war then returning back victoriously to Egypt. This all inscribed in the lines from 1:60.

While the left pylon again the battle of Qadesh, where the king is shown on his chariot attacking the fortress of Qadesh & being surrounded by his enemies who have been arrowed by him and his soldiers, with a lot of wounded and killed shown in the scene.

In another scene we could see the Hittites running away from their fortress, while the fort itself is shown protected by Egyptian warriors, with the king of the Hittites shown on his chariot trembling from the pharaoh of Egypt. This all inscribed under the famous battle in lines from 61:90.

The military inscriptions of Ramses are extending to the hall of the columns; some more of the scenes of the battle are shown, specially the one representing the vizier riding his horse and running to seize help from the late troops of the pharaoh.

Rows of the chariots of the Egyptian army are shown with the defeated Hittites, and forts and cities had been captured. Together with a strange scene representing the king's lion attacking some enemies, on the other hand we could see one of the enemies shown climbing a tree trying to escape from a bear whish caught his leg. Passing through the entrance of the pylon of king Ramses the 2nd, we could see him represented by the entrance giving offerings and incense to the gods Amon & Mut.

The interior eastern wall was carved by Shabaka wearing the crown of Lower Egypt and performing some religious rituals in front of god Amon Ka Mut f and behind him is the goddess Mut spilling some water droplets, while on the protruding edges of this wall, we could see him represented with different gods. While on the western wall of the entrance we could see some religious Greek inscriptions.

The shrines of Tuthmosis III:

Entering the open court to the right we would approach a shrine built by Hatshepsut, guarded by a row of rose granite columns, each one representing a bundle of a papyrus stems. The style of the art, which is shown, is representing the details and beauty of that period.

Tuthmosis III erased the name of Hatshepsut and carved his name instead, and then when Ramses came to build his pylon, he carefully dismantled the shrine, then built the pylon, then rebuilt the shrine with his own name carved as well.

This shrine is consisting of 3 chapels for the sacred triad of Thebes; inscriptions of Ramses II carved all of their ceilings, but unfortunately none of these inscriptions are remaining till now.  

     The first chapel is for god Khonsu, its western wall shows RamsesII and one of his sons presenting offerings to god Khonsu, but the eastern wall is destroyed.

The second chapel is for god Amon, by the entrance we could see Ramses II in the Hb Sd festival dance in front of Amon, the interior walls representing Ramses II in front of the sacred bark of Amon, where he is burning incense before Amon Re who is inside his chapel. The wall at the rear part is showing a false door protected from both sides by 2 columns with a ram's head, while on the western and eastern we could see on the right wall the priest When Mut standing before the king.

in the southwest corner of the court, we could see scenes representing the celebration of the Opet festival by the god Amon, who moves from Karnak temples to Luxor temple, while here the scene representing the arrival to Luxor with the decoration which is on its entrance, having 4 flags flying in the air, showing the 2 obelisks and 3 statues of the king in each side. The procession is lead by the sons of Ramses II, each one according his age; they are all holding flowers and followed by the priests and the high officials of the country, beneath this scene we could see Queen Nefertari and her daughters.

Towards the end of the line, we could see some offerings presented, some of them are fattened bulls, which are beautifully decorated, some of them are having their horns in the form of raised hands in the sky and the owner is shown in between these horns. While on the northern end of the western wall the king is seen meeting the god in Luxor temple with the deity of the Nile Hapi.

     On the second row, we could see the king making a tent with the help of the Nubians in front of Amon, and offering colored material to Amon and Khonsu, and leading 4 bulls to Amon.

     On the top register, the king is shown with different gods, while at the bottom we could see a text for Ramses III.

     While on the southern wall, its eastern end Thot is writing the king's name on the SD staff, and he is shown kneeling in front a tree and kissing the Hb SD sign before god Amon. 

Thot recording the name of the king, the king is burning incense and pouring wet offerings for Seshat & Sefkhet. The king is shown with Khonsu presenting his name to Amon and Mut.        

The 3rd row Panijim the vizier is following the priest.                                          

The hypostyle hall of the 14 columns:

This hypostyle hall consisting of 14 columns in the form of 2 rows, of open papyrus flowers, the height is about 16 meters high.

Amenhotep was the one who built them and his seen in the top; two enclosure walls surround These 2 rows. Theses columns are similar to the columns which are built in Karnak which most probably belongs to him Amenhotep III

 These walls are representing the celebration of the Opet festival; these scenes on the western wall are representing the festival departing from Karnak to Luxor while the eastern wall is showing the festival arrival. Back to Karnak after the celebration is concluded in Luxor. 

The forecourt of Amenhotep III:-

Passing through the southern door of the colonnaded court we will end at the open court of king Amenhotep the III which is the beginning of the real achievements of the king, he recorded at the entrance of this court the dedication of the temple to the god Amon re.

Probably the builder of this temple is the supervisor of the all kings' work Amenhotep son of hapo who was a native from (atrib) which is now Banha a city to the north of Cairo, this man died shortly after the king participated the 30 anniversary of the hb –sd festival.

The whole temple is built of sandstone which was brought from gabal el selsela.

The 3 sides are decorated with two rows of columns which are in the form of papyrus. These columns are supporting roof which is decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, while the court itself was always open as it is now.

In the middle of the court there was a later to prepare offerings which were dedicated to Amon re.

In the south east side of the court on the base of the columns there is a hieratic text explaining the sd festival.

The columns which are in the extreme south east have another text written in hieratic belonging to panedjem.

The hypostyle hall of Amenhotep III: -

The hypostyle hall was built by Amenhotep III; it has 32 papyrus bud columns arranged in 4 rows.

The hypostyle hall in luxour is considered the best one in luxour temple which is truly representing the real ancient Egyptian art.

The floor of the court is higher than the rest of the temple, the more we go deeper the more we find the temple goes higher in level and the roof gets lower than the normal.

The columns with the walls are decorated with scenes representing the provinces of Egypt at the time of AmenhotepIII and scenes representing the king offering different ditties On the eastern wall while in the same wall at the bottom register god hapi kneeling representing some offerings with the name of the nome he is representing in his head, the same scene is completed in the southern and the western walls.

The number of the nomes is 49.

There are some other scenes in the court representing the key of life being received by the king from other gods; goddess Mut is giving the king the magical neck less of life and happiness of the heart, while sekhmet and Amon is offering him eternal life.

To the left of the entrance there is an alter preserved dating to constantino 337 A.D

The second colonnaded court: -

Behind this colonnaded court there was another court with small columns, while on each side there were chapels for the sacred baroques of the triad of Thebes.

Baroques of Mut and khnso use to pass through the 2 further most rows of columns, while the barque of Amon used to go straight through the columns to this second court, then through a side door in the southern wall leading to the holy of the holies.

During the roman period this temple was transferred to be roman camp and this door was blocked by an alter, which had 4 columns, which had under them a statue for a roman emperor who was a god and had his own religious rituals.

The Christian and roman rulers constantino and maximin daya ordered to have offerings to be given to the statue of the sacred emperor together with the statue of constantino as well.

The actual  walls of the court was covered with plaster and had some pictures of Augustus and an emperor from the 3 rd centaury and some heroes from the roman period which are mistekley thought to be belonging to the roman period, while underneath the plaster there are a lot of scenes representing the accession of Amenhotep III

The birth room of Amenhotep III: -

This room was done specially to represent the king being born as a divine child from the god Amon re.

On the western wall of this room at the bottom register to the right we could see amon announcing his wish to have an heir to inherit the throne of Egypt  from his wife of Tuthmosis Iv so he is represented as if he is the king himself  and is lead to the chambers of the queen by god Thot who leaves him alone , then he is seen seated with her giving her the breath of life, then Amon is seen departing the queens quarters ordering the god khnum to shape and create the heir of the throne to be the king of egypt who is Amenhotep III , then khnoum is shaping the child and his soul on the potters wheel , and behind him is goddess hathour who inspires (goddess of birth) the arrival of the child , and she is announcing that he will be the king of the valley and the desert and all the countries will be submitted to him and to be under his feet.

Then khnoum announce that the queen is pregnant and goes to the birth room with goddess hathour, then we could see goddess of birth taweret and god of childhood bes .and after delivering hathour gives the baby to his father who is amon re, who announce that the son is his son from his origin, then he is giving him back to hathour to be fed and blessed, followed by the king shown as grown up and youth, finally in the southern wall he is shown as king of upper and lower 

The shrine of Alexander the great: -

 When Alexander the great was in power he built a shrine for him which is located near the birth room.

The shrine has two doors one at the southern side and the other from the northern end and was decorated by cornice, and with .Alexander the great represented more than once with more than one ditties performing some religious rituals.

 On the other hand the exterior walls of this sanctuary were decorated with scenes of Alexander with other ditties of Egypt.

The sanctuary of Amenhotep III: -

At the end of the temple is the sanctuary of Amenhotep III, where its end we have the sacred barque of Amon bench to have some rest before traveling back to karnak temples

 

     The third chapel is for the sacred Baraque of goddess Mut, on the eastern wall the king is shown presenting offerings and burning incense for goddesses Mut & Nit following this scene 8 goddesses in 2 rows. On the western wall, the sacred barque of Mut is decorated by 2 crowned female heads representing the goddesses, while the king followed by Thot presenting offerings to the baraque.  

The open court of Ramses II:

The wall which representing the rear of the eastern pylon, is showing inscriptions of Ramses II celebrating the completion of the work which should be done in his open court, and he is seen presenting his loyalty to the seated deities in their chapels, another scene representing some Libyans competing in trying to climb some ropes which is tied to a pole, while Ramses II is holding one of these ropes.

The open court doesn't lie on the same axis of the rest of the temple s the ancient temples supposed to be, it is bending to the eastern side, with no satisfactory explanation except that he may be wanted to avoid the shrine of Hatshepsut, or to follow the angle connecting the temples of Karnak and to be further away of the river Nile.

This open court surrounded in the 4 sides by 2 rows of columns in the form of papyrus stems with closed bud papyrus flowers, they are all 74 columns, except the side of the shrine of Tuthmosis III, which is without any columns. In this court there are 11 statues of king Ramses II, both in the south western and eastern sides, 9 of them are representing the king standing with either his wife or one of his daughters beside him, all of these statues are of rose granite except one of black granite, all these statues having their crowns separated from the structure of the statue which is showing all the details of the anatomy of the body, and showing the wife of Ramses II, Nefertari, carved beside his leg, together with the representation of his daughter Merit Amon shown in of these statues.

The statues of Ramses II had their heads destroyed and their faces were chiseled, except one in the eastern side.

 

At the sides of the entrance which is leading to the hypostyle hall of the temple, there are 2 black granite statues, on their base are scenes of conquered lands and tribes by Ramses II in Syria and Nubia, representing captives having their hands tied to their backs, and their names written in a circle, on top of it are symbols of the unification of both lands, these 2 statues has 2 different names, the left one was called the ruler of the both lands, while the right one was called the emperor of the rulers.

-these two statues have the features of King Tutankhamen

To the left hand side of the court is the mosque of Abu el hagag which is 14th century mosque built for a holy Moslem man over the columns of the first open court.

  The scenes of the open court of Ramses II:

in the southwest corner of the court, we could see scenes representing the celebration of the Opet festival by the god Amon, who moves from Karnak temples to Luxor temple, while here the scene representing the arrival to Luxor with the decoration which is on its entrance, having 4 flags flying in the air, showing the 2 obelisks and 3 statues of the king in each side. The procession is lead by the sons of Ramses II, each one according his age; they are all holding flowers and followed by the priests and the high officials of the country, beneath this scene we could see Queen Nefertari and her daughters.

Towards the end of the line, we could see some offerings presented, some of them are fattened bulls, which are beautifully decorated, some of them are having their horns in the form of raised hands in the sky and the owner is shown in between these horns. While on the northern end of the western wall the king is seen meeting the god in Luxor temple with the deity of the Nile Hapi.

     On the second row, we could see the king making a tent with the help of the Nubians in front of Amon, and offering colored material to Amon and Khonsu, and leading 4 bulls to Amon.

     On the top register, the king is shown with different gods, while at the bottom we could see a text for Ramses III.

     While on the southern wall, its eastern end Thot is writing the king's name on the SD staff, and he is shown kneeling in front a tree and kissing the Hb SD sign before god Amon. 

Thot recording the name of the king, the king is burning incense and pouring wet offerings for Seshat & Sefkhet. The king is shown with Khonsu presenting his name to Amon and Mut.        

The 3rd row Panedjem the vizier is following the priest

The hypostyle hall of the 14 columns:

This hypostyle hall consisting of 14 columns in the form of 2 rows, of open papyrus flowers, the height is about 16 meters high.

Amenhotep was the one who built them and his seen in the top; two enclosure walls surround These 2 rows. Theses columns are similar to the columns which are built in Karnak which most probably belongs to him Amenhotep III

 These walls are representing the celebration of the Opet festival; these scenes on the western wall are representing the festival departing from Karnak to Luxor while the eastern wall is showing the festival arrival. Back to Karnak after the celebration is concluded in Luxor. 

The forecourt of Amenhotep III:-

Passing through the southern door of the colonnaded court we will end at the open court of king Amenhotep the III which is the beginning of the real achievements of the king, he recorded at the entrance of this court the dedication of the temple to the god Amon re.

Probably the builder of this temple is the supervisor of the all kings' work Amenhotep son of hapo who was a native from (atrib) which is now Banha a city to the north of Cairo, this man died shortly after the king participated the 30 anniversary of the hb –sd festival.

The whole temple is built of sandstone which was brought from gabal el selsela.

The 3 sides are decorated with two rows of columns which are in the form of papyrus. These columns are supporting roof which is decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, while the court itself was always open as it is now.

In the middle of the court there was a later to prepare offerings which were dedicated to Amon re.

In the south east side of the court on the base of the columns there is a hieratic text explaining the sd festival.

The columns which are in the extreme south east have another text written in hiratic belonging to panedjem.

The hypostyle hall of Amenhotep III:-

The hypostyle hall was built by Amenhotep III; it has 32 papyrus bud columns arranged in 4 rows.

The hypostyle hall in luxour is considered the best one in luxour temple which is truly representing the real ancient Egyptian art.

The floor of the court is higher than the rest of the temple, the more we go deeper the more we find the temple goes higher in level and the roof gets lower than the normal.

The columns with the walls are decorated with scenes representing the the provinces of egypt at the time of AmenhotepIII and scenes representing the king offering different ditties On the eastern wall while in the same wall at the bottom register god hapi kneeling representing some offerings with the name of the nome he is representing in his head, the same scene is completed in the southern and the western walls.

The number of the nomes is 49.

There are some other scenes in the court representing the key of life being received by the king from other gods; goddess Mut is giving the king the magical neck less of life and happiness of the heart, while sekhmet and Amon is offering him eternal life.

To the left of the entrance there is an alter preserved dating to constantino 337 A.D

The second colonnaded court: -

Behind this colonnaded court there was another court with small columns, while on each side there were chapels for the sacred baroques of the triad of Thebes.

Baroques of Mut and khnso use to pass through the 2 further most rows of columns, while the barque of Amon used to go straight through the columns to this second court, then through a side door in the southern wall leading to the holy of the holies.

During the roman period this temple was transferred to be roman camp and this door was blocked by an alter, which had 4 columns, which had under them a statue for a roman emperor who was a god and had his own religious rituals.

The Christian and roman rulers constantino and maximin daya ordered to have offerings to be given to the statue of the sacred emperor together with the statue of constantino as well.

The actual  walls of the court was covered with plaster and had some pictures of Augustus and an emperor from the 3 rd centaury and some heroes from the roman period which are mistekley thought to be belonging to the roman period, while underneath the plaster there are a lot of scenes representing the accession of Amenhotep III

The birth room of Amenhotep III:-

This room was done especially to represent the king being born as a divine child from the god Amon re.

On the western wall of this room at the bottom register to the right we could see Amon announcing his wish to have an heir to inherit the throne of Egypt  from his wife of Tuthmosis Iv so he is represented as if he is the king himself  and is lead to the chambers of the queen by god Thot who leaves him alone , then he is seen seated with her giving her the breath of life, then Amon is seen departing the queens quarters ordering the god khnum to shape and create the heir of the throne to be the king of egypt who is Amenhotep III , then khnoum is shaping the child and his soul on the potters wheel , and behind him is goddess hathour who inspires (goddess of birth) the arrival of the child , and she is announcing that he will be the king of the valley and the desert and all the countries will be submitted to him and to be under his feet.

Then khnoum announce that the queen is pregnant and goes to the birth room with goddess hathour, then we could see goddess of birth taweret and god of childhood bes .and after delivering hathour gives the baby to his father who is amon re, who announce that the son is his son from his origin, then he is giving him back to hathour to be fed and blessed, followed by the king shown as grown up and youth, finally in the southern wall he is shown as king of upper and lower 

The shrine of Alexander the great: -

 When Alexander the great was in power he built a shrine for him which is located near the birth room.

The shrine has two doors one at the southern side and the other from the northern end and was decorated by cornice, and with. Alexander the great represented more than once with more than one ditties performing some religious rituals.

 On the other hand the exterior walls of this sanctuary were decorated with scenes of Alexander with other ditties of Egypt.

The sanctuary of Amenhotep III:-

At the end of the temple is the sanctuary of Amenhotep III, where its end we have the sacred barque of Amon bench to have some rest before traveling back to karnak temples

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