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Luxor Temple
By Seif Kamel

 
Located in the heart of the modern city of Luxor, the Luxor temple, especially the two colossi of Ramses II situated at the entrance of the temple, has become a land mark of the city. The Luxor Temple is one of fine examples of the architecture of the Pharaohs. Being constructed, restored, and modified during different periods of the Pharaonic history, the Luxor Temple is a live demonstration of the architectural evolution taking place from one age to the other. The Luxor Temple is one of the major monuments of the city that is almost included in all tourists' itineraries.
 
 
   
    The original name of the Temple of Luxor  
  The temple of Luxor was originally named "the southern Harem of Amun" in the ancient Egyptian language as it was a major part of the Karnak Temple and it was connected with it through the famous avenue of sphinxes.  

 The temple of Luxor was the house of a certain form of the god Amun which was called "Amenemope" or Amun in the Opet and the god Amun of the Karnak temple used to visit the Luxor temple once a year during the Opet festival, a series of ceremonies with the regeneration of the royal powers.

This was the reason why the Luxor Temple was a very important religious structure for the ancient Egyptians.

 
 
  : The construction of the Luxor Temple  
  The Luxor Temple was mainly built for the cult of the Theban divine triad; the gods Amun, Mut, and Khonsu.  

The major part of the Luxor Temple was originally constructed by Amenophis III who ruled Egypt for the period from 1387 to 1349 BC. However, most of the buildings and structures we view in the temple of Luxor today is attributed, the same as many Pharaonic monuments in Egypt, to the Great king Ramses II who ruled Egypt for a very long period starting from 1279 to 1213 BC. Ramses II was able to build a wide court in the Luxor temple and he added a pylon to the great colonnade of the temple.

 
  The description of the Luxor Temple
  Ramses II has also added his two huge colossi and two obelisks that were donated by Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt in 1830 to France. However, only the western obelisk was actually taken to France and reconstructed in Paris in 1836.    

This pylon built by Ramses II is decorated with reliefs representing the battle of Qadesh, the greatest military achievement of Ramses II when he was able to defeat the Hittites and sign the first peace treaty between two nations recognized in human history.  

The triple shrine dedicated to the divine triad; Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, is located in the inner side of the west quay and it is decorated with four fine papyrus shaped columns dating to the reign of Queen Hatshepsut and which Ramses II has largely restored.  

After the divine triple shrine, the guest views a huge courtyard that was built by Ramses II and it was ornamented with 74 tall papyrus shaped columns with huge statues of Ramses II constructed between them. Ramses II is represented in these statues as a symbol of royal power with his favorite wife, Nefertari sculpted next to his knees.

 
    The Mosque of Abu Al Hagag  
  The great colonnade of Ramses II is interrupted from the Eastern side with one of the most interesting scenes one can see in any Pharaonic monument. The guests visiting the Luxor Temple will view an ancient mosque, built for Abu Al Hagag, A Muslim preacher that lived in Luxor during the 13th century, on top of the huge papyrus shaped columns built by Ramses II.  

When Gaston Maspero started his excavation work to discover the Luxor Temple, which was buried under many years of sand and dust to the extent that a whole village was built on top of it, he had to remove the entire village but for religious reasons he had to keep the mosque of Abu Al Hagag as it is.    

Many years later during the 1990s, the Egyptian government renovated the mosque and renewed its Eastern entrance. The Abu Al Hagag Mosque is the only Moslem structure in Egypt and in the whole world that contains Pharaonic decorations and inscriptions.

 
    The second Great colonnade of the Luxor Temple  
  At the end of the Great colonnade of Ramses II, he constructed another two huge colossal statues of himself that serve as if they are the entrance to the second colonnade of the Luxor temple that was built by Amenophis III.

This colonnade consists of 19 papyrus shaped columns 19 meters each. The western walls surrounding these columns are decorated with scenes representing the Opet festival and dating back to the reign of the famous king, Tut Ankh Amun who was the youngest king to rule Egypt from 1333 to 1324 BC .

This colonnade leads the guests to the solar court of Amenophis III and all this wide space was dedicated to the performance of the rituals of the Opet Festival where the barks of the three gods; Amun, Mut, and Khonsu were worshiped before being transferred to the inner part of the temple.  

Then, the guests reach the hypostyle hall of the temple consisting of 32 papyrus shaped columns, which leads to the Roman sanctuary that was established by the Roman Empror, Diocletian in the 3rd century BC.  

An opening in the Roman walls leads afterwards to the Shrine of Amun where the bark of the god Amun was put. This sanctuary was rebuilt once again by Alexander the Great (356 – 322 BC).

Another hypostyle portico leads to the last section of the Temple of Luxor that contains the sanctuary of Amun, constructed by Amenophis III. This section was the home of Amenemope, which was visited every year by the god Amun of the Karnak Temple to regenerate together.  

The second part of this ceremony used to take place in the birth room whose walls exhibit scenes representing the divine union between the god Amun disguised as Tuthmosis III and the Queen Mutemwiya     

 
 
 
The Karnak Temple

In ancient Egypt, the power of the god Amun of Thebes gradually increased during the early New Kingdom, and after the short persecution led by Akhenaten, it rose to its apex. In the reign of Ramses III,

The Valley of the Kings

The tombs of the Valley of the Kings originally contained many other items that were transferred to the Egyptian Museum like the royal belongings of the king that he will use in the afterlife
 
The Queen Hatshepsut Temple

In a spot sacred to the goddess Hathor in the West Bank of Luxor, situated under the foot of one of the huge Theban Mountains, the Queen Hatshepsut has built her mortuary temple that was so fascinating that was called many names in ancient times
 
The colossi of Memnon

The Colossi of Memnon. One of the main attractions on the West Bank of Luxor, a landmark which everyone passes on the road to the monument
 
The Luxor Temple

Located in the heart of the modern city of Luxor, the Luxor temple, especially the two colossi of Ramses II situated at the entrance of the temple, has become a land mark of the city.
 
Discover Luxor

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Luxor Attractions 

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Luxor Map

Luxor was constructed on the ruins of the ancient city of Thebes, the capital of Egypt during the Pharaonic New Kingdom (1550 – 1069 BC).
Luxor Monuments

The best monuments of Luxor . Information about Luxor monuments, landmarks, historic buildings and museums in Luxor
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