Luxor, Egypt

Luxor, Egypt- Temples, Tombs and Museums

Luxor, Egypt was the capital of the New Kingdom– Luxor, Egypt for centuries was the most important city in Egypt. Crossing the Nile one reaches the left bank of Luxor, Egypt where the richest and most famous necropolis in the World are situated. Deir El Bahari one of the most splendid temples in Luxor, Egypt, it was built by Queen Hatshepsut around 1500 BC.

Luxor Temple

This beautiful temple was built on the east bank of Luxor, Egypt by Amenhotep III, ’’The Magnificent’ ’With his wife Queen Tiy, whom he dearly loved, he ruled Egypt during the peaceful and stable 18thDynasty. The Temple was dedicated to the Theban triad :the great god Amon-Ra, his wife Mut, and their son Khonsu. Luxor temple suffered some damage in the reign of Amenhotep’s son of Akhenaten, when the name and figure of Amon were erased,but it was reconstructed in the reigns of Tutankhamon and Horemhab.In the 19th Dynasty,Ramesses II carried out major work there, particularly when he constructed a new court and entrance.

Karnak Temple

This is the great national monument of Egypt which has no equal. It is not a single temple, but temple within temple, shrine within shrine, where almost all the Pharaohs of Luxor,egypt particularly of the New Kingdom, wished to record their names and deeds for posterity. Through most of the structures were built in honour of Amon-Ra,his consort Mut and son Khonsu,there were numerous shrines within the complex dedicated to what might be called ‘guest deities’ like Ptah of Memphis and Osiris of Abydos.

The Necropolis

The necropolis lies on the western bank of the Nile at Luxor,egypt. Its monuments include a series of mortuary temples built by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom, royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and hundreds of tombs of noblemen that extend from the Dra Abu el Naga in the north to the Asasif in the south.

Although it is known as the ‘city of the dead’, the necropolis was once a populated and busy community.

Mortuary Temples- The Colossi of Memnon and its companion

These two somewhat weathered seated statues greet visitors to Luxor,Egypt. They are all that remain of what was once the largest mortuary temple in the necropolis, that of AmenhotepIII.It is somewhat difficult,today, to imagine a temple which, with gardens and lake, extendedfrom the Ramesseum to MedinetHabu.

Hatshepsut Temple (Deir El Bahri)

The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut is the most beautiful in the necropolis, and the queen herself is one of the most colourful figures in ancient Egyptian History.

Mortuary Temple of Seti I

This temple was built by SetiI in reverent memory of his father, Ramses I, who ruled for little more than a year, and, of course, for his own cult.

Mortuary Temple of Ramses II (The Ramesseum)

RAMSES II left a greater mark in history than many other accomplished and successful pharaohs, such as Ahmos (who won the war of liberation against the Hyksos) and Thutmose III (who won a great empire). The reasin that Ramses II had one of the longest reigns in Egyptian history.

Mortuary Temple of Ramses III (Medinet Habu)

MedinetHabu is the name given to a large group of buildings that were started in the 18thDaynasty, but on which construction continued through Roamn times. The main feature of the complex is the mortuary temple of RamsesIII.

Valley of the Kings

Deep in the limestone hills to the north-west Deir el Bahri is a remote valley. Here the Pharaohs of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties chose their eternal resting place.

ThutmoseI was the first pharaoh to excavate a tomb in the barren valley, and to construct his mortuary temple at the edge of the verdant valley. In this way, he believed, his cult could be continued while his resting place remained secret and safe from robbers.

Valley of the Queens

This valley where some of the queens and royal children of the 19th and 20th Dynasties were buried .There are over twenty tombs; many are unfinished and entirely with decoration. The most beautiful, that of Nefertari, beloved wife of Ramses II is not open to visitors .However, we are fortunate that there is another tomb in the same style and with similar representation.

Tombs of the Nobles

Hundreds of tombs of the nobles were constructed in the foothills of the mountains at the edge of the western desert. The most famous are those at Sheikh Abd el Kurna,west of Ramesseum. The majority of tombs were designed in two parts: a wide court leading to a hall that was sometimes supported by pillars or columns, and a long corridor to the rear leading to the offering shrine that had niches for the statue of the deceased. The walls were covered with a layer of whitewashed clay; this was painted. There are sculptured reliefs in only a few of the tombs. They shed a flood of light on life in the New Kingdom.

Luxor, Egypt: Introduction and History

The ancient city stood on both sides of the Nile, and few spots in Egypt are so ideally suited to such a purpose. The rang of hills to the east and west curve away from the river’s bank leaving broad plains on either side. Here marvelous monuments were raised in honour of Amon-Ra.

Luxor, which developed into the great capital of the Egyptian empire, had no particular importance during the first thousand years of Egypt’s ancient history. When Narmer moved northwards to unite the Two Lands and establish Memphis as capital; in the Early Dynastic Period when the kings constructed their cenotaphs at Abydos; during the Great Pyramid Age when granite was quarried from Aswan in the south and transported to the necropolis of Giza to the north-throughout all these long centuries Luxor was no different from the chief cities of other provinces.

It was only after the collapse of the Old Kingdom, when the country had passed through the period of disorder known as the First Intermediate Period that a noble family from Armant, a village south of Luxor, began to assert themselves. They had already shown their powers of leadership by distributing grain between various provinces in times of low flood, and towards the end of the 10th Dynasty (2133 BC), they annexed Luxor and moved north-wards. Their aim was to reunite the Two Lands and take over leadership.

At this time another powerful family from the Fayoum area ruled from Memphis to Assiut, and aware of the aspiration of the Theban family, they moved their forces to meet them. The result was a long and bitter struggle. However, the Thebans emerged victorious, reunited the Two Lands, and launched Egypt on its second great period: the Middle Kingdom.

For some two centuries (1991-1786 BC) Egypt enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity. Luxor, however, was capital for only a short time before the Pharaohs chose a site more suitable for a central government: El Lisht, some thirty kilometers south of Memphis. Political stability led to an art and architectural revival, important irrigation projects, and extensive commerce with neighboring lands. Egyptian influence spread to Libya, Crete, Palestine, Syria, and southwards to Nubia where great fortresses were built .The most significant event in Luxor, however,was the introduction of the god Amon-Ra and building of modest shrines in his honour.

It was only after the Hyksos occupation and expulsion that Luxor and its local god achieved prestige, and then on a scale never imagined. For, after the Thebans (Kamose followed by his brother Ahmose, father of the New Kingdom) won the war of liberation, they not only drove the hated occupiers out of Egypt but swore to avenge their country for its suffering. They followed the enemy into Asia, and the age of conquest began.

The New Kingdom (1567-1080 BC) was the empire period. Thutmose I extended Egypt’s southern border towards Kush, and Thutmose III established Egyptian supremacy in Asia Minor and all the neighboring countries. As trade flourished, Luxor became paramount among the cities of Egypt. Caravans from the conquered territories, laden with gold and silver, precious metals, ivory, timber, spices, rare flora and fauna, made their way to Upper Egypt.

The Priests of Amon-Ra, into whose hands a vast portion of the wealth was pouring acquired increasing influence, and the Pharaohs ordered the construction of marvelous monuments in honour of their gods. They declared that Amon-Ra was not only ‘God of karnak’ and ‘God of Thebes’ but was, in fact, the ‘King of Gods’, and that their priesthood was second to none.

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