About the Temple of Luxor
One of the most important Pharaonic temples in Egypt is the Luxor Temple situated in the city that holds the same name in Egypt. Almost any tour to Egypt would include a visit to the Temple of Luxor and its bigger brother, the Karnak Temple.
Constructed during the reign of the Middle Kingdom in the ancient Egyptian history, the Temple of Luxor has witnessed many constructions that were contributed by many kings and rulers afterwards making it an open air museum of the evolution of the Egyptian construction in ancient Egypt.
Many tourists who travel to Egypt prefer to spend three or four days in Luxor and Aswan, perhaps in a Nile Cruise ship that has became quite popular among tourists visiting Egypt lately.
Geographical Location of the Temple of Luxor
The Temple of Luxor is situated in the center of the East Bank of the city of Luxor near the Temple Karnak that is connected to it via the famous avenue of Sphinxes. This is why all Egypt travel packages include the visit of the two temples together in one day.
The History and the construction of theTemple of Luxor
The first construction built in the Temple of Luxor most probably dates back to the reign of the Middle Kingdom in the ruling period of the King Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC who belonged to the 18th dynasty.
Amenhotep has constructed the Luxor to prove that he has the right for the throne of Egypt and that he is the son of the god Amun, the king of gods in ancient Egypt. This was because Amenhotep III was not the son of a King and a queen who both belong to the royal family of Pharaohs and this consisted an obstacle against him declaring that he is the king of Egypt. Therefore, Amenhotep constructed this marvelous temple to satisfy the priests of the god Amun.
The Temple of Luxor was in fact built for the worship of the god Amun, his wife,Mut, and his son; Khunsu which were called the holy trinity of ancient Thebes. Most of the sections of the temple were constructed by the kings of the 18th and the 19th dynasties.
The most important parts of the temple were constructed by Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC, Ramses II in the 13th century BC, Tuthomose II in the 15th century BC, and Queen Hatshepsut as well.
The Description of the Temple of Luxor
The most dominant elements at the entrance of the Luxor Temple are these two huge statues of Ramses II to the left and to the right hand side of the gate to enter inside the temple.
There were also two marvelous obelisks that were constructed to accompany the two colossi of Ramses II. However, they were donated to France in 1830 by Mohamed Ali Pasha, the builder of modern Egypt.
The Pylon of the Temple of Luxor has scenes of Qadesh, the famous battle when Ramses II defeated the Hittites in the 13th century BC.
After entering through the pylon of the temple, the guests can see the 74 columns built in the shape of the papyrus plant with closed capitals with statues of Ramses II among them.
This section of the Temple of Luxor has a matchless feature in its western part as it was covered for centuries by the Mosque of Abu El Hagag that was constructed in 1244. Now, the mosque is restored and has an entrance of its own on the Western side of the Luxor Temple complex.
Two large statues of Ramses II give way for the guests to enter into the section of the remarkable columns of Amenhotep III. This section consists of 14 large columns with each being 19 meters long. The walls of this section are decorated with scenes from the Opet festival, a famous religious event when King Amun used to meet his wife, Mut, once every year in ancient Egypt.
In this section, there is a marvelous scene displayed on its walls that show the Temple of Luxor when it was first constructed with its six statues of Ramses II, all its obelisks before being donated or broken, and all the sections of the temple. There is also this wonderful scene of the sons of Ramses II who are taking the offerings to the god Amun and his wife; Mut.
This colonnade of Amenhotep III gives access to the solar court constructed by the same king. This was where the Opet Feast rituals used to take place and it consists of a wide open courtyard.
Afterwards, there is the hypostyle hall that consists of 32 huge columns with papyrus bases. This leads to the Roman sanctuary which was called that way because the Roman Emperor; Diocletian has transformed into a sanctuary in the 7th century AD.
Then visitors enjoying their vacation in Egypt would enter from a narrow opening in the Roman wall inside the shrine of Alexander the Great. Constructed in the 3rd century BC, this was the contribution of the great Greek king to the Temple of Luxor.
The last section of the Temple of Luxor consists of the sanctuary of the god Amun that was built by Amenhotep III. This section hosted the statue of Amun that was visited annually by the representation of Amun of the Karnak Temple to carry out the rituals of the regeneration.
The second part of these rituals was carried out in the birth room of the god Amun situated to the East of the offerings chamber. This section is decoratedwith scenes of the king of gods, Amun, in the marriage ceremony to his wife goddess; Mut.
No tourist visiting Egypt, especially for the first time, shall never miss the chance to explore the marvelous Temple of Luxor, one of the most important Pharaonic Temple of ancient Egypt. Usually the half day tour of the East Bank of Luxor would include a visit to the Luxor temple and the Karnak temple together.