The modern town of Luxor is the site of the famous city of Thebes, (Waset in ancient Egyptian) the city of a hundred gates. It was the capital of Egypt from the 12th dynasty (1991 BC) and reached its zenith during the New Kingdom. It was from here that Thutmose III planned his campaigns, Akenaten Map of Thebes showing the Temples of Karnak and Luxor first contemplated the nature of god and Rameses II set out his ambitious building program. Only Memphis could compare in size and wealth, but Memphis was pillaged of its masonry to build new cities and little remains. Although the mud brick palaces of Thebes have disappeared the stone built temples have survived.
The temple of Luxor is close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank. King Amenhotep III who reigned 1390-53 BC built this beautiful temple and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons.
Obelisk of Rameses IIThis temple has been in almost continuos use as a place of worship right up to the present day. It was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and added to by Ramses II. Towards the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great.
During the Christian era the temple’s hypostyle hall was converted into a Christian church, and the remains of another Coptic church can be seen to the west.
Then for thousands of years, the temple was buried beneath the streets and houses of the town of Luxor. Eventually the mosque of Sufi Shaykh Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj was built over it. This mosque was preserved when the temple was uncovered and forms an integral part of the site today.
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