Home  •  About us  •  About Egypt  •  Contact us 
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
 
I am looking for...
 
 
 

Luxor

When you travel up the Nile, Luxor is your most likely goal. As well as everybody else’s. If there were no tourists, perhaps there wouldn’t be a Luxor anymore. Everyone here works with guiding, handicrafts, hotels, restaurants or whatever. And if you thought you had experienced hustling before, wait until you get to Luxor. But you simply have to go here. Next to Cairo, this is the city holding the most impressive Pharaonic monuments. And they’re bountiful too. Valley of the Kings, the Theban Necropolis and Karnak, are all a few kilometers away from the city of Luxor. Therefore the name, the palaces, ‘AI-Uqsuur. The reason for all this is Luxor having been Thebes, the capital of the New Kingdom, and estimates on population run as
high as I million. Thebes was the city suffering for Akhenaten’s attempts to force a monotheistic religion on the people of the Nile, when Thebes, the centre of Amen worship, seized being the capital. But Akhenaten never succeeded, and at his death power returned to Thebes.

 

Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple was started to be constructed around 1400 BCE by Pharaoh Amenophis 3, who also depicted on the two Colossi of Memnon. Ramses 2 added large parts to the temple more than 100 years later. The fact that the Temple of Luxor only has two major construction periods has contributed to a more coherent style and layout than what was the case with the Temple of Amun at Karnak. The Temple of Luxor was dedicated to the Theban Triad, the three gods Amun-Min, Mut and Khonsu (the two latter had their respective temples at Karnak). MutwasAmun-Min’s wife and Khonsu their son. The temples at Karnak and the Temple of Luxor were connected by an impressive avenue, flanked with grand sphinxes on both sides. The entire avenue was more than 3km long, and must have had more than 2000 sphinxes all together.

 

Karnak Temples
Although most people coming out to Karnak only visit the Temple of Amun, actually believing that it is named Karnak Temple, there is more here. There are 3 main temple enclosures, with the temples of Mut and the Precinct of Mont in addition to Amun’s. Inside the Precinct of Amun are several more temples.
For the modern day visitor, it is clearly the Temple of Amun which deserves most of the attention. But if you have time and interest a few of the others are definitely interesting. The best among the lot is the Temple of Khonsu. while the Temple of Ramses 3 is usually visited as was it a part of the Temple of Amun.
Interesting also are th The Jubilee Temple o Opet, next to the Tern Khonsu. The 1st Pyle almost at the centre, temple structures yet walk over to the temple the beginning of the A of the Temple of Khor According to reports o in the building process gods. The father Amun.

Interesting also are the Chapels of the Hearing Ear, laid out along the same axis as the Temple of Amun, The Jubilee Temple of Amenophis 2 beyond the 9th Pylon is only of limited interest, while the Temple of Opet next to the Temple of Khonsu, is closed. Temple of Amun as seen from the roof of the Temple of Khonsu. The 1st Pylon to the far left, then the Temple of Ramses3 followed b the Great Hypostyle Hall almost at the centre, and the taller of the two obelisks is one of Hatshepsut’s. In front lies the rubble temple structures yet not reconstructed. All is numbered, and comes from all over Karnak. Should you wall over to the temples to the south, take a look at the gates, the one in front of the 9th Pylon, marking the beginning of the Avenue of Sphinxes, and the splendid Gateway of Euergetes 2 in front of the Pylon of toe Temple of Khonsu. The construction time for the temples at Karnak is no less than 1,300 years. According to reports of the 12th century BCE were there more than 80,000 workers and slaves engaged in the building process here. Styles vary a lot, but they share the same focal point, the Theban triad of gods, the father Amun-Re, mother Mut and theirson Khonsu.

 

Temple of Amon – Scarab staue
Ancient Egyptian religion often took its inspiration from nature, and the dung beetle would become one the most central symbols. The reason was that it laid its eggs rn a dung ball, which it would push around with its feet even though it was far larger than the beetle itself. The eggs would benefit from the dung, both as protection and from its warmth. With the image of the larva coming out of the dung ball, It htted well as a symbol of rebirth, a central motif in ancient Egyptian religion. From this a rather direct symbol was deducted. The dung ball represented the sun rrsing up into the sky. The giant scarab statue at Karnak represents the god Khepri the reborn sun at dawn


Temple of Amenophis III
If you ever wondered why the Colossi of Memnon rest all alone c-ut in the fields, the 14th century BCE Temple of Amenophis 3 is trio explanation. This temple was gigantic, the largest ever built on the west bank of Thebes. The two colossi were guarding the entrance to the temple enclosure. The core of the temple was 500 meters in from this!
Apart from the two colossi, little remains, although ongoing excavations are at least revealing the layout t and fragments of statues and walls. If you manage to get passed the zealous caretaker you can look at a few pieces of excellent quality for free. The huge stele is clearly the most noteworthy. The main reason for the present condition of the temple is that Merneptah stole everything that could be quarried and carried when he built his mortuary temple nearby. One Interesting fact with the temple: It is one of few lying so low in the terrarn that was flooded by the annual inundation of the Nile. This was clearly intended, and the temple would symbolize the emergence of the world from the primeval waters in the time when
-the World was created
 
Temple of Meittuhotep II

The Temple of Mentuhotep 2 is sadly overlooked. The famous Temple of Hatshepsut lies next to it, larger in scale and in a superior condition. Mentuhotep’s is not open for visitors, but s easy to look at from the second highest platform at Hatshepsut’s.
Mc.ntuhotep 2 is often called Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, He was the 5th ruler of the 11th Dynasty, but managed to unite Egypt in the middle of the 21st century BCE. With him the Middle Kingdom start, and would last 400 years. This was a period of peace, prosperity and great monuments, although never at the levels of the Old or the New Kingdoms.
These are the facts, and shame on you if you do not give the temple your attention the next time you visit Hatshepsut’s temple: The funerary temple of Mentuhotep 2 is about 600 years older, and it represented a revolution in the monumental building in Egypt, sort of being the missing link between the pyramid age and the temple age of Egypt.
It has been suggested that a small pyramid was placed at the centre of the temple, making this the first and last true pyramid and temple in one structure. Only that this time, the pyramid (if it really was there) was not crowning any tomb. The 6 chapels and shaft tombs were placed at the inner sections of the temple, next to the.

 

Valley of the Kings

The first king of the New Kingdom, Ahmose of the 18th Dynasty, built a pyramid-like structure at Abydos, which may or may not have been his original tomb. But all the remaining rulers of the period, except for the so-called Amarna interregnum, had their tombs cut into the rocks of the West Bank at Thebes, specifically at the Valley of the Kings. From Thutmose I in the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period, all the kings, and occasionally high officials of that period, were buried in the secluded wadi, or dry gully, which today is called Valley of the Kings.

The peak known in Arabic as el-Qurn was known in ancient times as dehent, the Horn, and was sacred to the goddesses Hathor and Meretseger, "She who loves Silence."

The Valley, known as Biban el-Muluk, "doorway or gateway of the kings," or, the Wadyein, meaning "the two valleys," is actually composed of two separate branches. The main eastern branch, called ta set aat, or "The Great Place," is where most of the royal tombs are located, and in the larger, westerly branch where only a few tombs were cut.

 
The Valley is hidden from sight, behind the cliffs, which form the backdrop to the temple complex of Deir el-Bahri. Though the most direct route to the valley is a rather steep climb over these cliffs, a much longer, shallower, route existed along the bottom of the valley. This was quite possibly used by funeral processions, pulling funeral equipment by sledges to the rock-cut tombs in the Valley.

 

With its worker’s village later called Deir el-Medina, the valley was called the Place of Truth or Set Ma’at, in ancient times. The workers of Deir el-Medina, who for generations since their community was established, could reach the Valley in about 30 minutes by walking along the steep mountain paths. Today, energetic folks may spend 45 minutes to an hour climbing the paths leading from the north side of the amphitheater of Deir el-Bahri and over the mountain ridge into the Valley of the Kings. Their efforts would be rewarded by splendid views of the Theban region.

 

Tombs in the Valley

The Valley contains 62 tombs to-date, excavated by the Egyptologists and archaeologists from many countries. Not all of the tombs belonged to the king and royal family. Some tombs belonged to privileged nobles and were usually undecorated. Not all the tombs were discovered intact, and some were never completed.
The powerful kings of the 18th and 19th Dynasties kept the tombs under close supervision, but under the weaker rulers of the 20th Dynasty, the tombs were looted, often by the very workers or officials supposedly responsible for their creation and protection. In order to prevent further thefts, the mummies and some of their funerary objects were reburied in two secret caches, not to be re-discovered until the 19th century of the modern era.

Visitors to Egypt have often journeyed into the Valley to view the accessible tombs, including Tut’s, but with the increasing tourism, urban and industrial growth, pollution, and rising groundwater, the tombs have suffered over the decades. Today their access is rotated, so that a smaller number of tombs are open at one time, and even then, many of the decorations and walls can only be seen behind glass.

 

According to Diodorus and Strabo, and Greek and Latin graffiti, two writers of ancient times, a few of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings were known and visited by ancient tourists during Ptolemaic times. Today, only a few of the 62 known tombs are accessible and open to the public. Eleven of the tombs, including Tutankhamun’s, Ramesses VI, Amenhotep II, and Seti I, have been set with electrical lighting.

 

The earliest king buried in the Valley was Thutmose I, the latest, Ramesses XI. In 1922, Howard Carter found the last and possibly most well-known of these tombs, that belonging to the young King Tutankhamun. It lies directly opposite the tomb of Ramesses IX. For all the amount of treasure that had been found in this tomb, the space itself is small, and all but one room was undecorated.

 

Directly across from Tutankhamun’s tomb lies KV5, where work continues to uncover what may be the last resting place of the 150 sons of Ramesses II.

 

Ramesses VI had one of the largest tombs in the valley. His tomb is decorated with scenes from the books of the underworld, and the burial chamber is dominated by the shattered remains of the king’s massive granite sarcophagus.

 

The tomb of Ramesses I, who had a brief reign, is a single small chamber at the end of a steep corridor. It bears some similarity in its decoration with the tomb of Horemheb, while being more elaborate. The tomb of Merneptah, 13th son and successor of Ramesses II, is badly damaged but worth visiting. Psusennes I appropriated one of the sarcophagi for his own burial at Tanis.

 

The tomb of Thutmose III is the earliest-era tomb that can be visited. Its walls are covered with 741 different deities and its ceiling is spangled with stars. The first of the tombs usually accessible is that of Ramesses IX, listed as tomb 6, right next to Tomb 55, now inaccessible.

 

The tomb of Seti I is the largest and most elaborate of the royal tombs. It is often closed to visitors because of rock falls and a lack of ventilation. Giovanni Belzoni, the Patagonian Samson, first entered this tomb in 1817 and brought back the alabaster sarcophagus and canopic chest to England, where they rest in the John Soane Museum. Some large wooden statues of Seti I similar to the black and gilt statues of Tutankhamun now stand in the British Museum.

 

The tomb of Ramesses II was begun for his father, Seti I, but abandoned, because the corridor cut into the adjacent tomb of Amenmesse. Belzoni removed the cartouche-shaped sarcophagus lid and it now rests in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The box sits in the Louvre.

 

Situated at the southern end of another wadi is the tomb of Amenhotep II. In 1898, in its southwest chamber was found one of the caches of royal mummies. This tomb’s seclusion made it a good reburial place for the nine royal mummies placed here in order to protect them from further depredations. Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III, Siptah, and Seti II were among the re-buried. Amenhotep II was found still lying in his own sarcophagus.

 

Along with royal tombs, tombs belonging to officials were found more or less intact. One was Maiherpra, a Nubian prince educated at court with the royal princes, one of which became Amenhotep II. Subsequently Maiherpra held office under that king.


Valley of Queens
The Valley of the Queens holds far more than graves of queens. High officials had been buried here before the first queen. In addition, royal children were buried here next to the queens. There are 80 tombs all together, most are closed.
The tombs were built according to patterns from the Valley of the Kings, but on a smaller scale. The custom began sometime after 1300 BCE.
Most of the tombs are very simple, as well as uninscribed. The general layout is long corridor with antechambers and the burial chamber at the end.
The reason why Valley of the Queens is so high on the Luxor bill is one grave in particular; Nefertaris, and the illustrations to the left and bottom are from this. Nefertari was Ramses 2’s favorite wife, rising up to almost equal status as her husband towards his reign.
The tomb deals with two major issues, Nefertari’s beauty and her religious zeal. There are no battle scenes or depictions of her good, worldly actions.
The quality of the wall paintings and the color splendor rivals the very best found in the Valley of the Kings. But it is all extremely fragile, and 5 year long restoration work was completed in the early 1990’s, where paint and stucco was re¬ad hered to the walls, everything without altering or adding anything.
In order to protect the tomb, only 150 visitors are allowed every day, and all must wear masks and shoe pads.
Other tombs to visit here are the ones of Queen Titi, and the infant princes Amun-Hir-Khopshef, Kheamweset and Seth-Hir-Khopshef. All the princes were sons of Ramses 3.
In the tomb of Amun-Hir-Khopshef are the walls full of images of Ramses 3 leading his son through the funerary rituals? The most part here is the mummified foetus that Amun ¬Khopshef’s mother aborted through the over her son’s death.
The other three tombs are inferior to the ones of Amun-Hir-Khopshef and Nefertari, but good indicators to how the majority of tombs were laid out.

 

Tomb of Sannedjem
Although in almost perfect condition, the tomb of Sannedjem feels tiny, being 6 by 3 meters. When it was discovered in 1886, it was intact, complete with mummy of Sannedjem, his wife and 3 other family members and items — to be used in the afterlife.
What is noted as the finest among the many fine decorations is the scene where Sannedjem is embalmed by the god Anubis (not on any of these photos). The lower picture shows Sannedjem and his wife, lyneferty, presenting their offerings to the gods. The tree is nothing less than the tree of life.


Workers’ Village
Before visiting the Workers Village, I thought to myself, why bother? Why see how to workers lived Egypt is full of temples and royal sites?
But the Workers’ Vililt is ~o fabulously re~ restored. You feel how life was here 300 The people living hs and sculptors workim Kings. It must be the is tne reason for this village of its times.
Of the Workers Village is only available for rs of the inhabitants her abundance of writte everyday life among i are among the details The other attraction visitors coming here:
But the Workers’ Village is a one of a kind-site It is so fabulously reenacted and 50 delicately restored. You feel that you can almost imagine how, if was here 3000 years ago.
The people living here were masons, painters and sculptors working mainly at the Valley of the Kings It must be the skills of the inhabitants that is the reason for this being the best preserved village of its times.
Of the Workers’ Village two main attractions, one is only available for researchers: Since so many of the inhabitants here were literate, there is an abundance of written material telling about everyday life among them. Feuds and quarrels are among the details preserved for eternity.
The other attraction is the main reason for visitors coming here: The tombs. There are 3
open for visitors, and these attract people because of the high quality of the labour and the excellent condition Decorations have many similarities with what you find in the Valley of the Kings, of course, but the scale is different, and the tomb owners are presented in a far more modest mannerthan the kings had ordered.


Tomb of Peshedu
The tomb of Peshedu is one of the largest at the Workers’ Village, with two chambers The most remarkable motif here is the deceased praying under the tree of regeneration (top photo to the left of the door). Right beneath this flows the river of Amuntit which was the place where human souls would be judged. The most beautiful part is at the end wall, depicting pharaoh on a chair, being honored by others, possibly with a small Peshedu under to the left (see picture below).


Ptolemaic Temple

The Ptolemaic temple to the north of the Workers’ Village is more interesting than its small size would indicate The most important fact with the temple is that it was built by the workmen from the royal tombs and great temples, but this time they built it for themselves. Most parts of it resemble the great temples, but many places shortcuts have been chosen, and reliefs are sometimes crude in execution.
Another interesting fact is the outside walls, mainly made from mudbrick. At a distance this structure looks like anything but a temple. Inside the walls, the real temple reveals itself, dramatically smallerthan you would expect.
During Christian times, the temple was converted into a monastery from this the present name comes; Deir el-Medina means Monastery of the Town.

 

Tomb of Ankherha
Reputedly in excellent condition, the tomb of Ankherha is nevertheless the least impressive of the 3 tombs presented here. But it is larger than the tomb of Sannedjem.
The poorer condition of the wall-paintings is due to poorer quality of the limestone rock.
Look out for the full-scale image of Ankherha together with his family which is presenting offerings. In the ceiling are the events of Ankherha’s life listed up.


Tombs of Nobles
The Tombs of the Nobles is a very interesting site on Luxor’s west bank, but often neglected. The reason is of course that no kings or queens had their tomb or temple built here. It is all devoted to persons now only remembered by the most detailed historical works. There are 400 tombs here, of which 7 is of high interest, all presented on the following pages.
But what you can see here is a great change from the almost repetitive images in the temples and the great tombs. The noblemen who had their tombs built here used a different artwork and were concerned with other matters than the royalty. There is quite little of scenes depicting judgment and resurrection, and more imagery of earthly life and its continuation in the afterlife. You will see next to nothing of carved reliefs here. This is not really because of its higher cost, but mainly because of the limestone of the area was too loose and soft.
Moreover, while the royal tombs were closed for good following the funeral, the tombs of the nobles often served as family shrines to which often lavish rituals were performed. On several occasions were they used over again by family members. But the fact that theses tombs were not sealed, many of them have deteriorated over time.
Visitors who have already been to Beni Hassan, with its 300-600 years older tombs, should note the increased complexity in the layout. Several of the tombs at Luxor have a transverse hall before entering the burial shrine. In the case of Rekhmire a narrow hall, in the case of Ramose a large columned hall.
Although the tomb structures can easily be accessed, the graves were put at the bottom of deep shafts. In most cases these are inaccessible.

 

Ramose
Ramose Ramose was the vizier and governor of thebes in the 14th century, in the times of the Akfhenaten Akhenaten introduced new religious cor~Pts for all of Egypt, revering only one god, 0vcving the loss of importance for Thebes. The drar atic changes in religious ideas are all reflected in the decorations inside Ramose’s tomb. There are decc~~ti0n5 according to both the old and the new religious orientations All in all the decorations in Ramose’s tomb are of excellent quality.
AnoA1~r interesting aspect with Ramose’s tomb is that it has inner courtyard of about 40 m2, situated right before the actual burial chamber. On the left wall of court’, srd facing the burial chamber are reliefs before the religious change, hence you can see AmeloPhis 4 before changing his name into Akhenaten, together with the goddess of truth Maat. On the right wall the transition has taken place, and here are images of Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti below the sun rays of Aten. Ramose is seen right below receiving a golden chain as a gift.

 

Sennofer
Sennofer was the mayor of Thebes in the 15th century BCE, during the reign of Amenophis 2 This is a very colorful tomb, with large parts in excellent condition. Sennofer’s tomb is often called the “Tomb of Vines”, from the ceing which is full of images of grapes and vines. But as with most other tombs towards the end, the wall paintings shift from scenes from everyday life into matters concerning death and the afterlife. Sennofer’s funerary procession his voyage to Abydos and his unification with Anubis.


Userhat
Userhat was a royal scribe in the 15th century BCE during the reign of Amerphis 2. There are a couple of uncommon qualities to his tomb. It has an usual pink tone and it is even today illuminated by a sun reflecting mirror.
During the time of construction, the tombs were lit by polished metal p ~es that reflected the sun up to 100 meters down into the mountain. Torches could only seldom be used, as they often g’.~ ited too much heat. As with the other tombs here, the wais are full of scenes from everyday life. Userhat’s contain rn ages of wine-making, harvesting and even shaving. The funerary scenes were greatly damaged by Christian hermits Also look out for the headless statue of Userhat’s wife.

 

Nakht
Nakht In ancient Egypt was astronomy considered to be a science; therefore it is not surprising that one of the finest tombs here belongs to a royal astronomer. Nakht was the future teller of Tuthmosis4 in the 15h century, as well as the overseer of vineyards.
Only one part of the tomb is decorated, the transverse antechamber. But the quality and the variations are great, as seen on the photos. There is a detailed harvest scene, as well a scene where a blind harpist plays for friends of Nakht.

 

Khaemhat
Khaemhatwas a royal scribe and inspector of granaries living around 1400 BCE, acting during the reign ofAmenophis 3. His tomb used a forecourt that was also used by two other tombs. There are fewer impressive wall paintings here than in the other open tombs, but some nice ones can be found in the transverse antechamber. What still make this a very interesting tomb to visit are the statues, most with heads. In the antechamber is the only divine statue, Imhotep, who is positioned next to Khaemhat. In the burial chamber are 4 niches containing statues of Khaemhat and his family.

 

Menna
Khaemhat was a royal scribe and inspector of granaries living around 1400 BCE, acting during the
reign of Amenophis 3. His tomb used a forecourt that was also used by two other tombs. There are fewer impressive wall paintings here than in the other open tombs, but some nice ones can be found in the transverse antechamber. What still make this a very interesting tomb to visit are the statues, most with heads. In the antechamber is the only divine statue, imhotep, who is positioned next to Khaemhat. In the burial chamber are 4 niches containing statues of Khaemhat and his family.

 

Asasif Tombs
The Asasif Tombs lies next to the entrance to the Temple of Hatshepsut, and sees few visitors. Hence, they may not be open should you wish the explore. These tombs were built for dignitaries during the 25th and 26th Dynasties, a period when Egypt was first ruled by Nubian kings, then by kings of Tanis.
The layout of the tombs is not uncommon, a experior entrance than the inner tomb with wall-decorations, Much has survived badly, but there are still plenty of fine reliefs and paintings.

 

Ramesseum
The Ramesseum was constructed to be the mortuary temple of Ramses 2. While originally laid out on a grand scale, one error done concerning its eternal qualities. It was built on a field that inundated by the Nile’s flooding once a year. By the time construction, the nearby temple of Seti 1 had already started to apart.
The layout is quite similar to other temples. It faces the Nile, and has pylons, courts, hypostyle halls and closed and gloomy sanctuaries. There is however one change from the general pattern, with the incorporation of the temple of Tuya, Ramses’ mother.

Avenue of Sphinxes
The temples at Karnak and the Temple of Luxor were connected by an impressive avenue, flanked with grand sphinxes ‘Ii sides. The entire avenue was more than 3 km long, and ‘age had more than 2000 sphinxes all together. e sphinxes do not belong to the original cult structure of was built under King Nectanebo 1 in the 4th century, about 1 000 years after the temples it connects.

 

Luxor Museum
The Luxor Museum is a very small museum, but quite delightful, with first class objects and I everything with full explanation in English. Visitors to the National Museum in Cairo will know how to appreciate this. The collection is mainly from local temples and the Theban Necropolis. The emphasis is on statues of excellent quality and often in perfect condition. Tuthmosis 3 and Amenophis 3 are represented several times. The 1st floor contains a nice collection from Tutankhamun’s tomb, including his funerary bed, model boats and a box of canopic jars. Slightly hard to appreciate is the decorations from the 9th pylon at the Temple of Amun at Karnak, due to far too little light. But it is really grand, and even if no piece is complete, it gives a good indication to how the temples must have looked back when they were complete. Tickets to the museum are quite expensive compared to other sights, at E~30 (E~1 5 for students). The museum closes at 13.00.

 

Medinet Habu
The Medinet Habu is the last great architectural work of the pharaonic period. Not long after Ramses 3 had it built in the 12th century BCE, was Egypt divided.
The Arabic name “Medinet Habu” is really not very good, completely unrelated to the original structure. “ Mortuary Temple of Ramses 3” would have been correct. But locals believe that the place has a special magical significance.
The great model for Ramses 3’s temple was the Ramesseum.
This lead to decorations where Ramses 3 wages war against Ramses 2’s enemies, enemies that since long were far from the military boundaries of his Egypt.


Open Area Museum
The open Air Museum contains a collection of smaller shrines and temples which mainly illustrates how diverse the Karnak area was, and how many options there must ha, en for the devout. The handful of shrines are in fair to e lent condition, Perhaps the most attractive to many is the red  Chapel of Hatshepsut, which I found impossible to transform into a proper photo. It is interesting from the fact every stone contains an individual design, instead of part of a larger design. This has made it difficult
struct the chapel. The gem of the collection is SJ considered to be the White Chapel built by ~es ‘s 1 of the 12th Dynasty, with its excellent bas-reliefs. It was not open for entry upon last visit
..C ~part from the shrines, the Open Air Museum contains a rather badly presented collection of
‘siS oieces and just a few complete statues. These are mainly Sekhmet statues from the Temple of a~ my seem to have been made by the same people carving out the hundreds of Sekhmet statues for the temple of Mut.

 

Colossi of Memnon
The two lonely statues out on the plains of Luxor’s west bank are not of Memnon, but of Amenophis 3 of the 15th century BCE. And they used to belong to his huge mortuary temple, standing in front of its pylons. But only 150 years ordered pharaoh Merneptah that stones should be taken from Amenophis’ temple, and used for his own mortuary temple just a few hundred meters north. The reason why he could do this, is possibly because large parts of it was built from mud-brick, which by then had been largely destroyed by the flooding of the Nile. But the statues rise to fame came with their partial destruction of an earthquake in 27 BCE. The northern statue was cleaved to the waist, resulting in holes that in early mornings would emit a hooting sound. Soon there was a legend to explain this, telling that the statues were of Memnon, an Ethiopian king and son of the goddess Eos, who had been slain by Achilles during the Trojan War. The sound was Memnon greeting his mother Eos, who responded by weeping over the tragic death of her son. The colossi became an enormous attraction in antiquity, attracting tourists from all around the Mediterranean Sea. The crowds would spend the night sleeping in front of the statues in order to be woken up by Memnon’s musical whispering. Exactly what created the sound is not clear. The most common explanation is that dew was suddenly heated up by the rising sun, creating damp that would escape through the narrow holes.


Mosque of Abu El Haggag
Although it looks like a cancer tumor, the Mosque of Abu 1-Haggag must be seen as more than just a coincidental intruder of the Luxor Temple.
Firstly, as the mosque was built, large parts of the temple was covered with earth. Secondly, it is not unlikely to recreate a religious kinship between the ancient Egyptian cult place and the local version of popular Islam. At least, when the temple was unearthed in the late 19th century, locals resisted fiercly any attempt to tear down the mosque. For them, the geographical position was important, and a new mosque also dedicated to Abu 1-Haggag has never become very popular.
Abu 1-Haggag was a Sufi shaykh, born in Baghdad, but he spent the latter half of his 90 years in Luxor. He died here in 1243, but it is believed that the minaret is older than him, dating back to the 11th century. The mosque itself has been rebuilt many times and completely in the 19th century.
Abu 1-Haggag is Luxor’s main saint, and his mosque is the core of local religious activities. Locals believe that his mosque is a particularly important religious spot, full of baraka, divine blessing.