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JUNE 29

Egypt Travel Guide

Luxor, Temple of Luxor




Egypt Monuments

The modern city of Luxor is the site of the famous townof Thebes, (Waset in ancient Egyptian) the town 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. Several festivals were celebrated in Thebes. The Temple was the center of the most important one. Built largely by Ramesses II and Amenhotep III, was building for rituals of the festival. The festival itself was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine office.

Fomerly 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.

This 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.

On the 18th Dynasty the festival lasted 11 days, but had grown to 27 days by the reign of Ramesses III in the 20th Dynasty. At that time the festival included the distribution of over 11,000 loaves of bread, 85 cakes and 385 jars of beer. The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the temple of Luxor.

By the late 18th Dynasty the journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River. Also, each goddess or god was carried in a separate barge that was towed by smaller boats. Large crowds consisting of musicians, soldiers, dancers and high ranking officials accompanied the barge by walking along the banks of the river. While in the festival the people were allowed to ask favors of the statues of the kings or to the images of the gods that were on the barges. Once at the temple, the king and his priests entered the back chambers.

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