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Travel: Luxor, Temples and Tombs Egypt, Jan 26/2023

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Continuation of a trip which started on :

Jan. 23 (part 1)

Jan. 24 (part 2)

Jan. 25 (part 3) 

Waking up at the lovely Stienberger Resort Achti Luxor - a conveniently located hotel, right by the East bank of the Nile, revealing, enchanting views. however it operated a bit by a

"Faulty Towers" mode (British TV serie)

Still a bit sleepy, from the previous late night's landing in Luxor, the group was not sure what "tsunami had hit" it, first thing in the morning, prior to departing for the busy day's excursions.

Ali - the third Egyptian guide, who was introduced, greeted the group in his projected most friendly smiley demeanor, yet,with a blasting voice, which shut ear-piercing arrows infused with dynamite energy at us .

Our Israeli guide - Tzvi, had sworn that Ali is the best informed , most efficient, ,greatly committed and well networked "force of nature" guide, in the entire of Egypt.,and that we were lucky to have had him with us.

Tzvi, further added, that he conditioned his guidance of our group, on having

Ali by his side, throughout the rest of the trip..

Zvi's observations and promises about Ali 's logistic problem solving competence, indeed, were on the spot, However Ali's limited English proficiency, and roaring vocalic expressions, eclipsed his other benefits, and the experience of having him around, for the next few days. required a polite restrain and and abundance of containment,

Luxor (Palaces./castles city)

The modern city in Upper (southern) Egypt includes the capital site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

during the New Kingdom, (1570-1069) .and the glorious city of the main deity :

Amun, later fused with the sun God Amun-Ra, who was worshiped together with his wife, the mother goddess Mut, and their son Khonsu, the God of the moon.

Amon and the so-called Hermopolitan Ogdoad- by Egyptian mythology, was a group of eight devine deities that participated in the act of creating the world, These beings worshiped in Hermopolis. are mostly seen as humans with the heads of animals, or just depicted as snakes and frogs

The city contains the ruins of the Egyptian temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor standing within the modern city and making it the "world's greatest open-air museum",

Across the River Nile, on the West bank are the monuments, temples and tombs of Theban Necropolis, which includes the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. and that of the novels.

Luxor which is among the oldest inhabited cities in the world, and which its current population consist of about half a million, .attracts, annually, to its fascinating ancient monuments, double the number of visitors , from all around the world, who contribute to this modern but peripheral city's economy, greatly.

Mutt with the Key pf life

Khonsu, their child God of the moon.

Amon -Ra

Morning Boat Ride to the West Side of the Nile

Arriving across the Nile at the West Bank

Driving by the Cultivated Fields

Sugarcane Fields

Sugar cane farming, has been cultivated in Egypt since 641 AD and is a source of raw material to various agro-based industries. It.made Egypt the 4th large producer in the world

Sugarcane is cultivated mainly in upper and to some extent in Middle Egypt, where climatic con- ditions and soils are conducive to high productivity.

First Stop:

Colossi of Memnon

Tween massive Sand Stone Statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, at the front of the ruined Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III,

Amenhotep III, also known as "Amenhotep the Great" was the 9th pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. who ruled in the 14th BC for 38 years after his father Thutmose IV died. and the name of his principal wife Tiye.

His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and splendor, when Egypt reached the peak of its artistic and international power. He wasted many of the resources his father accumulated

Amenhotep III was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV, (1353- 1536BC)

who later changed his name to Akhenaten who is noted for abandoning Egypt's traditional polytheism and introducing Atenism, (worship centered around the monetary Aten)

His principal wife was Nefertiti,

Son -Amenhotep IV - Akhenaten

Nefretiti wife of Akhenaten

The colossal statues, present Amenhotep III as the ruler Pharaoh in a seated royal position, (one out of 3 artistic formal positions) with hands resting on the knees,

The statues which stood since 1350 BC, at the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, the largest temple in the Theban Necropol .were identified in Greek time, as colossus of "Memnon" a name given to the entire Theban Necropolis as the Memnonium. and were well known to ancient Greeks and Romans,

Quine Tiye

The 2 shorter figures carved into the front throne alongside the statue's legs: are Amenhotep III wife Tiye

(mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun.) and mother Mutemwiya.

The side panels depict the god of the annual flooding of the Nile - god Hapi.

"Lord of the Fish and Birds of the Marshes", An androgynous double figure with blue[or green skin, representing water, and a prominent belly, large drooping breast exposed,, wearing a loincloth and ceremonial false beard, symbolizing fertility, whose depositing of the flood rich silt (fertile soil) on the river's banks, nourished the growth and harvest. of the Egyptians crop.

God Hapi

This God artistic depiction also communicates the ruling knot tied between upper Egypt (lotus flower) and the lower one (papyrus)

Soon after its construction the temple was destroyed by an earthquake, around 1200 BC, which left only the 2 huge colossi at the entrance still standing,. more was further destroyed by an earthquake in 27 BC, after which the statues were partly reconstructed by the Roman authorities. Nile flooding further damaged the complex and buried structurs that melted the sand bricks and covered it by silt. 1000 Granite statues were unearthed with the digging of an agricultural field, only few years ago.

The 3 artistic Regal positions of statues which represent ancient Egypt Royal authority

Royal Standing Royal Sitting Osiris -God like Upright

Left leg in front&short skirt Hands on knees Feet together,&hands crossed Symbols of a pharaoh

Hedjet Crown or White Crown ,symbol of Upper Egypt. (South Nile and Lotus flower)

Desheret Crown or Red Crown symbol of Lower Egypt.(North Nile and Papyrus Flower)

Crown Sejemty or Double Crown, symbol of unified Egypt, is a superposition of the previous crowns

Second Stop:

Medinet Habu - Temple of Ramesses III/ Temple of Amun

The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III. is an archaeological complex quite well preserved,situated near the foot of the Theban Hills of the Niles West side which was built by Ramesses III.

It was the last of the great funerary structures to be built in Western Thebes and is currently the best-preserved monument on the west bank.

3 gates lead to the temple area, two West and one East, which is the best-preserved gate.

Built in an orthodox design, modeled on the predecessor - Ramses II temple, it is surrounded by a massive mudbrick defensive enclosure, which probably also served a fortified palace.structure.

Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the 20 Dynasty (1189 - 1077 BC) the son of Setnakhte and Tiy-Merenes ,who reigned about 31 years ( 1186–1155 BC) and is considered to be the last great monarch of the New Kingdom.

The decline of Egyptian political, economic power, also in the cultural sphere, are linked to a series of invasions and internal economic problems. Yet, his successful defense, and strong military strategies manged to slow down the decline,and gained him the title of "warrior Pharaoh"

He was assassinated in an Harem conspiracy led by his secondary wife Tiye and her eldest son Pentawer, that caused a succession crisis, further accelerating the decline of old Egypt His grave is in the Valley of the Dead

The original entrance through a fortified gate-house, a migdol decorative towers

The temple's fame ,aside of its size and architectural and artistic importance, is best known as the source of inscribed reliefs, depicting the advent and defeat of the

Sea Peoples - the invaders, who had caused destruction in other civilizations and empires Ramesses III was able to save Egypt from collapsing at the time when many other empires fell during the Late Bronze Age;. However, the damage of the invasions took a toll on Egypt.

The"photo still" of a naval battle depicted for the first time, describe a. battle against the Philistines, the Sea People, whose invasion waves are noted during 1200 -1050 BC .There is hieroglyphic testimony in the temple of other sea enemies, mentioned are the Suceres- Sicilian, people from Sardina in addition to Philistines

The reliefs also shows scenes and texts illustrating the military victories of Ramses III, and battle scenes depicting the king’s wars in Syria,

Also an oxen hunt. depicts Ramesses III, leading his chariot and hunting wild oxen,. as well as scenes of rituals performed in celebrated festivals.

The first pylon - a monumental temple gate of 2 pyramidal towers leads, into an open courtyard, lined with colossal statues of Ramesses III as Osiris on one side, and uncarved columns on the other.

The second pylon leads into a peristyle hall, again featuring columns of Ramses III. leading up a ramp that leads through a columned portico to the third pylon and then into the large hypostyle hall which has lost its roof

Inside the temple, Ilan with a local Egyptian posing for a "Pharaohonic couple"

inside the enclosure, to the south, are chapels of Amenirdis I, Shepenupet II and Nitiqret, all of whom had the title of Divine Adoratrice of Amun.

The temple site was in modern times surrounded by local villagers slum houses, which were cleaned-up and relocated. Initial excavation of the temple took place sporadically between 1859 and 1899

Lunch at a local authentic restaurant across of the entrance to Ramesses III Temple

More excavated ruins of the Temple Complex

On the way to the Valley of the Nobels

Sheikh Abd el-Qurna – part of the Theban Necropolis, at the archaeological area of Deir el-Bahari, - a complex of mortuary temples and tombs.

When it became apparent that Pyramids' tombs, are easily spotted, are costly and flag- out the buried riches to robbers and looters, tombs of nobles and royals, where dug deep, at remote hillsides,sealed and hidden from the naked eye..

Located in this hillside up to date about 210 decorated tomb complexes, were found, more than half of which date to the 18th dynasty, with the remainder mainly dating from the 19th and early 20th dynasty.. In antiquity there were probably about twice this number, half of which have been lost or destroyed.. Approximately 50 tombs remain which were decorated during the reigns of Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III

Third stop - Tombs of the Nobles- Burial site

Tomb of Ramose - the kings Vizier

TT55 located at the foot of the hill

Ramose - born into an influential family. (his father was the mayor of Memphis Heby) was the highest official noble served as a Vizier during the 18th Dynasty under both Amenhotep III and Akhenaten - the heretic king

He was in office in the last decade of Amenhotep's III reign and at the beginning of the reign of the latter king.

Ramose and his wife Merit-Ptah, relief from the tomb

There are representations of Akhenaton in the tomb itself

The royal couple are depicted without one of their daughters and the absence suggests that the scenes were created during the first years of Akhenaten's reign.

The tomb importance lies in its documentation of the funerary changes from Amenhotep III to Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten and his religious revolution with the sole Sun God

which its rays nourish life and

royal power.

The Royal revolution meant to circumvent the priesthood dominance.

and their economic power

The suppression of the god Amun under Akhenaten led to damage to the tomb.

The tomb was unfinished, probably because Romose started construction on a new one at Amarna when the new king -Akhenaten. moved the capital to his new city.

The unfinished tomb has a main room originally containing 32 columns and a corridor with 8 columns. and is notable for the high quality delicate decorations in both the traditional and Amarna styles. The 2 cultural religious traditions ignited also artistic revolution .

The actual burial chamber is entered via a steeply sloping corridor.

The tomb, was featured in the first episode of the 2005 BBC documentary series How Art Made the World,

Funerary Procession

lamenting women with arms stretched to heavens morn the loss of Ramose..

Servants carrying the burial riches of the deceased

Tomb of Menna (TT 69)

One of the best preserved burial place of the official Menna, whose titles included ‘Overseer of Fields of Amun’, and ‘Overseer of Fields of the Lord of the Two Lands’.

Entrance to the tomb

Based on the decorative style found at the tomb,typical 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom, over 3,000 years ago, either in the reign of Thutmosis IV. or during the reign of Amenhotep when worship of

the temple of Amun-Re was practiced

Outer courtyard, a T-shaped rock cut chapel, and a subterranean burial chamber is the typical format, an east–west alignment placed the tomb within the solar cycle, associating the shrine with the setting sun, and thus death and the realm of the dead, and the entrance with the sunrise, and with rebirth and life..

Menna and his wife Henuttawy before Osiris, who is seated in a kiosk

The decoration focuses on the life of the tomb owner, A well preserved scene of agricultural production, where Menna is shown a number of times on both seated and standing, overseeing, the various stages of grain production, including plowing, harvesting, and winnowing, fishing and fowling, The scene emphasize the importance of Menna's various roles within the administration of royal and temple agriculture..

Other scenes in l show Menna and his wife, Henuttawy, seated before piles of offerings. Offering scenes often include images of offering bearers bringing food, drink, and bouquets to the tomb owner and his wife, .banqueting and refer to the Valley Festival,

Funerary boat sailing Gifts to the Gods

Agricultural scene

The Tomb of Nakht TT52 Nakht, the king's official held the position of a scribe and astronomer of Amun, probably during the reign of Thutmose IV (1401 - 1391 or 1397 – 1388 BC) during the Eighteenth Dynasty, the first dynasty of the New Kingdom.

The tomb architecture and decoration conforms to the standard design of common non-royal Theban tombs of the New Kingdom in depicting scenes commonly found at tombs of the era., Scenes of Nakht and his wife, Tawy, making offerings to Ra, banquet scene. service scenes of the dead in their afterlife, processions and making or

bringing offerings to images of the deceased

The Theban life reflected in a tomb of the era, is a clear mirror of existence…of the homesteads around it where the nature-loving Egyptian dwell

Nakht embraced by his wife, Tawy,

The tomb which was found in 1889 by explorers from Europe after its discovery by the local people at Qurna villag and which is split into two chambers, infers that the Egyptian of the era, regarded their death in two parts, their afterlife and the transition phase between death and the afterlife,

Agriculture , hunting and fishing scenes

Back to the Hotel at the end of the day

Stop at the Alabaster Art Store

To be Continued....


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