Category: Luxor Attractions

valley of the Nobles

Valley of the Nobles

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valley of the Nobles is located on the West bank of Luxor, and extends over a huge surface area to the South of the Kings Valley .

The Valley of the Nobles site includes nearly 500 tombs of Theban nobles and high officials.

While the royal tombs were hidden away in an isolated valley, the Tombs of the Nobles were dug in the mountain overlooking the river Nile

, as they wouldn’t have contained even a fraction of the royal treasure.

With so many wondrous tombs in the area, it is advisable to visit certain key places of interest.

Valley of the Nobles

Tomb of Sennefer:

One of these impressive tombs must be that of Sennefer.

As mayor of Thebes, and the overseer of the gardens of Amun during the reign of Amenhotep II (1427 to 1400 BC.),

his tomb is one of the most beautiful and best preserved burial chambers in the area.

The walls and the ceilings of the tomb contain many colored scenes of Sennefer with his family members and many other scenes of daily life.

Tomb of Rekhmire:

Another fine example of ancient burial chambers to be seen amongst the tombs at the Valley of the Nobles is the tomb of Rekhmire.

Rekhmire was a Vizier, and a great landowner during the period of Tuthomose III of the 18th dynasty.

Scenes in his tomb represent him collecting taxes from the people and receiving gifts from foreign ambassadors that visited Egypt.

Tomb of Nakht:

Nakht visiting fishermen, Tomb of NakhtNakht and wife Taui, Tomb of Nakht, Valley of the NoblesPapyrus stem columns holding up Grapevine arbor – Tomb of Nakht
The tomb of Nakht is another beautiful site to visit.

Nakht served as an astronomer and a priest in the reign of Thutmose IV who belonged to the 18th dynasty.

His tomb is decorated with farming and fishing scenes, perhaps due to a love of the river.

Tomb of Ramose:

The tomb of Ramose has particular significance. Ramose was the governor of Thebes before, during,

and after the reign of Akhenaton and the imposition of a new religious doctrine.

The tomb therefore displays the transition between ideologies in its decoration.

Tomb of Menna:

The tomb of Menna is another well preserved example in the tombs of the nobles. Menna was an inspector of estates in the new kingdom and

his tomb contains colorful scenes of him and his wife presenting offerings to the gods.

Others:

There are other tombs that are worth visiting on a trip to the Valley of the Nobles, like those of Khonsu, Benia, and the tomb of Userhat.

All these tombs contain fascinating colors and scenes of the life of the new kingdom.

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Deir el-Medina

Deir el-Medina

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Deir el-Medina is the modern Arabic name for the worker’s village (now an archaeological site)

which was home to the artisans and craftsmen of Thebes

who built and decorated the royal tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

The ancient inhabitants called the village Pa Demi (“the village”)

but it was referredto in official correspondence as Set-Ma’at (“The Place of Truth”)

because the workers there were thought to be inspired by the gods in creating the eternal homes of the deceased kings and their families.

Early in the Christian era the village, then deserted,

was occupied by monks who took over the Temple of Hathor for use as a cloister.

The temple was referred to as Deir el-Medina (“Monastery of the Town”) and this name finally came to be applied to the entire site.

Unlike most villages in ancient Egypt

which grew up organically from small settlements, Deir el-Medina was a planned community.

It was founded by Amenhotep I (c.1541-1520 BCE) specifically to house workers on royal tombs because tomb desecration and robbery had become a serious concern by his time.

It was decided that the royalty of Egypt would no longer advertise their final resting places with large monuments but, instead, would be buried in a less accessible area in tombs cut into the cliff walls.

These areas would become the necropolises now known as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens

and those who lived in the village were known as “Servants in the Place of Truth” for their important role

in creating eternal homes and also remaining discreet regarding tomb contents and location.

DEIR EL-MEDINA IS AMONG THE MOST IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN EGYPT

BECAUSE OF THE WEALTH OF INFORMATION

IT PROVIDES ON THE DAILY LIFE OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED THERE.

Deir el-Medina

Deir el-Medina is among the most important archaeological sites in Egypt

because of the wealth of information it provides on the daily life of the people who lived there.

Serious excavation at the site was begun in 1905 CE by the Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli

and furthered by a number of others throughout the 20th century CE with some of the most extensive work done by French

archaeologist Bernard Bruyere between 1922-1940 CE.

At the same time Howard Carter was bringing the treasures of the royalty to light from Tutankhamun’s tomb,

Bruyere was uncovering the lives of the working people who would have created that final resting place.

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Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon

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The Colossi of Memnon (also known as el-Colossat or el-Salamat)

are two monumental statues representing Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt.

They are located west of the modern city of Luxor and face east looking toward the Nile River.

The statues depict the seated king on a throne ornamented with imagery of his mother, his wife, the god Hapy,

and other symbolic engravings.

The figures rise 60 ft (18 meters) high and weigh 720 tons each;

both carved from single blocks of sandstone.

 

They were constructed as guardians for Amenhotep III’s mortuary complex which once stood behind them.

Earthquakes, floods, and the ancient practice of using older monuments and buildings as resource material

for new structures all contributed to the disappearance of the enormous complex.

Little of it remains today except for the two colossal statues which once stood at its gates.

 

Colossi of Memnon

Their name comes from the Greek hero Memnon who fell at Troy.

Memnon was an Ethiopian king who joined the battle on the side of the Trojans against the Greeks

and was killed by the Greek champion Achilles.

Memnon’s courage and skill in battle, however,

elevated him to the status of a hero among the Greeks.

Greek tourists, seeing the impressive statues,

associated them with the legend of Memnon instead of Amenhotep III

and this link was also suggested by the 3rd century

BCE Egyptian historian Manetho who claimed Memnon and Amenhotep III were the same person.

 

THE SITE BECAME LEGENDARY FOR DIVINATION

AFTER ONE OF THE STATUES BEGAN MAKING NOISES INTERPRETED AS ORACLES.

The Greek writers referred to the entire complex regularly as the Memnonium and the site became legendary for divination

after one of the statues began making noises interpreted as oracles.

From ancient times to the present the Colossi have been a popular tourist attraction and in the present day one

can see graffiti inscribed on the base from visitors thousands of years ago.

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Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut

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the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) at Deir el-Bahri stands out as one of the most impressive.
The building was modeled after the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II (c. 2061-2010 BCE),

the great Theban prince who founded the 11th Dynasty and initiated the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2040-1782 BCE).

it was the most striking tomb complex raised in Upper Egypt and the most elaborate created since the Old Kingdom.

Queen Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut

, an admirer of Mentuhotep II’s temple had her own designed to mirror it but on a much grander scale and,

just in case anyone should miss the comparison, ordered it built right next to the older temple.

Hatshepsut was always keenly aware of ways in which to elevate her public image and immortalize her name; the mortuary temple achieved both ends.

It would be an homage to the ‘second Menes’ but, more importantly, link Hatshepsut to the grandeur of the past while,

at the same time, surpassing previous monumental works in every respect. As a woman in a traditionally male position of power,

Hatshepsut understood she needed to establish her authority

and the legitimacy of her reign in much more obvious ways that her predecessors and the scale and elegance of her temple is evidence of this.

Hatshepsut

was the daughter of Thutmose I (1520-1492 BCE) by his Great Wife Ahmose. Thutmose I also fathered Thutmose II (1492-1479 BCE) by his secondary wife Mutnofret.

In keeping with Egyptian royal tradition, Thutmose II was married to Hatshepsut at some point before she was 20 years old. During this same time,

Hatshepsut was elevated to the position of God’s Wife of Amun, the highest honor a woman

could attain in Egypt after the position of queen and one which would become increasingly political and important.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter, Neferu-Ra, while Thutmose II fathered a son with his lesser wife Isis.

This son was Thutmose III (1458-1425 BCE) who was named his father’s successor. Thutmose II died while Thutmose III was still a child

and so Hatshepsut became regent, controlling the affairs of state until he came of age. In the seventh year of her regency, though, she broke with tradition and had herself crowned pharaoh of Egypt.

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luxor temple

Luxor Temple

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Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple

The temple was built by Amenhotep III (1390-52 BC) but completed by Tutankhamun (1336-27 BC) and Horemheb (1323-1295 BC) and then added to by Rameses II (1279-13 BC).

Toward the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great (332-305 BC).

Thutmose III planned his campaigns, Akhenaten first contemplated the nature of god, and Rameses II set out his ambitious building program.

Only Memphis could compare in size and splendor

The temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day.

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.

Luxor Temple Egypt

Then for thousands of years, the temple was buried beneath the streets and houses of Luxor.

Eventually the mosque of Sufi Shaykh Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj was built over it.

This mosque was carefully preserved when the temple was uncovered and forms an integral part of the site today.

Before the building works by Rameses II the northern end of the court was originally the entrance to the temple.

It was an enclosed colonnade of seven pairs of 52-foot (16m) high open-flower papyrus columns. It was begun by Amenhotep III .

Completed by Tutankhamun and still support its huge architrave blocks.

The Court leads into a Hypostyle Hall, which has thirty-two columns. At the rear of the hall are four small rooms and an antechamber leading to the birth room, the chapel of Alexander the Great, and the sanctuary.

Although the mud-brick houses and palaces of Thebes have disappeared, its stone temples have survived.

The most beautiful of these is the temple of Luxor.

It is close to the Nile and laid out parallel to the riverbank.

 

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Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

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Karnak Temple is actually a vast temple city, with many of its structures dating back 4,000 years.

It is today the largest remaining religious site of the ancient world.

The temple complex is conveniently located near to the modern day town of El-Karnak, just 2.5 km from Luxor.

The site is massive, to the point where some people feel it’s necessary to spend at least one full day exploring the area.

While the oldest structures date back to around 4,000 years ago, most are considerably younger,

keeping in mind that the city of temples formed over a period of 2,000 years.

Originally, it was actually also part of Thebes, the ancient Egyptian capital. Today, it is also a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Despite the fact that it is a rather derelict site,

its sheer size and unbelievable number of structures make it one of the most visited attractions in the country.

Karnak Temple

All in all, the complex covers an area of roughly 200 acres,

of which 61 acres are occupied by the sacred enclosure of Amun.

Put another way, one could fit approximately 10 average sized cathedrals into the enclosure of Amun.

to a great extent, one could say that the temple city of Karnak was the official home of the god Amun.

It was only after the 12th dynasty however that Amun rose up to become the God of all gods.

To better understand how this occurred, one needs to keep in mind that back in those ancient times,

when battles were fought, they were essentially battles between the various gods.

When two opposing forces clashed, the god of the victorious army became evermore powerful.

King Thutmose III won many battles under the watchful eye of Amun,

and this is essentially how Amun eventually went on to become the supreme god.

Unlike many other Egyptian gods,

not much is actually known about Amun other that he was often referred to as “Vizier Of The Poor”.

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dendera temple

Dendera temple

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Dendera temple

It is located 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) southeast of Dandara, Egypt. It is one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt.

The area was used as the sixth area of ​​Upper Egypt, south of Abidos.

Dandara was a site for mausoleums or shrines from the beginning of ancient Egypt.

The large building in the complex is the main temple, the temple of Hathor.

The temple was modified on the same site starting from the Central Kingdom,

is a Greek Roman temple built on the ruins of one ancient Egyptian.

It lasted until the time of the Roman emperor. Where the current structure was built in the late Ptolemaic period.

The temple, dedicated to Hathor, is one of the best preserved temples throughout Egypt.

The ceiling is still adorned with the Egyptian zodiac signs, the mythical creatures of life.

The only temple you can reach the top of the ceiling and down below the earth to its caches.
It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the goddess of love, play, dance and music in ancient Egypt.

Dendera temple

Shapes of Goddess Hathor:

Hathor has three shapes:

  • A complete cow
  • A lady with two ears of cow
  • A lady with two horns between them the sun disk

They picked the cow to be the emblem of goddess Hathor because the cow was a good animal never harm anyone

and this goddess was beloved by everyone that’s why they gave her this shape.

Description:

The design of this temple has been found to be in accordance to that of other classical Egyptian temples.

With the exception of the front of the hypostyle hall, which, according to an inscription above the entrance,

was constructed by the Emperor Tiberius.

The last band is decorated with the Egyptian zodiac,

showing all of our zodiacs we are using now a days and some extinct ones that we are no more using.

Hall of columns of Dendera temple are decorated with some traditional scenes of King Ptolemy offering

the offering to Hathor or her husband Horus the falcon headed god and showing the foundation of the temple.

The holly of the hollies lies at the end of the temple, surrounded by a corridor that has few store rooms and the crypts of the temple.

To the right before reaching the sanctuary, there are stairs lead up top to the roof of the temple,

where the ancient Egyptians celebrated the new year eve showing the unification between Hathor and Ra the sun god

and there are 2 chapels having few depictions of the Egyptian zodiacs inside a big circle that’s

why it’s ceiling is called the circular Egyptian zodiac ceiling referring to this.

The back wall of the temple is decorated with a huge scene shows Cleopatra VII who charmed Julius Caesar when he visited Egypt in 48 BC,

having herself delivered to him in a rug and doing a Nile cruise reaching Dendera temple.

So when they reached there they went off to pray and added these scenes which show Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar and Caesarion.
,

You should visit this temple because it is well preserved

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Madinat Habu Temple

Madinat Habu Temple

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In ancient times Madinat Habu Temple was known as Djanet and according to ancient belief was the place were Amun first appeared.

Both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amun here

and Later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site.

First Pylon – the temple of Rameses III During

his time Djanet became the administrative centre of Western Thebes.

The whole temple complex was surrounded by a massive fortified enclosure wall, with an unusual gateway at the eastern entrance, known as the pavilion gate. This structure, a copy of a Syrian migdol fortresses is something you would no expect to see in Egypt.

Rameses III

, a military man probably saw the virtue in such a structure.

It is likely Rameses resided here from time to time because a royal palace was attached at the south of the open forecourt of this temple,

while priests’ dwellings and administrative buildings lay on either side of the temple.

Originally a canal with a harbour outside the entrance,

connected the temple to the Nile. But this was obliterated by the desert long ago.

In later times, because of its strong fortifications,

it was the place of refuge during the civil war between the High Priest of Amun at Karnak and the viceroy of Kush.

Habu Temple

In the period of the Twenty Fifth and Twenty Sixth Dynasties (700 BC) the wives of Amon

were worshipped in the Chapels called the Divine Adoratrices of Amun.

During the Greek and Roman periods the site was expanded

and between the 1st and 9th centuries AD a Coptic city was built and the temple was used as a Christen church.

The exterior walls are carved with religious scenes and portrayals of Rameses III’s wars against the Libyans and the Sea Peoples.

The first pylon depicts the king smiting his enemies and also has a list of conquered lands.

The interior walls also have a wealth of well preserved bas-reliefs some of which still retain their original paint work.

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Valley of The Kings

Valley of The Kings

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Valley of The Kings

Valley of The Kings has two components – the East Valley and the West Valley.

It is the East Valley which most tourists visit and in which most of the tombs of the New Kingdom Pharaohs can be found.
Construction of a tomb usually lasted six years, beginning with each new reign.

By the end of the New Kingdom, Egypt had entered a long period of political and economic decline.

The priests at Thebes grew in power and effectively administered Upper Egypt, while kings ruling from Tanis controlled Lower Egypt.

The Valley began to be heavily plundered,

so the priests of Amen during 21st Dynasty to open most of the tombs and move the mummies into three tombs in order to better protect them.

Later most of these were moved to a single cache near Deir el-Bari.

During the later Third Intermediate Period and later intrusive burials were introduced into many of the open tombs.

Almost all of the tombs have been ransacked, including Tutankhamun’s, though in his case,

it seems that the robbers were interrupted, so very little was removed.The valley was surrounded by steep cliffs and heavily guarded. In 1090 BC, or the year of the Hyena,

there was a collapse in Egypt’s economy leading to the emergence of tomb robbers. Because of this,

it was also the last year that the valley was used for burial.

The valley also seems to have suffered an official plundering during the virtual civil war which started in the reign of Ramesses XI.

The tombs were opened, all the valuables removed, and the mummies collected into two large caches.

One, the so-called Deir el-Bahri cache, contained no less than forty royal mummies and their coffins; the other,

in the tomb of Amenhotep II, contained a further sixteen.

Exploring the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings has been a major area of modern Egyptological exploration for the last two centuries.

Before this the area was a site for tourism in antiquity (especially during Roman times).

This areas illustrates the changes in the study of ancient Egypt, starting as antiquity hunting,

and ending as scientific excavation of the whole Theban Necropolis.

Despite the exploration and investigation noted below, only eleven of the tombs have actually been completely recorded.

The Greek writers Strabo and Diodorus Siculus were able to report that the total number of Theban royal tombs was 47,

of which at the time only 17 were believed to be undestroyed. Pausanias and others wrote of the pipe-like corridors of the Valley – i.e. the tombs.

Clearly others also visited the valley in these times,

as many of the tombs have graffiti written by these ancient toursits. Jules Baillet located over 2000 Greek and Latin graffiti,

along with a smaller number in Phoenician, Cypriot, Lycian, Coptic, and other languages.

Before the nineteenth century, travel from Europe to Thebes (and indeed anywhere in Egypt) was difficult,

time-consuming and expensive, and only the hardiest of European travelers visited – before the travels of Father Claude Sicard in 1726,

it was unclear just where Thebes really was.

It was known to be on the Nile, but it was often confused with Memphis and several other sites.

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Valley of The Queen

Valley of The Queen

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Valley of The Queen, also known as Biban el-Harim, Biban el-Sultanat, and Wadi el-Melikat,

is a place in Egypt where wives of Pharaohs were buried in ancient times.
In ancient times,

it was known as Ta-Set-Neferu, meaning – ‘the place of the Children of the Pharaoh’, because along with the Queens of the 18th

many princes and princesses were also buried with various members of the nobility.

The tombs of these individuals were maintained by mortuary priests whom performed daily rituals

and provided offerings and prayers for the deceased nobility.

Valley of The Queen

The valley is located near the better known

Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern Luxor) .

This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital.

The kings of the 18th dynasty, instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers ,

now chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs.

This necropolis is said to hold more than seventy tombs, many of which are stylish and lavishly decorated.

An example of this is the resting place carved out of the rock for Queen Nefertari (1290-1224 BCE) of the 19th Dynasty.

The polychrome reliefs in her tomb are still in tact.

Tomb of Nefertari

 

Nefertari also known as Nefertari Merytmut

was one of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.

Nefertari means ‘Beautiful Companion’ and Meritmut means ‘Beloved of the Goddess Mut’.

She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.

Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens.

Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument here.

Although Nefertari’s origins are unknown,

the discovery from her tomb of a knob inscribed with the cartouche of Pharaoh Ay has led people to speculate she was related to him.

The time between the reign of Ay and Ramesses II means that Nefertari could not be a daughter of Ay and if any relation exists at all,

she would be a great-granddaughter.

Queen Nefertari

Nefertari had at least four sons and two daughters. Amun-her-khepeshef,

the eldest was Crown Prince and Commander of the Troops, and Pareherwenemef would later serve in Ramesses II’s army.

Prince Meryatum was elevated to the position of High Priest of Re in Heliopolis. Inscriptions mention he was a son of Nefertari.

Prince Meryre is a fourth son mentioned on the facade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and is thought to be another son of Nefertari.

Meritamen and Henuttawy are two royal daughters depicted on the facade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and are thought to be daughters of Nefertari.

the tomb of Nefertari, the Great Wife of Ramesses II,

in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. It was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli (the director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin) in 1904.

It is called the Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt.

The most important and famous of Ramesses’s consorts was discovered by Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904.

Although it had been looted in ancient times, the tomb of Nefertari is extremely important,

because its magnificent wall painting decoration is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of ancient Egyptian art.

A flight of steps cut out of the rock gives access to the antechamber,

which is decorated with paintings based on chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead.

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