Generally called Memnon's colossi, this two big statues is what remains from Amenhotep's temple built in the 14th century BC.
Noises caused by he wind or evaporation in the rock gave the statues a "singing" reputation, after an earthquake that broke of of them. In 199 AD aroman emperor had the statue repaired, and the "music" stopped
Memnon has nothing to do with the statues - he was a king from Ethiopia who fought Trojan war, and the name was given to the statues by Greeks.
I said on my previous tip that the last stop on my private tour around the westbank is the Medinet Habu -- well, I forgot that it was actually the Colossi of Memnon --- maybe just b'cause, seeing the colossi will only require few minutes of stop at the site.
The colossi of Memnon are the two huge sitting statues of Amenhotep III (the Magnificent) -- he was the 9th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. The statues are located in an open air like surrounded by the view of the hills in the westbank and the statues themselves facing the green fields. Situated right on the highway road leading to the sights of the west bank -- looking like two guards on the gateway. Well, they used to be "guards" on post at the entrance of the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III taught to be bigger than Karnak or Maedinet Habu or the Ramesseum, though at this time, almost nothing was left of Amenhotep's temple, except for the colossi of Memnon.
Entry fee = Free!
The Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as el-Colossat, or es-Salamat) are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years (since 1350 BC) they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor.
The twin statues depict Amenhotep III (fl. 14th century BC) in a seated position, his hands resting on his knees and his gaze facing eastwards (actually SSE in modern bearings) towards the river. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs: these are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.
The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which was stone quarried at el-Gabal el-Ahmar (near modern-day Cairo) and transported 675 km (420 miles) overland to Thebes. (They are too heavy to have been transported upstream on the Nile.) The blocks used by later Roman engineers to reconstruct the eastern colossus may have come from Edfu (north of Aswan). Including the stone platforms on which they stand (about 4 metres (13 ft) themselves), the colossi reach a towering 18 metres (approx. 60 ft) in height and weigh an estimated 700 tons each. The two figures are about 15 metres (50 ft) apart.
Both statues are quite damaged, with the features above the waist virtually unrecognizable. The western (or southern) statue is a single piece of stone, but the eastern (or northern) figure has a large extentive crack in the lower half and above the waist consists of 5 tiers of stone. These upper levels consist of a different type of sandstone, and are the result of a later (Roman Empire) reconstruction attempt. It is believed that originally the two statues were identical to each other, although inscriptions and minor art may have varied.
The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple (or mortuary temple): a massive cult centre built during the pharaoh's lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god-on-earth both before and after his departure from this world. In its day, this temple complex was the largest and most opulent in Egypt. Covering a total of 35 ha, even later rivals such as Ramesses II's Ramesseum or Ramesses III's Medinet Habu were unable to match it in area; even the Temple of Karnak, as it stood in Amenhotep's time, was smaller.
Side panel detail showing two flanked relief images of the deity Hapi and, to the right, a sculpture of the royal wife TiyWith the exception of the Colossi, however, very little remains today of Amenhotep's temple. Standing on the edge of the Nile floodplain, successive annual inundations gnawed away at the foundations – a famous 1840s lithograph by David Roberts shows the Colossi surrounded by water – and it was not unknown for later rulers to dismantle, purloin, and reuse portions of their predecessors' monuments.
Memnon was a hero of the Trojan War, a King of Ethiopia who led his armies from Africa into Asia Minor to help defend the beleaguered city but was ultimately slain by Achilles. The name Memnon means "Ruler of the Dawn", and was probably applied to the colossi because of the reported cry at dawn of one of the statues (see below). Eventually, the entire Theban Necropolis became generally referred to as the Memnonium.
History source: Wikipedia
The Colossi of Memnom today stand in isolation. However they once were part of the memorial temple of Amenhetep III. Covering 385,000 square metres it was largest temple ever built in Egypt.
The two statues of Amenhetep III are each cut from a single block of stone and are over 20 metres high.
On your way back from the Valley of the Kings I would suggest a stop at the Colossi of Memnon.
Approx 1500 years B.C these two huge statues were built either side of the entrance to the mortuary of Amenhotep III. Although nothing else remains of the mortuary, you gain an insight into just how big this place used to be. The statues are made of sandstone, stand approx. 18 meters high and are said to weigh 1,300 tons!
After an earthquake in 27 B.C one of the statues cracked and when the wind blew at sunrise the statue would sing. As a result, this was a pilgrimage “tourist attractions” for the early Greeks and Romans.
On our donkey ride back from the Valley of the Workers we stopped briefly at the Colossi of Memnon to take a few photos.
At the site of the Colossi once stood the funerary temple of Amenhotep III and the Colossi stood at either side of this temple.
These twin statues of Amenophis III, once adorned his funerary temple. The temple, however was salvaged for stones by Ramses II. The Colossi has been a tourist attraction since Roman times. It was believed in these times that the statues were of Memmon, a legendary Egyptian prince, who said to have fought at Troy hence the name which has stuck with the statues ever since.
It is good to see, but when we went they were doing some renovation, so one of the structures had scaffolding surrounding it. There's not much to do when there other than see it and take pictures, but it is worth doing, especially if it's on your way to something else like the Valley of the Kings.
This is a photo stop on the way to the Valley of the Kings. Unfortunately the Colossi were under restoration as you see. We took the pics and had a full job to keep all these awful bastards away who wanted to sell us their crap.
Located on the western bank of the Nile, the twin Colossi of Memnon once guarded the entrance of the mortuary temple of the 18th Dynasty pharoah, Amenhotep III. They were named "Memnon" by early Greek travellers who associated them with the son of Aurora. However, the statues are of Amenhotep III (accompanied by his mother in one and his wife in another) who, like other pharaohs of the new kingdom, built his mortuary temple in the Necropolis of Thebes (around 1350 BC). The two giant statues, measuring 23 metres in height, are all that remains of the temple. Amenhotep III is best known for the construction of the Temple of Luxor on the eastern bank of the Nile. For tourists today, the impressive colossi are frequently the first stop along a journey through the mortuary temples and tombs of the western bank of Thebes.
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