Necropolis of Thebes Things to Do

  • Offering Scenes
    Offering Scenes
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  • Dwellings at Deir el Medina
    Dwellings at Deir el Medina
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  • Village of Deir el Medina
    Village of Deir el Medina
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Most Recent Things to Do in Necropolis of Thebes

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    Madinet Habu - Migdol Gate

    by MM212 Updated Mar 2, 2008
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    Named after a Syrian fortress, the Migdol Gate was built by Ramses III after his victories in Syria. The monumental gate is architecturally unique in Egypt as it was modelled after gates more commonly built in Syria. Two statues of the warrior goddess, Sekhmet, with the head of a lioness, flank the gate. The structure itself is elaborately decorated with offering and war scenes.

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    Temple of Ramses III - Hypostyle Halls & beyond

    by MM212 Updated Mar 2, 2008
    Hypostyle Hall
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    For centuries, the locals nibbled on stones from the inner-most part of the Temple of Ramses III to construct other edifices, so we are now left with very little of what must have once been a highly impressive series of hypostyle halls. Three such halls preceeded the inner sanctuaries and chapels of the Temple, though only the bases of the countless large columns remain, leaving it to our imagination to visualise the rest.

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    Temple of Ramses III - Second Courtyard

    by MM212 Updated Mar 2, 2008
    Portico in the Second Courtyard
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    The Second Pylon leads to the Second Courtyard. It is of a similar size to the first, though bordered on all four sides with porticoes, two of which are lined with Osirid statues of Ramses III. During Coptic times, the Second Courtyard was used as a church and its wall decorations were covered in plaster. As a result the walls have retained much of their spectacular original colours. The walls are entirely covered in detailed decorations in sunken relief showing offering scenes and tributes to the gods. The Courtyard leads to the Hypostyle Halls and the inner sanctuaries.

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    Temple of Ramses III - First Courtyard

    by MM212 Updated Mar 2, 2008
    Osirid Statues of Ramses III
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    Connecting the First and Second Pylons, the First Courtyard of the Temple of Ramses III is bordered by a portico on either side. The right hand portico is lined with statues of Ramses III in the form of the god Osiris, and his queens. The left hand portico has columns with papyrus capitals and gives access to the Palace of Ramses III (now in ruins). The walls of the pylons and the interior of the porticoes contain more scenes of victories and offerings. Some of the original colours are surprisingly well preserved.

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    Temple of Ramses III - First Pylon

    by MM212 Updated Mar 2, 2008
    Prisoner offerings to the god Amun
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    The enormous First Pylon of the Temple of Ramses III is dedicated to the glory of the Pharaoh. Scenes of offerings of prisoners to the gods dominate the two walls of the Pylon and supplemented with smaller scenes.

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    Madinet Habu - Temple of Ramses III

    by MM212 Updated Mar 1, 2008
    Temple of Ramses III

    The best kept secret in western Thebes, the funerary Temple of Ramses III is often skipped by organised tourist groups. Yet, it is one of the best preserved and largest temples in all of Thebes. Ramses III, a 20th Dynasty Pharaoh, modelled his funerary temple after the Ramesseum (funerary temple of Ramses II). Much of the Temple's decorations celebrate Ramses III's victories against the Libyans, and were carved as sunken relief. The Temple owes its excellent state of preservation to its conversion into a Christian church/monastery in later periods. The temple's position against the afternoon sun enhances the intricate sunken reliefs on the walls of the temple.

    For more photos, check out further tips, and also my travelogue: Madinet Habu - Temple of Ramses III

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    Madinet Habu

    by MM212 Updated Mar 1, 2008

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    Temple of Ramses III - First Pylon

    Referred to as Madinet Habu, this temple complex is the largest in Western Thebes and second only to the Complex of Karnak in size. The complex is made up several temples and structures built by various Pharaohs, but the largest and most dominant is the Funerary Temple of Ramses III, a 20th Dynasty Pharaoh. Modelled after the Ramesseum, his funerary temple was built in the 12th century BC and records his victories in battle against the Libyans. The Temple owes its excellent state of preservation to its conversion into a Christian church/monastery in later periods. Despite its great condition, grand size, and fantastic decorations, Madinet Habu is often skipped by tourist groups. All the better for the independent travellers who do visit, as it makes our experience much more pleasant.

    For more photos, check out further tips, and also my travelogue: Madinet Habu - Temple of Ramses III

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    Madinet Habu - Temple of Amun

    by MM212 Updated Mar 1, 2008
    Ptolemaic period construction
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    Built in the 15th century BC by Pharaoh Thutmosis III, the Temple of Amun is the oldest temple in Madinet Habu. It is much smaller than the funerary Temple of Ramses III, but remained in use for over 15 centuries through Ptolemaic and Roman times. During these latter periods, several expansions occurred, such as the Ptolemaic colonnade and pylon. The Romans built a wall and courtyard at the front with recycled stones from the site. The temple is adjacent to the Syrian Gate which leads into the complex of Madinet Habu.

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    Deir el-Bahri - The Temple of Hatshepsut

    by MM212 Updated Feb 29, 2008
    The Temple of Hatshepsut
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    One of the star temples in the Necropolis of Thebes, the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut was built during her reign in the 15th century BC. She became the defacto ruler while her son, Thutmosis III, was too young to be Pharaoh and she seemed to have had to impose her rule by proving that she was as strong as a man. This is evidenced in her portrayal as a male Pharaoh in most of her temple's statues and carvings. The temple was modelled after the nearby Temple of Montuhotep with multiple porticoed terraces joined by ramps, while the inner sanctuaries and chapels were dug into the background cliffs. Although much restored, the temple is in an excellent state of preservation owed to the post-Pharaonic conversion into a Coptic monastery, called Deir el-Bahri.

    More photos are shown in my tips and in the travelogue: Deir el-Bahri - Temple of Hatshepsut.

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    Deir el-Bahri

    by MM212 Updated Feb 29, 2008

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    With desert cliffs towering above, Deir el-Bahri is the most dramatic of all temples in Thebes. In fact, it is a complex of mortuary temples and chapels built by several pharoahs from the Middle and New Kingdoms in the Necropolis of Thebes near the edge of the fertile valley. Its name, Deir el-Bahri, derives from the Christian monastery that was established within one of the temples in later periods (deir means monastery). The most famous and best preserved structure in the complex is the Temple of Hatshepsut, the first woman Pharaoh who ruled Egypt for 21 years during the 18th Dynasty (15th century BC). Hatshepsut is depicted as a man in her own mortuary temple as a show of strength - powerful enough to rule as a man!

    More photos are shown in my tips and in the travelogue: Deir el-Bahri - Temple of Hatshepsut.

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    Temple of Hatshepsut - Inner Courtyard

    by MM212 Updated Feb 29, 2008
    The Sanctuary of Amun
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    What was once the hypostyle hall of the Temple of Hatshepsut is now an inner courtyard with few of the columns standing. The courtyard is dominated by the towering cliffs above and is flanked by two chapels, one dedicated to Hatshepsut, the other to Thutmosis. The back end of the courtyard contains the rock-cut Sanctuary of Amun, the most sacred part of the temple. This sanctuary is closed to the public.

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    Temple of Hatshepsut - Upper Terrace

    by MM212 Updated Feb 29, 2008
    Osirid Hatshepsut
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    In contrast to the lower terraces, the third terrace in the Temple of Hatshepsut is quite small. Statues of the Queen in the form of the god Osiris were erected along the terrace and its portico's columns making this part the most spectacular part of the temple. Only seven of these Osirid statues have been restored, but allow us to imagine the rest. From this terrace, a gateway leads into the inner courtyard and the upper shrines.

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    Temple of Hatshepsut - Punt Colonnade

    by MM212 Updated Feb 29, 2008
    Journey to the Land of Punt
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    One of the most celebrated parts of the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Punt Colonnade tells the story of Queen Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt. Historians have located this distant nation somewhere in east Africa, specifically Ethiopia or Somalia. In an amicable political move, the Queen travelled south bearing gifts for the king of Punt. The king was flattered and, in exchange, showered the queen with exotic objects and items from the Land of Punt, including the incense trees that were planted outside her temple. The detailed graphic depictions on the walls are fairly well preserved. Attached are some photos from the carvings on the wall.

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    Deir el-Bahri - Chapel of Hathor

    by MM212 Updated Feb 28, 2008
    The beautiful goddess Hathor
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    Dedicated to the goddess of love and happiness, Hathor, this small chapel is adjacent to both the Temple of Hatshepsut and the ruined Temple of Thutmosis III, and dates from the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. In Ancient Egypt, the goddess Hathor is generally represented either as a cow with horns, or as a beautiful woman with the ears and horns of a cow, as seen in this chapel. The inner sanctuary of the chapel is cut through the cliffs (though not accessible by the public) and is preceeded by a hypostyle hall with columns whose capitals are carved in the shape of Hathor's face (see photos). The walls are decorated with reliefs showing Hatshepsut making offerings to Hathor as a cow, as well lively scenes from the Festival of Hathor (see picture in intro page).

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    Temple of Hatshepsut - Middle Terrace

    by MM212 Updated Feb 28, 2008
    Horus
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    The vast middle terrace of the Temple of Hatshepsut contains the more interesting features of the temple. The northern end, along the cliff is unfinished portico with multiple columns. The adjacent corner of the terrace, facing east, is the chapel of Anubis with its colourful hypostyle hall and rock cut inner sanctuary. The two main porticoes on the terrace are split by the ramp leading to the third terrace and guarded by statues of the god Horus in the form of a falcon. On the right hand side of the ramp is the birth colonnade, in which scenes of the divine birth of Hatshepsut are depicted. On the left is the most celebrated Punt Colonnade featuring lively depictions of Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt. From this side of the terrace, the Chapel of Hathor, goddess of love and joy, is accessible.

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