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Photos: Luxor, Egypt East and West Bank

Luxor and a cruise ship
An overview shot of Luxor, the Nile, a Cruise ship, and the West bank where I rode off into the desert for.

Temple of Karnak 1 Karnak 2 Karnak 3 Karnak 4 Karnak 5 Karnak 6
These are shots from the Temple of Karnak, the biggest baddest Temple of all time. Back up a post or two for a little bit more informative description.

Temple of Luxor 1 Temple of Luxor (1) Temple of luxor 2 Temple of Luxor 3 Temple of luxor 4 Temple of Luxor 5 Temple of Luxor 6 Temple of Luxor 7 Temple of luxor 8 Temple of Luxor 9
The grand Temple of Luxor which was added to by countless rulers to show their devotion to the gods. Also a couple of snaps of Denver and Ellie plus guide. They toyed with me and said they were uber famous back home and would get tons of money for their photos. I would have known that if I would go home every once in a while. Nah, they were just cool letting me hang out with them on their tours unlike the ten thousand other tourists who wouldn’t piss on me even though I was on fire.

Okay, that was the East Bank stuff. There was also the Luxor Museum, however at pretty much all the museums photos were not allowed even to the point of confiscating film and memory cards. Not too much interesting about that part except that because I was really good, Snarky took me to McDonalds.

Bike tour
As we hop onto our one speed bikes and head off into the desert with our biscuit and litre of water…

Colossus of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon. Two big ass statues leading into the Valley. Plus, they were free!!!!!!!!!

Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings was another place where photos were not allowed (in the tombs themselves), so not a lot to photograph except for the desert mountains with holes. The area was basically the crags between some mountains where priests designated it as burial areas for the different classes. Here they dug out tunnels and chambers and buried the Kings. For tourists, you pick and choose among the twenty or so escavated tombs and enter through cut out entry ways. Some are small some are extravagent tunnels that you have to take stairs up and down in. All of them were uncomfortably hot and humid as close as a sauna. What was nasty about it was that the humidity was derived from all tourists breathing and the sweat off their bodies. Gross. That also being the major reason for the destruction of much of the artwork in the tombs. Really not too much to see, but interesting enough. Would have been nice if they would take all the stuff they took out of them and put them back so you could really get a true idea. Just a thought.

Tomb city
These are of the villages of Gurna, a local village that is spread amongst the different valleys. It was pretty interesting that they were also the main grave robbers even to this day. One of the tombs was discovered because local authorities got wind that there were a lot of mummies and stuff showing up around. They put the squeeze on the village and they showed them the greatest tomb discovery ever.

Deir al-Bahri Deir Al-Bahri Deir Al-Bahri
Deir al-Bahri
Hatshepsut is one of the more mysterious figures of ancient Egyptian history. Much is known of her reign as King, yet so many questions remain unanswered. Questions such as why late in the reign of her successor Tutmosis III, 40 years after her death, did he suddenly seem to embark on a campaign to erase her name and memory from the lists of Kings.
In any case, Hatshepsut has left a legacy of architectural and statuary elegance. Her temple built in the area of Thebes, at modern Deir el-Bahri, stands as a beautiful monument to her reign.

Lying directly across the Nile from the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak, the rock amphitheater of Deir el-Bahri provides a natural focal point of the west bank terrain and an inviting site for the temples of many rulers. The natural rock amphitheater, a deep bay in the cliffs, was an important religious and funerary site in the Theban area. The remains of the temples of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, Hatshepsut, and Tutmosis III, as well as private tombs dating to those reigns and through to the Ptolemaic period can be found here. The most important private tombs at Deir el-Bahri are those of Meketra, which contain many painted wooden funerary models from the Middle Kingdom, and even the first recorded human-headed canopic jar, and the tomb of Senenmut, Hatshepsut’s adviser and tutor to her daughter..

An 11th Dynasty shaft tomb at the southern end contained a cache of forty royal mummies from the Valley of the Kings. The bodies had been re-interred there by 21st Dynasty priests, probably to safeguard against further attempts at robbery. The cache included the mummies of King Seqenenre Taa II, Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, Tutmosis I, II and III, Seti I and Ramesses II, III, and IX, Pinudgjem I and II and Siamun. Later on, a cache of 153 reburied mummies of the priests themselves were also found in a tomb here.

The first monarch to build here was the Middle Kingdom ruler Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, whose temple became a template for similar later structures such as the much larger mortuary temple of Hatshepsut.

Medinat Habu Medinat Habu 2 Medinat Habu 3 Medinat Habu 4
Medinat Habu
The ancient Egyptian name for Medinet Habu, in Arabic the “City of Habu” was Djamet, meaning “males and mothers.” Its holy ground was believed to be where the Ogdoad, the four pairs of first primeval gods, were buried.
Medinet Habu was both a temple and a complex of temples dating from the New Kingdom. It adjoins the cultivation at the southern end of the Theban necropolis, opposite southern Luxor. The area was one of the earliest places within the Theban region to be associated with the worship of Amun. Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III built a small temple to Amun on the site of an earlier structure. Next to their temple, Ramesses III built his mortuary temple, Medinet Habu’s most conspicuous standing monument.

Ramesses III then enclosed both structures within a massive mud-brick enclosure that included storehouses, workshops, administrative offices, and residences of priests and officials. On the grounds of the entire temple complex, however, are numerous other structures besides the small temple. There are the memorial chapels of the Divine Adoratrices of Amun. Less well preserved is the memorial temple of King Horemheb, which he usurped from his predecessor Ay, that stands on the north side of the Ramesses III enclosure. To its east are a number of tomb chapels made for high officials of the later new Kingdom.

The main temple is the great memorial temple of Ramesses III, the best preserved of all mortuary temples of Thebes. It is called the Mansion of Millions of Years of User-Maat-Re Meriamun, the throne name of Ramesses III, “United with Eternity in the Possession of Amun in Western Thebes.” It contains more than 75,350 sq ft of decorated surfaces across its walls

The temple precinct measures about 700 feet by 1000 feet and was entered by two stone gates in the mud-brick enclosure wall on both the eastern and western sides. The western gate was destroyed when the temple was besieged during conflict in the reign of Ramesses XI. The eastern entrance was fronted by a quay, at which the boats that came in via the canals could moor. The processional way led first between two porters’ lodges that were set into a low stone rampart, built in front of the main enclosure wall, and then into the precinct.

The rampart itself was a large gateway of distinctive design modeled after a western Asiatic migdol or fortress. Fronted by guard-houses, the gateway sides are decorated with images of the king trampling enemies of Egypt, and sculpted figures of the monarch standing atop the heads of captives project from the walls. A large relief representation of the god Ptah was here, having the power to transmit the prayers of those unable to enter the temple to the great god Amun within.

The upper rooms of the gate-house functioned as a kind of royal retreat or harem, its walls graced with representations of the king relaxing with young women. Perhaps it was here that the attempted assassination of Ramesses III took place.

The temple itself is a slightly smaller copy of the Ramesseum built by Ramesses II. Its massive outer pylons are the most imposing of any temple in Egypt, and are decorated with colossal images of the king destroying captured enemies before the gods. The temple’s outer walls also depict important battle and victory scenes over the Libyans and Sea Peoples. These scenes are continued into the first court.

On the northern side of this court were large statues of the king as Osiris, and on the south a columned portico with the window of appearances in which the king stood or sat during formal ceremonies and festivities. The large statues of the second court were destroyed in the early Christian era when the area was converted into a church. Relief scenes here still in good condition depict rituals connected with the god Min, and on the rear wall of the portico, a procession of the king’s numerous sons and daughters.

The second court is devoted to scenes of religious processions, notably those of Min and Sokar. Despite the generally good state of preservation of the temple, the Hypostyle Hall has suffered greatly, the columns being reduced to a small fraction of their original height. However, in the southwest corner is a treasury building with scenes depicting some of the temple equipment. The weighing of gold, depictions of sacks of gold, and precious stones also appear on the walls. Other temple valuables were probably kept in a better-concealed building immediately in front of the north wall of the sanctuary.

Off to the left of the second Hypostyle Hall is the funerary chamber of Ramesses III, with the god Thoth shown inscribing the king’s name on the sacred tree of Heliopolis.

The focus of the main axis of the temple is the sanctuary of Amun. It was once finished in electrum with a doorway of gold and the doors themselves of copper inlaid with precious stones. Behind the sanctuary lies a false door for Amun-Ra united with eternity, namely, the divine form of Ramesses III.

On the southeastern side of the temple are the remains of a royal palace, which was probably much smaller than the king’s main residence, serving as a spiritual palace as well as the occasional royal visits. It was originally decorated with glazed tiles, and its bathrooms were lined with limestone to protect the mud-brick. From the palace, the king could enter the first court, or peruse it from a window of appearances on its southern side.

To the right of the complex entrance stands the earliest section of the complex, the so-called “Small Temple”, founded in the 18th Dynasty, and repeatedly expanded and usurped under later dynasties. It stood on one of the most sacred spots in all Egypt, the primeval hill which first rose out of the receding waters of Chaos. An inscription describes it as the burial place of the four primal pairs of gods.

The core of this temple was begun by Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III, but her name was later replaced by those of Tutmosis I and II. The structure was incorporated into Ramesses’ temple complex and eclipsed by the construction of the mortuary temple. Its entrance was later replaced by a pylon of the Nubian King Shabaka and then usurped by his nephew Taharqa. A small fronting gateway was built during the 26th Dynasty and usurped during the 29th by Nectanebo I. To the north of this Small Temple are the sacred lake and the so-called Nilometer, which is actually a well with a passage leading down to groundwater level.

Inside and to the left of the eastern gateway are a group of chapel-tombs belonging to the 25th and 26th Dynasties’ God’s Wives of Amun. They ruled Upper Egypt nominally at that time. On the lintels above the entrances to these chapels may still be seen the “Appeal to the Living”, which encouraged passers-by to repeat the Offering Formula for the kas of these powerful women.

Because of its strong fortifications, Medinet Habu became a refuge in chaotic times. The workmen of Deir el-Medina moved there during the late 20th Dynasty, and the remains of the house of one Butehamun, a village scribe, can still be seen there at the western end.

During the Christian era, the entire area was covered by the Coptic town of Djeme and even the great temple itself was filled with dwellings and one court used as a church.

Okay, thats it for the highlights. I have photos of some of the other sites but a lot of them are just ruins or shells of ruins. I am burning up my upload quota pretty quickly so am going to cut down a bit on this Egyptian stuff. Just yell if there is something of major importness that I am missing.

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