Memnon Tours

Temple of Amenhotep III

The temple of Amenhotep III is one of the amazing temples located in the west bank of the River Nile, in the Theban Necropolis, Luxor governorate. Amenhotep III, pharaoh of the Dynasty XVIII, built this temple during his rule about 1400 B.C., where he was worshipped as a god.

In its day, this temple complex was the largest in Egypt. The temple covered a total of 35 hectares. All the temples which were built after this one could not reach the same sizes; even the Temple of Karnak, as it stood during Amenhotep’s reign, was smaller.

Unfortunately, this massive temple was dramatically destroyed for several reasons. Soon after its construction, it was destroyed by an earthquake around 1200 BC, which left only the 2 huge colossi at the entrance still standing. These were further destroyed by an earthquake in 27 BC, after which they were partly reconstructed by the Roman authorities.

The scientific studies showed that the complex consisted of three pylons, each fronted by colossal statues. At the far end of this rectangular Temple, there was a peristyle court surrounded by columns. Nowadays, there are four of the statues have been re-erected, with 8 waiting to be re-erected. The Luxor Museum is housing some 200 statues which were found in this temple.

Here, we are giving an idea about the most interesting pieces which are still standing in this temple:

The Colossi of Memnon

The Colossi of Memnon in the temple of Amenhotep
The Colossi of Memnon in the temple of Amenhotep

These twin statues depict Amenhotep III in a seated position. Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs for his wife Tiye and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.

The statues are made from blocks of quartzite sandstone which were quarried at el-Gabal el-Ahmar and transported 675 km overland to Luxor. After the 27th earthquake, Roman engineers reconstructed the northern colossus. It is believed that they used blocks which may have come from Edfu. The colossi reach a towering 18 m in height and weigh an estimated 720 tons each. In case, we are going to include the stone platforms on which they stand. If apart, the platforms have about 4 m in height, and the two figures are about 15 m.

The southern statue still comprises a single piece of stone; while in 27 BC, a large earthquake shattered the northern colossus, collapsing it from the waist up and cracking the lower half. Five sandstone blocks were added to the later one to restore it, in our nowadays.