Amenhotep III, pharaoh of the Dynasty XVIII, built this temple during his rule about 1400 B.C. The Colossi of Memnon _ two massive mono stone statues of king Amenhotep III, are the major remains of this huge mortuary temple. The Temple of Amenhotep III has an interesting story in Egyptian history.
At that time, 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.
Regrettably, natural phenomena have dramatically destroyed that massive temple. Soon after the construction, an earthquake destroyed it around 1200 BC.As a result, this earthquake left only the two huge colossi standing at the entrance. Again, these colossi 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, four statues have been re-erected. Further, it is expected that 8 statues will be re-erected in the future. Additionally, the Luxor Museum homes some 200 statues that were found in this temple.
Herein, we will give an idea about the most interesting pieces that are still standing in this temple:
The Colossi of Memnon
These twin statues depict Amenhotep III in a seated position. Two shorter figures carved into the front throne alongside his legs successively belong to his wife Tiye and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.
The Ancient Egyptian builders erected these statues from blocks of quartzite sandstone. They quarried the blocks of these statues at el-Gabal el-Ahmar and transported them 675 km overland to Luxor. After the 27th earthquake, Roman engineers reconstructed the northern colossus. Archaeologists think that the Roman engineers used blocks that 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. In present times, archaeologists have added five sandstone blocks to the later one to restore it.