Ancient Egypt / Religion / Cult centres /
Ancient Egyptian: Ipet Resyt
The temple lies next to, and parallel to the Nile. It is 260 metre long, its pylon is 65 metre wide and originally 24 metre high.
It follows largely the standard layout for New Kingdom temples. Its inner sections, the most sacred, consist of a large number of smaller rooms serving several purposes, all richly decorated. This is fronted by a relatively small hypostyle hall, then two large open-air courts which are connected by a 70 metre long colonnade. Its pylon was fronted by 6 colossi of Ramses 2, 2 of them standing, 4 sitting as well as 2 obelisks.
The temple was dedicated to the Theban triad, Amon, his consort, Mut, and their son, Khonsu. The same three gods had each their individual temples at Karnak, 3 km north.
Nectanebo 1 had in the 4th century BCE built an avenue of sphinxes between Luxor Temple, and the Temple of Mut, which from there continues onto the Temple of Amon. Prior to this, ritual journeys between the temple structures were on the Nile, by boat.
The temple's origins go back to the 14th century BCE, when Amenophis 3 commissioned its building. The building process was relatively short, only another king would begin new construction work here, Ramses 2, when adding a large court which bends from the original axis. In between these two kings, Tutankhamon and Horemheb would take upon them to complete the structure of Amenophis 3. Alexander the Great added in the 4th century BCE a barque shrine of Amon.
Small alterations would take place until Roman times, from time to time it was repaired and sand was removed.
There was a temple at this place before Amenophis 3, of which only a small pavilion still stands. Hatshepsut is reported to have commissioned building here.
In ancient times, as part of the very important annual Opet Festival, statues of Amon, Mut and Khonsu were transported from Karnak to Luxor Temple, where they stayed for 24 days, before returning.
Luxor Temple is the place for some of the finest wall decorations of Ancient Egypt. Also, sand and silt burying the temple for centuries has helped preserve it. Wall decorations contain many depictions of victories at battles. Most stories are from Ramses 2, but later kings would also add their stories.
The Romans would turn the temple into their own, and in Christian times, a Coptic church was constructed in the Court of Ramses 2. Later, on top of this, the Muslims built a mosque, but the cult here is really a continuation of Egyptian religion and its Opet Festival, only now clad in the framework of popular Islam. Note the high position of the mosque, this reflects the height of the sand and silt, as parts of Luxor for centuries were built on top of the temple complex.
One of the two original obelisks from in front of the Pylon was removed in 1831 and reerected at Place de la Concorde in Paris, France.