The Temple of Luxor

Looking back on previous lectures I came to find that my interest lied with that of the unknown. That being said I looked upon the Temple of Luxor as I were a peasant. The wonder, not knowing what were to lie behind the ever stretching columns, and the gate, lined with sphinxes that led the way to Karnak beings. These monumental features surrounding the Temple of Luxor intrigued me to want to know more of the historical and sacred aspects it withheld.

The name Luxor represents both the present-day metropolis that was ancient Thebes. Luxor derives from the Arabic al-uksur, meaning “fortifications.” Since it’s creation the Temple of Luxor has been a sacred site known as the “southern sanctuary,” which referred to the holy of the holies where the principal god. Amun the god of fertility, was a creator god often fused with the sun-god Ra into Amun-Ra, resided within these walls and held strong connections to both Karnak and West Thebes. The Temple was constructed under the reign of Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC. Following the construction Horemheb and Tutankhamun added columns, statues, and freizes. These columns built surrounding the courts were filled with inscriptions of hieroglyphics and symbols, depicting heroic scenes from the pharaoh’s lives. The columns also were coated in paintings along the undersides of the lintels that link the top of the columns.

In Luxor there are six great temples, the four located on the west bank are known to travelers and readers of travels as Goornah, Deir-el-Bahri, the Ramesseum, and Medinet Habu. The two temples on the right bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor. The Luxor Temple was built with sandstone from the Gebel el-Silsila area, located in south-western Egypt, commonly known as Nubian Sandstone. There were six shrines stations of barque that were built upon the avenue connecting Karnak and Luxor Temple. Along the avenue the stations were created for ceremonies, for instance, the Feast of Opet which held significance to the temple, dedicated to the Thebian Triad, Amun the god of fertility, his wife Mut the goddess of war, and their son Khonsu the moon god. With each staion having an individual purpose for its creation. The fourth station was that of Kamare, which cooled the oar of Amun. The fifth station served the purpose of receiving the beauty of Amun, and lastly the sixth station of Kamare was a shrine for Amun known as the Holy of Steps.

Peering inside the Temple of Luxor, you would be led into a peristyle courtyard, built by Ramesses II, this area and the pylon were built at an oblique angle to the rest of the temple. This was believed to be an attempt to accommodate the three pre-existing barque shrines located in the northwest corner. Leading into the inner sanctums they begin with a dark antechamber, with particular emphasis on the Roman stuccoes that can still be seen atop the Egyptian carvings that rest below. As you go further into the temple stands a Barque Shrine for use by Amun, which was built by Alexander, with the final area being the private quarters of the gods, along with the Birth Shrine of Amenhotep III. The features were detailed with wall paintings which depicted the pharoa’s claim to have been fathered by Amun, and ultimately arose from divine descent.



1 thought on “The Temple of Luxor

  1. I think this is really cool how you found so much stuff about the Temple of Luxor, but I think what’s really cool about your post is that you said “I looked at the temple as if I were a peasant” and I just thought that was an awesome way to think of it. Living in the world we live in now, we take for granted that everything is at the tip of our fingers, quite literally “one click away” from looking inside the Temple of Luxor, or the tombs at the Valley of the Kings, or the Sistine Chapel, or whatever else we choose to examine with our free time. The point being of course that we have very little concept of what it must have felt like to live in a city like Luxor, and have the coolest attraction in our city be something that we weren’t even allowed to go in. Sure, there are places we are banned from now, but I still don’t think it’s the same, because the rest of the world is available to us, where back then if you lived there, that was all you had. I also thought it was cool how you pointed out that Amun and Ra were sometimes combined to make Amun-Ra, which is completely off the point but it reminded me of Night at the Museum where the tablet of Akhmun-Rah (I’m not sure if they changed it to Akhmun for legal purposes or if this is another guy) was what helped the creatures come back to life, where Ra of course is the god of life, the sun god, who rises every morning to give life to the earth.

Comments are closed.