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The temple at Thebes, now modern day Luxor, was built in the heart of the ancient city, and was dedicated to the god Amun. It was known in the time of the New Kingdom as Ipt-Rsyt which means the southern shrine. Luxor temple was built by Amenhotep III. The temple was constructed on the site of an older temple built in the 12th dynasty. Ramses II completed the temple. Many additions were made by subsequent rulers including Merenpetah, Seti I, Ramses III, Ramses IV, and Ramses VI. Later Alexander the Great rebuilt the Sanctuary. During Christian times the inner section was converted into a church. Later a Mosque named Abou el-Hagag was built on the site. Today the temple is a major attraction, with tourists from the cruise boats almost forming a continuous chain as they walk from their mooring points, along the road that runs along by the river, to the temple site.

Luxor Temple 1

The approach to the temple is known as the Avenue of Sphinxes, which in ancient times stretched all the way to the temple at Karnak. Directly in front stands the entry Pylons of Ramses II. To one side stands an obelisk, this is one of a pair, the other can now be found in the Place de le Concorde in Paris, France. At the base of the Pylons are statues of the Pharaoh Ramses II in a seated position. Once through the Pylons, look up to your left and you will see the Mosque of Abou -el Hagag. To the right are the remains of a shrine built by Hatshepsut and Tothmusis II and dedicated to the Theban triad. The triad consists of the sun god Amon-Ra, his wife the goddess Mut, with the third being their son Khonsu. Walking forward you leave the open court of Ramses II and walk along a processional Colonnade originally built by Amenhotep III, and consists of two rows of columns and decorated walls. This leads through to the Court of Amenhotep III with a double row of papyrus-bud columns on three of the four sides. The forth side leads into a Hypostyle hall with 32 columns.

Luxor Temple Layout Luxor Temple 2

Deeper into the temple, you get to an area that in later times the Christians used as a church. At the far end of the temple is the Sanctuary of Amon-Ra, this area was restored in the time of Alexander the Great. Egyptian temples were usually built in straight lines, but looking at the plan you can see that Luxor temple has been built completely off line. This is due to Ramses II who when planning his Court, wanted to include the older Temple to the Theban Triad.

Luxor Temple 3 Luxor Temple by night

Luxor Temple at Night