Luxor (Al-Uksur) is the capital of the province of the same name, counting 241 thousand. residents, located on the eastern and western banks of the Nile. It has ambitions to become an independent city province. Od XIX w. lovers of ancient history meet here, Egypt and archeology. The exceptional accumulation of monuments in a small area resulted, that the city's economy is based on tourism. When to visit Luxor? If you have time and money, preferably between October and February (but during this period it is most expensive), when the weather is fine with moderate, almost European temperatures (it can be a bit colder at night). Mild climate, clean air and sunshine make Luxor the capital of winter holidays. In March, the temperature rises, in order to achieve an average of about 10 ° C higher than the winter average in April.
The name of the city is derived from the Arabic word al-Uksur, meaning fortifications, palaces.
Perhaps it is a reference to the Roman castrum, a military camp or a medieval village in the shade of the ruins. The ancient name of the center was Niwt – City or Niwt-resut – South City.
It was the capital of the fourth nome of Uaset (Scepter), sometimes they were also referred to by this name. Its Greek counterpart is Thebes. In the times of the Old Kingdom, the city of Uaset was only a provincial center. The cult center of the Theban Triad and the god Montu began to gain importance slowly from the First Transitional Period, while the princes of Theban fought for power, and for the XI Dynasty (ok. 2133-1991 p.n.e.) gained the status of the capital. Then Thebes lost their importance again.
The Egyptian state, reborn in the 18th Dynasty, established the capital of Uaset. Wtedy Teby, also called Niut-Amon – City of Amun, turned into a global metropolis. The New Kingdom pharaohs worshiped the Theban Triad. Thebes served as the capital during the eighteenth dynasty (ok. 1567-1320 p.n.e.) and part of the 20th Dynasty (ok. 1200-1085 p.n.e.). From the time of the New Kingdom through the Late Era (ok. 1085-525 p.n.e.) and the Persian period (525-332 p.n.e.) it was one of the most important political centers, cultural and religious of Egypt. The residential and religious part of the city (contemporary Karnak and Luxor) it stretched on the right bank of the Nile. On the left, in the so-called Western Thebes, necropolises and palaces of kings were concentrated. In the Greek and Roman epochs, the Romans called this provincial center Diospolis Magna. The uprisings in Thebaida contributed to the fall of the city, which ceased to exist at the beginning of our era.
Temple of Luxor (South Harem)
Luxor's most famous monument is located in the city center. It's best to go here early in the morning, when there are no crowds, and the sharp light brings out the details of the building. Also in the evening, the temple is beautifully illuminated.
In antiquity, the tabernacle was called Ipetresyt – South Harem or South Sanctuary. The term Personal Sanctuary was also used (Again) on the south. The present building was erected in the reign of Amenhotep III (XVIII dynastia). Nearby Akhenaten he ordered a tabernacle to be built for Aton.
To, what you can watch today, was established during the reigns of Amenhotep III and Ramesses II (XIX dynastia).
The temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad: Amon, Mut and their son -Chonsu. Annual celebrations of importance to the temple in Karnak were held here, This was the case in the time of Amenhotep III. After the temple was enlarged in the time of Ramses II, the royal ka was worshiped here.
In this way, the temple was part of the cult of the living ruler and was his most important national temple. Ramses II decided to add a Great Courtyard and a huge pylon to the existing temple.
In this way, during the XXX Dynasty, the avenue of sphinxes was set up or restored to the sanctuary in Karnak. Alexander the Great introduced slight changes to the temple in front of the sanctuary (room in the bar) and Filip Arridajos (portal in front of the entrance to the Processional Courtyard of Amenhotep III). In the time of Theodosius, the South Harem fell into disrepair, and the sanctuary was converted into a church. Most of the ruins began to be covered with sands. In Arab times, in the Courtyard of Ramses, on the walls of its eastern part, the mosque of the local saint Abu Haggag was built.
The location of the temple in Luxor proves its subordination to the Amun complex in Karnak. If it was an independent building, its main pylon would face the Nile. Here the façade opens onto the processional road to Karnak, which is marked out by two rows of human-headed sphinxes set for King Nectanebo I. (XXX dynastia).
In the north-west of the pre-temple courtyard you can see the remains of the Roman chapel of Serapis from the time of Hadrian (126 r. neither.) with the statue of Isis.
Great pylon from the time of Ramesses II (ok. 1260 r. p.n.e.) it has sandstone walls covered with shallow reliefs depicting the victories of Ramses II in the war against the Hittites.
On the right you can see the council of war and the king in the chariot. On the left, the archer king gallops across the battlefield, shocking enemies. Pentuer's Poem praising the military successes at Kadesh is written in hieroglyphs. Later kings also decorated the pylon (m.in. from the Nubian dynasty). On the left, almost above the entrance, there is a relief with king Shabaka making a ritual run before Amon-Min.
Do XIX w. the entrance to the tabernacle was flanked by two obelisks of pink Aswan granite (25 m in height), standing on a base decorated with four sun-worshiping baboons. Only one has survived to our times. On both sides of the entrance you can see two granite colossi of Ramses II (15,5 m in height).
Courtyard of Ramesses II
Behind the pylon, the courtyard in front of the temple of Amenhotep III begins, where Ramses II built his courtyard (51 on 57 m).
This is the Christmas courtyard (usechet-chefet-her) Temple of Ramses Meramoon United with Eternity. It is surrounded on three sides by a colonnade. On the interior walls of the pylon and colonnade, there are inscriptions and reliefs illustrating the sacred ceremonies. At the back of the courtyard, on the frieze on the right (the lower part has been preserved), the procession is approaching the temple, to offer Amon a salad, symbol of fertility.
On the right, right next to the entrance, there is a triple chapel on the shoulders of Amun, built behind Thotmes III and Hatshepsut., Mut i Chonsu.
There is a mosque in the eastern corner of the colonnade and the pylon (XIX w.) and the tomb of the Muslim saintly husband Abu el-Iaggag, deceased in 1243 r. This part of the temple complex has only recently been studied (December 2007 r.) on the occasion of the renovation of the mosque.
In front of the entrance to the part built by Amenhotep III there are two huge sitting statues of Amenhotep III made of granite, later usurped by Ramesses II. The throne is decorated with the traditional sema-taui symbol, connecting Upper and Lower Egypt into a single state.