West Thebes lies on the west bank of the Nile, in front of Luxor. For the ancients, they were inextricably linked with death. The Egyptians believed, that the souls of the dead travel west, where is the Land of the Dead and where the Sun is hiding. Hence, they located their necropolises on the west bank. During the Old Kingdom, the pyramids also rose in the western desert. Royal tombs since the times of the New Kingdom, separated from the mortuary temple, they were hidden in lonely rocky valleys. The royal mummies were buried in tombs carved into the rock, extending up to hundreds of meters. The corridors turned at unexpected angles, running down or up, and from time to time vertical windows appeared on the road. In addition, the entrance openings were masked and closed doors were sealed. All for this, lest the robbers break into the underground chambers and disturb the peace of the dead. Unfortunately, most of the tombs were plundered in antiquity. Even the forgotten tomb of Tutankhamun was immediately attacked by robbers, but they were driven away. Important dignitaries were also buried in the west. The tombs for themselves and their family were also carved by craftsmen employed in the construction of the royal necropolis. To fulfill cult rituals, kings ordered mortuary temples to be erected, the so-called. homes of millions of years. Along the border of the fields in the space of almost 7,5 km there are mortuary temples of kings: Ramesseum, temple of Seti I., Merenptaha, Medinet Habu - mortuary temple and palace of Ramesses III, Colossi of Memnon and the palace in Malkata. Their most important function was to worship the deceased rulers buried in the mountain valleys. They also served other purposes: gods were worshiped in them, especially Amon-Re and Re-Horachte. Whereas the "temples of millions of years" were on the verge of life and death, are the tombs of kings, dignitaries and craftsmen were situated far beyond the border of life - in the area, ruled by Anubis, jackal-shaped patron of the dead, pointing the way in the Underworld to meet Osiris. Kings were buried in the valley which is today called the Valley of the Kings and in the Western Valley, and queens and royal children – mostly in the Valley of the Queens. This applies to monarchs of the nineteenth dynasty and the following, since most of the burials of royal women from the 18th Dynasty have been found to this day. In the Valley of the Mighty (The Dignitaries Valley) and the Asasif cemetery are the tombs of the magnates. Near the village of artisans in Dajr al-Madina (Deir el Medina), employed in the construction and decoration of royal tombs, there is a necropolis of craftsmen. At Deir el-Bahri, the three rulers of Egypt erected their mortuary temples – Mentuhotep Nebhepetre II, Hatszepsut i Thotmes III. But the west bank is not only the domain of the dead, there are also alive here – villagers, m.in. the famous Al-Kurna. Most of the people on the west bank work in the tourism industry on the eastern side of the river.
Crossing the Nile
Reaching the west bank is much easier than a dozen or so years ago thanks to the Luxor Bridge, lying 7 km south of the city in the El Dabiya area. Giant traffic jams form here during the peak season. The traditional way is to cross the shore by a local ferry that runs very frequently during the day. Ferries depart from the National Ferryboat at Shari 'al-Bahr (Corniche), and they land near the village of Al-Gazira. You can use a motor boat or a felucca, but you have to agree on the price first. The fastest way to get to the west bank is by speedboat, called in English launch or in Arabic zamak.
West Bank villages
Most tourists visit the villages on their way to monuments and during stops at shops selling alabaster and papyrus.
Tourists most often visit the village of Dra ’Abu an-Naga (near the tombs of dignitaries), where the alabaster workshops are located.
The eyes are attracted by houses with bright drawings of tourists in a naive style. On a hill in front of the Valley of the Kings, the house of Howard Carter rises, which is supposed to be turned into a museum. The house of archaeologists is nearby (Stoppelear House) by the famous Hassan Fathy.
There are also houses of archaeologists from France, Japan and Germany.
In the Polish House near Deir el-Bahri, there are conservators and archaeologists working for the Hatshepsut temple.
During the earthquake of 27 r. p.n.e. the colossi have broken, and the air squeezing through the cracks of the northern colossus made sounds like groans in the morning. This phenomenon was described by the Greek traveler Strabo, residing in Egypt in years 25-24 p.n.e. The Greeks quickly created the legend of the "singing stone", linking it with the myth of Memnon. The picturesque story thus advertised the colossi, that hundreds of ancient "tourists" were drawn to them. And so Amenhotep III became an ancient hero, son of Jutrzenka and Tython, king of Ethiopia and Egypt. Memnon became famous at Troy, by killing Amphiloch, syna Nestora, but fell at the hand of Achilles. Dawn begged Zeus to resurrect her son for a while. Every morning, when Dawn touched the statue with her rays, he replied with a mournful cry. The legend has its natural causes: the gap in the statue caused the air to vibrate as the temperature changed before sunrise. Ancient travelers sat around stone colossi, they recited poetry, they ate and drink and waited for a miracle. Some people placed on the legs of the figures inscriptions about their fascination with the phenomenon.
Even Emperor Hadrian himself came here with his entire court. Memnon greeted the emperor three times, what Julia Babilla had engraved, then taken poet. The last inscriptions come from the times of Septimius Severus, which, with the best intention of St. 199 r. secure the cracked torso of the colossus. Then Memnon was silent forever. The fame of the colossi began to fade and until the nineteenth century. monuments remained forgotten. The southern colossus also has an interesting past. When it split into two parts, torso crashed to the ground.
Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III
Colossi Mamnoud from p. 286 these are two statues at the entrance to the now defunct pylon of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III.
Sam kompleks (700 on 55 m), designed by Amenhotep son of Hapu, it was larger than the temple of Amun at Karnak. It was dedicated to Amon and Memphis Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. The tabernacle was situated in an area that was periodically flooded by the waters of the Nile. It was not completed until the death of Amenhotep III. Finally, Merenptah used the blocks to build his temple. Some of the statues were moved to the Mut district in Karnak.
Lots of statues, including the lying colossus of the Ramesseum (Ozymandias) was taken by Ramesses II from the complex of Amenhotep III.