Luxor Temple is located on the Nile River in Egypt. It was built around 1400 BC in a first form and then expanded over generations of rulers. Both its monumental architecture and its ornate decorations on columns and walls act as a tourist magnet.
The majestic Luxor Temple is located in the tourist city of Luxor and is one of our top 10 sights of Egypt. It is located pretty much in the middle of the river between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sudanese border. Since 1979, it has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Karnak Temple, which is about 3km away.
Origin of the Luxor temple
The Luxor temple was built around 1400 BC in a first form and then expanded over generations of rulers who tried to outdo each other. The Luxor Temple was dedicated to the fertility god Amun, his consort Mut and his son, the moon god Chons.
Initially it was built by Amenophis III, the station chapel in the first courtyard was built by the pharaoh Thutmosis III, son of Hatshepsut. Further clients were:
- Amenophis VI (also known as Akhenaten), who expelled the name of Amun from the temple and wanted to consecrate it to Aton
- the young pharaoh Tutankhamun, under whose instruction the Hall of Columns was further built
- Pharaoh Haremhab, who had the Hall of Columns completed around 1300 B.C.
Ramses II and Alexander the Great also had a hand in the expansion and remodeling of the Luxor Temple. At the time of the Romans, the Luxor temple was expanded into a fortress complex. In contrast to the funerary temples of the pharaohs, such as Abu Simbel or the temple of Hatshepsut, the Luxor temple was intended purely as a residence for the gods.
The Luxor Temple was discovered by the famous French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, the then director of the Egyptian Museum. Still after ten years, during the restoration work, a hidden chamber with 20 statues was discovered, which are now exhibited in the Luxor Museum.
Visit Luxor Temple
The temple complex, which is 250 meters long in total, impresses even from a distance with its monumental outer appearance. The gigantic walls and sculptures make every visitor seem tiny. The ornate decorations on columns and walls also astonish the viewer. A massive processional road, formerly lined with ram sphinx statues, leads to the Karnak Temple, located about 3km to the north.
Parisians will be familiar with the 25-meter-high obelisk in front of the massive gateway of the Luxor Temple. Its original twin served as a gift from Sultan Muhammad Ali to the King of France in 1836. In compensation, he received a tower clock for the alabaster mosque in Cairo. Today, the obelisk stands at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The two 15 meter high statues on the 65 meter wide pylon (entrance area to the temple) represent Ramses II. The high walls of the portal to the First Court also bear witness to the exploits of Ramses II, including the Battle of Kadesh.
In the eastern part of the First Court is enthroned the mosque of the local saint of Luxor, Abu el-Haggag, which was built on the temple complex hidden in the sand. Up to its foundation, which is today about 5m high, the temple was buried before its excavation. From there, a passage flanked by 16m high papyrus flower columns leads to the Second Courtyard.
Continue to the Hall of Columns and the Holy of Holies with the sanctuary for the barque of the god Amun, which was brought here in a procession from the Karnak temple in the course of the Opet festival on Egyptian New Year's Day. The images all around are representations of Alexander the Great, who even had himself crowned by Amun in a relief. This ceremony was otherwise reserved only for the pharaohs, who officially received their divinity in the temple of Luxor.
From there, one enters the so-called Birth Hall, which shows Amenophis III from conception by the god Amun to his birth. The depictions are amazingly similar to the biblical birth of Christ as the Son of God.