Building AchievementsRamses the Great - The Pharaohs - The People
The Infamous Pharaoh who built many of the best known Monuments that remain standing today
As mentioned in his Early Reign, Ramses began his building projects immediately upon his accession to the Throne and this continued throughout his time as King.
Pi Ramses, Capital City
Ramses built his new Capital City in the Delta region of Egypt which gave him faster access to his Norther Borders.
The City was constructed on a specific layout and included everything any of the populace, nobility or royalty might conceivably require.
Including everything he would need to provision his army; one of the largest Smelting Factories ever found in Egypt to arm the Army; Stables with training and exercising areas; and production and repair areas for the Chariotry.
Once finished it was slated to be the most beautiful city ever constructed in Egypt, even outshining the magnificence of Waset, modern day Luxor.
Karnak Temple, Waset
Over the length of his reign, Ramses made several additions to Karnak Temple. In no particular order, these are:
- In front of the 2nd Pylon, known as “Illuminating Thebes”, he added two Colossi depicting himself in front of it which regrettably do not exist today apart from one set feet
- At the Precinct of Montu Pharaoh added a forecourt and 2 Obelisks
- In the Temple of Khonsupakherod, at the Precinct of Mut, Ramses had this rededicated to himself and the God Amun Ra. He erected the Forecourt, a Pylon, two Statues of himself and dedicated two large alabaster Stelae on site in front of the Temple’s First Pylon: One explaining Pharaoh’s work at the Temple and the Second confirming his marriage to a Hittite Princess
- Ramses commissioned the Temple of Pharaoh Ramses II which is also known as the Temple of the Hearing Ear. It was located directly behind Pharaoh Tuthmose III’s Heb-Sed Festival Hall. It was where the populace would approach the Hall and the priests who ran it as a Temple and ask for their intervention with the Deity on their behalf. These enquiries were known as Petitions and were dealt with by the lower levels of the Priesthood
- The largest Hypostyle Hall in Egypt, between the 2nd and 3rd Pylons, was commenced in part by Ramses’ father, Pharaoh Seti I, but was mainly built by Ramses exceed his father’s expectations. When finished it was 103 meters wide by 53 meters long, and had 134 Papyrus Columns, dedicated to God Amun Ra. It was used as the Place where the Royal Cult was celebrated especially where the God Amun Ra could meet with the Ennead during the annual Festivals. Click here to learn more about the “Great Nine” or the Ennead. To discover what Festivals were held in Ancient Egypt, click here.
There is nothing depicted inside or outside the Hypostyle Hall, either in its architecture or its decoration that did not serve a specific function and religious dedication. The most striking feature in ancient times would have been the difference between the light which penetrated every area in the First Courtyard before walking into the relative darkness of the Hypostyle Hall. Imagine the adjustment your eyes would have needed you to make from the Egyptian sun into the darkness, closeness and quietness of this holy space.
Through the middle of the Hypostyle Hall has 12 larger Columns which are each 21 meters high and are depicted as open papyrus flowers with a diameter at the top of 5.4 meters wide. The Hypostyle Hall’s Papyrus Flowered Columns represent the Primordial Marsh from the beginning of time in accordance with the Ancient Egyptian creation myth. Click here to learn about their Creation Story. This was the only portion of the Hall that was substantially lit from the Slit Windows which were cut into the roof and that the very tops of the supporting Columns. Light would flow at sunrise straight through the Temple’s Central Aisle inside the Hypostyle Hall on the Winter and Summer solstices. Outside the Central Aisle are the 122 Supporting Columns which are 12 meters high and are depicted as closed bud papyrus flowers.
Both Seti and Ramses throughout their artwork within the Hall over emphasised their own “heroic” role in their Military Campaigns in order to prove that they were upholding the Ma’at and played the lead role in order winning out over the chaos of other empires trying to impeach on Egypt. The Pharaohs are always depicted as the largest figure who is seen to be flattening his enemies physically and bending them to his own will and that of the Deities that Pharaoh represents; in this case, in the precinct of Amun Ra, the God Amun Ra. All profits are presented to the God Amun-Ra for his own disposal as thanks for his assistance in the defeat of the enemies against Egypt. Use propaganda tools for Egypt’s Empire status and also for Egypt’s religious beliefs being superior to other communities.
Ramesseum Mortuary Temple, Waset
Click on the Image to visit the Mortuary Temple
The Ramesseum is found on the Theban Necropolis between the Mortuary Temples of Pharaoh Merneptah and Pharaoh Tuthmose IV. From historical records, we know that Pharaoh commenced the construction of this Temple shortly after his reign commenced. He completed work on his Mortuary Temple after 20 years and it was decorated with scenes from Pharaoh’s famous ‘Victory’ at Kadesh.
The highlights are:
- 2 Statues of 19-meter-high Ramses seated on his Throne were inside the Second Courtyard, each are thought to have weighed 1,000 Tons
- 48 Columned and roofed Hypostyle Hall which is decorated with Reliefs of the Deities and his children
- Temples dedicated to Queen Tuya and Queen Nefertari, Pharaoh Seti I
- Library with over 10,000 papyrus scrolls
- A famous House of Life Artisan and Scribal School
Temples at Abu Simbel, Nubia
Built by Ramses II to show the might of his power to his subjected populace in Nubia, to awe them into obedience, and dedicated in Regnal Year 24.
The Great Temple was dedicated to the Pharaoh himself and to the Gods Rahorakhty, Amun and Ptah, and decorated with artwork and reliefs which all to commemorate his great military victories.
Whilst the Smaller Temple was dedicated to Great Royal Wife, Queen Nefertari, and the Goddess Hathor.
Tomb QV66, Valley of the Queens, Waset
Click on the Image to visit her Tomb
Queen Nefertari’s Tomb is considered by many Egyptologists to be the most refined and beautifully decorated of all the Tombs in either the Valleys of the Kings, Queens, or Nobles.
Regrettably nearly all the Queens Funerary Equipment was looted in antiquity and so we cannot know today how lavishly Pharaoh furnished her Tomb for her trip to the Afterlife.
We can assume based on the way he revered her in life that it was uniquely stunning.