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Thebes : Waset

Capital Cities

What: Main City of the 4th Upper Nome, was the Capital City for vast spans in the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom, and a Cult Centre

When: From approx. 3,200BC it was used as a small Trading Station. Upgraded to a Capital City during the Second Intermediate Period. It’s peak occurred between 1,550 to 1,050BC

Where: On the East Bank of the River Nile, 800km south of the Mediterranean Sea and 675km from Cairo; now known as Luxor. The West Bank of the River Nile, opposite Luxor, is known as the Theban Necropolis; home to the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queen, Tombs of the Nobles, Deir El Medina, Mortuary Complexes and Palaces

Size: 93 squared km with a Population: which Peaked at around 120,000 people around 1,200BC

Egyptian Name: City of the Sceptre; Southern City; Heliopolis of the South; City of Amun

Festivals celebrated: Festival of the Valley; Festival of I Shemu or the Festival of Low Water; Festival of Khoiak; Feast of Opet

The Places 

East Bank

Luxor Museum

The Museum which displays a raft of artefacts from ancient Thebes since its conception in 1975. Found on the Corniche in Luxor, it contains Coffins and Mummy’s; New Kingdom Period Weapons; beautiful example of Canopic Jars; Model Boats from the Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun; The Talatats Wall of Akhenaten demolished and recovered from the 9th Pylon of Karnak Temple; and Statues of numerous Pharaohs

Luxor Temple, The Southern Sanctuary

An appropriate name for the Temple where the Theban Triad went to celebrate the Opet Festival, often with Pharaoh in attendance. For more information on the Theban Triad, click here.  For more information on the Opet Festival, click hereBuilt in approx. 1,390BC by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, and continued by further Pharaohs, it is linked to Karnak Temple by the Avenue of Sphinx.

Mummification Museum

 The Museum, established in 1997, concentrates on the art of Mummification and seeks to give the visitor an understanding about the complexities of Mummification in Ancient Egypt. This is not limited to Human Mummification but also takes in the Mummification of Cats, Rams, Fish and Crocodiles. Exhibits include the Tools and Materials used by Embalmers including Canopic Jars, Shabtis and Amulets, the Coffins and their human occupants.

Karnak Temple, The Most Selected of Places

The name equates the majesty and the grandeur of this fabulous monument which was the main Temple complex for Amun and the Theban Triad for hundreds of years. For more information on the Theban Triad, click here

Pharaoh Senusret I first venerated the site during the Middle Kingdom Period which was almost continually added to by every Pharaoh throughout the New Kingdom period, it is linked to Luxor Temple by the Avenue of Sphinx.

Theban Temples on West & East Banks

Click on the Image to learn more

West Bank

Mortuary Temples

Thebes is home to many great Temples including those of Pharaoh Seti I; his son, Pharaoh Ramses II; and his namesake Ramses III. But what is a Mortuary Temple? 

A stone, purpose-built building; erected and maintained on the instructions of the Pharaoh during Pharaoh’s lifetime. After Pharaoh’s death, the Mortuary Temple became the place to venerate the deceased Pharaoh via the Pharaoh’s Ka Statue. To deposit food and objects for Pharaoh’s use in the Afterlife to ensure Pharaoh intervened with the Deities on behalf of Egypt. For more information about Mortuary Temples, click here. 

Valley of the Nobles

A large discrepancy between the decoration in the Tombs of the Pharaoh’s and the Queens but not in beauty but rather in content.

The Nobles, rather than concentrating on Religious Texts and Spells from the Book of the Dead, decorate their Tomb Walls with scenes of daily life, feasting and tributes to themselves and their families.

Deir El Bahri, Monastery of the North

A group of Tombs and Mortuary Temples found on the West Bank of the River Nile, opposite Luxor, part of the Theban Necropolis. It includes the Mortuary Temples of Pharaoh Mentuhotep II, Pharaoh Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Thutmose III; as well as Tombs for Priests and Nobles of the Royal Court. Building started in the 11th Pharaonic Dynasty and was joined by more monuments during the 18th Dynasty

Malkata Palace City Complex

The City built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III includes a huge Port and Harbour; the Royal Palaces; Temple of Amun used for the Heb Sed Festivals; Canals and Pharaoh’s Mortuary Temple 

Valley of the Kings

In use as a burial site for the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt for nearly 500 years. Infamous for the golden strewn miniscule Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun; the best decorated Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I; and Tomb KV5 the largest Tomb in the Valley, constructed for Pharaoh Ramses II’s sons. Located between 2 Valleys and surrounded by the mountains in the heart of the Theban Necropolis, home to 63 tombs and chambers.

Deir el-Medina, Pa Demi, Set Ma’at

A planned Community home for the Worker’s and Artisan’s Village which was carefully planned and laid out for them by Pharaoh Amenhotep I in approx. 1530BC and it continued in use until around 1,069BC. The residents worked on the Tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Queens and sometimes the Valley of the Nobles and lived with their families and support workers in the Village which was located in the middle of the Desert, West Bank of the Nile in the area known as the Theban Necropolis. But why were the workers and their families isolated from the population? Primarily for security reasons, for more information, click on the image above.

Valley of the Queens, The Place of Beauty

Uniquely, the Valley of the Queens does not just contain Tombs of the Queens of Egypt, but also the Valley of Prince Ahmose; Valley of the Dolmen; Valley of the Three Pits; and the Valley of the Rope, with a total of 110 Tombs. The Valley is close to the Worker’s Village and the Valley of the Kings and boasted a Grotto to the Goddess Hathor at its entrance; these are thought to be the reasonings behind its chosen location.