Luxor TempleTheban Temples - T vs MT - Thebes - The Places
Ipet Resut, “The Southern Sanctuary”
The Temple is situated alongside the Eastern bank of the River Nile in the heart of modern-day Luxor, previously known as Thebes or Waset. Come with me on a journey as I guide you around.
The Temple was probably built on the site of an earlier Shrine or Temple which is thought to have been commissioned by Pharaoh Hatshepsut as the Southern Sanctuary to her Mortuary Temple or Northern Sanctuary. Both were places for the Theban Triad to visit during the Ancient Festivals of rejuvenation and renewal.
The Luxor Temple we see today was ordered to be constructed in the 18th Dynasty by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, to learn more about Pharaoh Amenhotep III, click here. Built from Sandstone from the Quarry at Gebel el Silsila, it is thought by Egyptologists to have been used as the Coronation and Rejuvenation Area for the Pharaohs, their Reigns and their Ka; and as the rejuvenation home for the God Amun-Ra and his consort, the Goddess Mut during the Festival of Opet. To understand the relationship of the Theban Triad of Gods, click here. To learn about the Festival of Opet, click here.
The Layout of the Temple aligns directly with Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s Mortuary Temple on the Western Bank of the River Nile.
He built his sections of the Temple in 2 stages, one he commenced early on in his reign with the second being towards the end of his 40 Regnal years. The Temple was completed by his grandson, Pharaoh Tutankhamun with additions shortly thereafter made by Pharaoh Horemheb and Pharaoh Ramses II.
Click on the relevant Image below to learn about the lives of the Pharaoh: Tutankhamun; Horemheb or Ramses II
Later, other Pharaohs have added their own touches, but the main later contributors were:
- Alexander the Great to whom a Granite Shrine remains on site
- The Romans who added: the Enclosure Wall; Southern Gate; East Tetrastyle; Western Gate; Shrine outside the front entrance; West Tetrastyle; River gate with a Quay, and a Sanctuary
- At least 2 western Coptic Churches
- Modern Mosque
Discovery and Excavation
By the mid 1800s there had been a Muslim population living in and around Luxor Temple since the 600’s AD. As a direct result, the current and ancient ground level of the Temple was covered in a mound of earth, rubble and urban rubbish roughly 15 meters high disguising what it hid below. The modern-day Mosque, “Abu Haggag Mosque”, was built here in 640 AD not knowing what laid beneath.
The excavation of Luxor Temple was commenced in 1884 by Professor Gaston Maspero and continued until 1960 when the whole area of Luxor Temple was revealed.