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First Pylon & Courtyard

Luxor Temple - Theban Temples - T vs MT - Thebes - The Places

This First Pylon and First Courtyard were commissioned and erected by Pharaoh Ramses II. The Pylon is 24 meters high and is decorated with Reliefs from Pharaoh’s Military Campaigns against the Hittites, as with his Reliefs in The Great Temple at Abu Simbel and Karnak Temple.

Barque Shrines

If you looked immediately to your right on entering the Courtyard you see the Triple Barque Shrine which was erected by Pharaoh Hatshepsut and the usurped by her successor, Pharaoh Tuthmose III. These were commissioned to act as the Chapels for the 3 Sacred Barques of the Theban Triad: The God Amun, his consort, the Goddess Mut, and their son, the God Khonsu. To learn more about the Theban Triad, click here.

Each Repository had its own Niches which would have held Statues of the Deity it held. The Reliefs throughout show Pharaoh making offerings to the Deities and receiving their blessings in return.

Church & Mosque

As you walk in through the Pylon you can easily see the Abu Haggag Mosque to the left and above. The Mosque was built in 640AD on top of the ground level at the time which as you can see was roughly 15 meters higher than the ancient and current ground level. The Mosque was constructed on the site of a former Roman Church erected in 395AD which the columns and some paintings can still be seen.

Courtyard

The Courtyard was built as a parallelogram instead of the standard rectangular shape in order to be oriented alongside the River Nile. Its Walls show Reliefs of Pharaoh Ramses II making offerings to the Deities. The Courtyard is surrounded by a double row of Columns with Papyrus Bud Tops which were designed specifically to hold up the roof that the Courtyard original had.

On the Back Wall, the Reliefs show a Procession of 17 of Pharaoh’s sons, all adorned with their Names and their Titles; and a Procession of sacred Bulls being led to their Sacrifice.

Statues

In between the Columns on the southern side of the Courtyard are statues of Pharaoh Ramses II in his Osiride manner.

At the exit to the First Courtyard were 2 seated Statues of Pharaoh Ramses II which mirrored the 2 Statues at the Entrance to Luxor Temple. These First Courtyard Statues are also representative of Ka Statues. The Ka is one of nine parts of the Ancient Egyptian Soul represents the physical and well as the spiritual soul. As Luxor Temple is thought now to be a rejuvenation Temple these Ka Statues are in place as it is Pharaoh Ramses II’s permanent way of asking the Deities to help his Ka even when he is not at the Temple. Or a Cult Statue of the Pharaoh in an expression of his Royal Ka.