Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Edfu Temple Historical Information

It lies in Edfu town, 123 km north of Aswan on the west bank of the Nile. It dates back to the Ptolemaic period.It was dedicated to the worship of god Horus represented as a falcon. It is one of the most beautiful Egyptian temples, distinguished by its huge splendid structure that blends Pharaonic and Greek architecture.
Its grandeur competes with Luxor temples. It is the second largest temple after Karnak. It also houses the Nilometer and a huge pylon at the entrance. It was discovered in 1860 by the famous archaeologist Mariette. On its walls are reliefs which depict the history of Ptolemy's and reflect religious belief and art style of the period.

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Kom Ombo Temple Historical Information

Located in the town of Kom-Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemy's, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.
The Temple known as Kom Ombo is actually two temples consisting of a Temple to Sobek and a Temple of Haroeris. In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank near here. The Temple has scant remains, due first to the changing Nile, then the Copts who once used it as a church, and finally by builders who used the stones for new buildings.
Everything is duplicated along the main axis. There are two entrances, two courts, two colonades, two hypostyle halls and two sanctuaries. There were probably even two sets of priests. The left, or northern side is dedicated to Haroeris (sometimes called Harer, Horus the Elder) who was the falcon headed sky god and the right to Sobek (the crocodile headed god). The two gods are accompanied by their families. They include Haroeris' wife named Tesentnefert, meaning the good sister and his son, Panebtawy. Sobeck likewise is accompanied by his consort, Hathor and son, Khonsu.
Foundations are all that are left of the original Pylon. Beyond the Pylon, there was once a staircase in the court that leads to a roof terrace. The court has a columned portico and central altar. There is a scene of the King leaving his palace escorted by standards. Near the sanctuary is a purification scene. On either side of the door to the pronaos are columns inscribed with icons of the lotus (south) and papyrus (north), symbolizing the 'two lands' of Egypt.
In the southwest corner of the pronaos is the one column that does not echo the duality of the temples. Here, there are scenes depicting purification of the King, his coronation and his consecration of the Temple. The ceiling has astronomical images.
The hypostyle hall has papyrus capitals on the columns. Here, there is an inventory of the scared places of Egypt, the gods of the main towns and the local and national festivals.
In the anti chamber, there are scenes depicting the goddess Seshat launching the building of the temple, followed by a scene of the completed temple with the king throwing natron in a purification ceremony. The staircase leading to the roof is all that remains of the offering hall.
Statues to the gods and the builders of the temple once occupied the net room just before the sanctuaries. The ceiling of the pure place to the north still remains with an image of Nut. There is little left of the sanctuaries.

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The Nubian Museum Historical Information

The Nubian Museum harbors the history of the "Land of Gold" as the words Nubia in the Hieroglyphic language of ancient Egypt in which pictorial symbols are used to represent meaning and sounds, means the "Land of Gold"...Hence, this land, over times, was abounding in monumental treasures.

The Nubia Museum, in Aswan, as a matter of fact, is deemed to be one of the most important Egyptian museums. A number of factors have combined together, yielding the
magnificence of such museum, as it is the only unique open museum of its kind.

Preparing this museum lasted for ten years, all dedicated for hard work to come up with such lovely museum. Let alone, it stands as a wonderful model of international cultural cooperation representing in United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In April 6 th, 1959, the Egyptian government appealed to the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), seeking help to salvage the monumental sites in Nubia, hence, the area between Aswan and the Sudan was inundated by the Nile waters especially after completing the Aswan Dam.

The response of the (UNESCO), in fact, came fast, as it called upon the international community to contribute to this project.

Since then, (UNESCO) has been a key player in the archaeological field in Egypt.

In no time, the executive committee, comprising representative of 15 member states, was set up, and was commissioned with studying technical, monumental and financial reports with the aim of providing the (UNESCO) with basic information required to effectively implement the project.

The (UNESCO), obviously, has contributed much to nudging the entire world to pay more attention to saving such invaluable monuments. By the end of 1975, and as a result of this relentless support on the part of the (UNESCO), the donations influx - contributed by 24 countries - amounted to $ 123304.

Unsurprisingly then that the operation of saving the Nubian monuments was described as the greatest in the history of saving monuments

The operation, as known, included dismantling Abu Simbel Temple, inter alia, moving it to another area to be reassembled once again. Abu Simbel Temple was completely dismantled to 1036 pieces, each with average of 7 to 30 tons, as they were rebuilt on the top of the mountain overlooking the genuine spots, drawn by the ancient Egyptians 3000 years ago.

The world outcry, however, was translated into many concrete actions; donations to salvage the deteriorated-condition monuments, a number of excavation missions - which pursued their tasks in such hard conditions in areas extend 500 kilometers along the Nile banks.

A number of 40 missions have taken part in this great but difficult job, unearthing several priceless treasures dating back to pre-history times; Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Islamic and Coptic.

Fossils, which were discovered during excavations, undoubtedly provided full knowledge about Nubian life and its development along ages.

In January, 1975, the General Egyptian Authority for Antiquities submitted a request to the (UNESCO) seeking the organisation's assistance to preserve the ancient Egyptian monuments, through establishing a city for museums harbouring a cluster of open museums with a view to displaying rare and wonderful monuments of various ages.

Being the main supporter to save the Nubian monuments, the (UNESCO) approved this request, and entrusted the executive committee, responsible for salvaging operations, with assuming the tasks of this new project. This committee was named the "The Executive Committee for the International Campaign for Establishing the International Museum of the Monuments of Nubia in Aswan, and the National Museum for Ancient Egyptian Museum in Cairo".

Since February, 1981, a number of symposiums and seminars were held for contribution to this great project. It was the first time in the history of the (USECO) to decide launching an international campaign to establish local museum. This, however, could be ascribed to the magnificent monumental treasures Egypt has.

On February 4th 1986, the foundation stone of the museum of Nubia was laid down, playing new effective role that was derived from the spring of culture and civilization at both home and international levels.

To the Egyptians, the museum is to display life over centuries. As for foreign visitors, the museum will show the history of such unique area, as a source of knowledge for researchers from around the globe.

The International Museum of Nubia is located in Aswan on an area of 50,000 square meters, 7000 of which are excluded to building, while the rest designed to be the yard of the museum.

The building has three floors for displaying and housing, in addition to a library and information center. The largest part of the museum is occupied by the monumental pieces, reflecting phases of the development of the Nubian culture and civilization.

Three thousands pieces of antiq., representing various ages; Geological, Pharaonic, Roman, Coptic and Islamic, were registered. The open-door exhibition includes 90 rare monumental pieces, while the internal halls contain 50 invaluable pieces dating back to the pre-history times, 503 pieces belong to Pharaonic time, 52 of Coptic era, 103 of Islamic age, 140 of Nubian time, in addition to 360 pieces having the tang of Aswan.

The work in this unique edifice lasted for 11 years straight, and cost LE 60 million.

The museum of Nubia gained this unique position simply because it harbors uniquemonuments not in any elsewhere.

It houses the statute of Ramses II, which was laid at the very forefront of the Museum, statute of Amenras the spiritual wife of Amen, she is of Nubian origin. It, also, has the head of the Shpatka, of the Nubian origin, made of rosy granite, head of black granite of Tahraqa, the Nubian King, whose reign during the 7th century BC was said to be full of prosperity. There is a temple of his name with gold-plated pillars.

There are, also, four mummies for nobles, which were found in Kashmatkh town in Nubia.

The museum, as well, houses several models and styles of the Nubian heritage, the panorama of the Nile, depicting live image of the River Nile streaming through its banks.

There is also a model for the Nubian-style house, typically copied to mirror the nature of life in Nubia.

All pieces exhibited in the museum reflect the character of the Nubia over history and display how it merged with the Islamic civilization on one hand and the mother civilization of
Egypt on the other.

So, the museum of Nubia plays vital role not only at the level of promoting Nubia to the entire world but also at the level of maintaining monuments and supporting researchers, interested in Nubia, from around the globe.

This however could be achieved through the museum's study center and the documentation centers which publish more information on the "Land of Gold" in Egypt, the past, the present and the future.

Nubia Museum, which hosts 3000 monumental pieces of several times, ranks tenth in the list of the museums inaugurated in Egypt over the past three years. An array of important museums, however, has been inaugurated; Mohamed Nagui Museum, Modern Egyptian Art Museum, Museum of Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil and his wife, Museum of Ahmed Desouki, Port Said Museum for Modern Arts, Taha Hussein Museum, and the Mummification Museum in Luxor.

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Monastery of St. Simeon Historical Information

Those on a fairly standard tour of Egypt that includes the Aswan area will most likely visit St. Simeon (Deir Anba Sim'an), the monastery otherwise known as Anba Hatre. It is very likely that this will also include their one substantial camel ride (about 15 minutes), which is how these ruins, located some one thousand two hundred meters from the west bank oppose the southern tip of the island of Elephantine, are usually accessed. The Monastery was given the name St. Simeon by archaeologists and travelers, but earlier Arabic and Coptic sources called it Anba Hatre (Hidra, Hadri, Hadra), after an anchorite who was consecrated a bishop of Syene (now Aswan) by Patriarch Theophilus (385-412 AD). Anba Hatre married at the age of eighteen. Tradition provides that just after the wedding, he encountered a funeral procession which inspired him to preserved his chastity and later become a disciple of Saint Baiman. After eight years of ascetic practices under the supervision of his teacher, he retired to the desert and applied himself to the study of the life of Saint Antony. He died during the time of Theodosius I. Little actual archaeological attention has really ever been paid to this ancient site. It was examined and published by Grossmann in 1985, and in 1998 the inspectors of the antiquities removed some debris from the church, but apparently little else was accomplished.

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Mausoleum of the Aga Khan Historical Information

This is the Mausoleum of the spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shi'ite sect (as were the Fatimid) based principally in India but with followers around the world. It is a very elegant pink granite structure of late 1950 origin, which also resembles the Fatimid tombs in Cairo. Members of this sect consider themselves to be the direct spiritual descendants of the Fatimid. The Mausoleum has an excellent view, including Aga Khan's white villa below, and is near the Monastery of St. Simeons on the west bank at Aswan. His Begun, or wife, still lives in the villa three months of the year.
The Aga Khan was extremely wealthy. On his birthday in 1945, he was weighed in diamonds which he then distributed to his followers. It should be noted, also, that he was a large man. Every day that his widow was at the Villa, she places a Red Rose on his white Carrara marble tomb. His widow, Omme Habibeh, popularly referred to as "The Begum" died on July 1st, 2000. The other months, a gardener fills this function, and it has been rumored that at one point, not a single rose could be found in Egypt, so for almost a week, roses were flown in from Paris by private jet.
Mohammed Shah Aga Khan was educated in Europe and succeeded his father in 1885 to become the 48th imam. He was succeeded by his grandson, Karim AGa Khan upon his death in 1957. The Mausoleum is no longer open to the public.

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The Tombs of the Nobles Historical Information

The northern hills of the west bank (Qubbet el-Hawwa or Qubbet el-Hawa meaning windy dome) are filled with the rock-hewn tombs of princes from the Old Kingdom to the Roman period. The 6th Dynasty tombs, some of which form linked family complexes, contain important biographical texts. Inside, the tombs are decorated with vivid wall paintings showing scenes of everyday life, hieroglyphic biographies and inscriptions telling of the noblemen's journeys into Africa. The 12th Dynasty tombs of Sarenput I (#36) and Sarenput II (#31) have the finest art, and it is said that some work in the number 31 tomb rivals that of Memphis. The Tombs are numbered, and among other's they include: Sarenput I (#36), Pepynakht (Hekayib) (#35), Harkhuf, Khunes, Sarenput II (#31), Sibni (#25), Mekhu (#26), Qubbet Al_Hawwa (Kubbet el Hawa). At night they are illuminated with hidden spotlights and can be clearly seen from Aswan.

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Kitchener's Island Historical Information

Kitchner's Island is a botanical garden, filled with exotic plants and trees imported from all over the world. It is a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in the shade. The island must be reached by boat, and is located on the other side of Elephantine Island from Aswan. The Island was given to Lord Kitchner for his campaigns in the Sudan, and he moved their and created his garden, importing plants and trees from all over the world. Today, the Egyptian government operates this popular tourist destination.

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Elephantine Island Historical Information

Elephantine Island is the largest of the Aswan area islands, and is one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, with artifacts dating to predynastic periods. This is probably due to its location at the first Cataract of the Nile, which provided a natural boundary between Egypt and Nubia. As an island, it was also easily defensible. In fact, the ancient town located in the southern part of the island was also a fortress through much of its history. At one time, there was a bridge from the mainland to the island.
Elephantine is Greek for elephant. In ancient times, the Island, as well as the southern town, was called Abu, or Yabu, which also meant elephant. The town has also been referenced as Kom, after its principle god of the island, Khnum (Khnemu) it is believed that the island received its name because it was a major ivory trading center, though in fact, it was a major trading post of many commodities. There are large boulders in the river near the island which resembled bathing elephants, particularly from afar, and this too has been suggested as a reason for the island's name.

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Temples of Nubian Historical Information

Once the ancient kingdom of Kush, Nubian houses archaeological sites of great interest: temples, fortresses and tombs. The construction of the high dam posed a great danger of over flooding the temples of Philae, Kalabsha and Abu Simbel.
The Nubians still retain their customs, traditions, language and architecture. One can enjoy a cruise Lake Nasser by boats to explore the new Nubia after relocating the flooded temples.
Temples of Nubian History Information
Temple of Kalabsha History Information:
It dates back to the Greco-Roman era. Built by the Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus and dedicated to the Nubian god Mandolis.
Temple of Beit AL-Wali History Information:
Dates back to the reign of Ramses II Its walls are decorated with bright colored reliefs depicting the military victories of the king.
Kiosk of Kertassi History Information:
Dedicated to the goddess Isis, with two magnificent Hathohic columns
Temple of Amada History Information:
The oldest temple in Nubia, built by three pharaohs of the Thutmosis dynasty
Temple of Derr History Information:
Next to Amada temple, built by Ramses II, and dedicated to the sun god Ra.
Temple of Penout History Information:
The only surviving tomb of an Egyptian viceroy in Nubia
Kasr Ibrim History Information:
The relics of an ancient citadel
Wadi al-Seboua' Temple History Information:
Constructed in the reign of Ramses II for the worship of god Amon
Temple of Dakka History Information:
Built by Amenophis II dedicated to Thot, It was reconstructed in the Graeco-Roman era

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The Unfinished Obelisk Historical Information

Much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the worlds largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by its builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed. The site has recently been renovated and equipped with tourist facilities. Nearby is the Fatimid Cemetery.

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The High Dam Historical Information

Located near Aswan, the world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam built by the British between 1898 and 1902`, 6km down river, wonderful views for visitors. From the top of the two Mile long High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nassar, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha temple in the south and the huge power station to the north.
The High Dam created a 30% increase in the cultivatable land in Egypt, and raised the water table for the Shara as far away as Algeria. The electricity producing capability of the Dam doubled Egypt's available supply.
The High Dam added a whole new aspect to Egypt and a new environment as well. The lake is some 500 miles long and at the time it was built, if not now, was the world's largest artificial lake.

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Philae Temple Historical Information

The Philae Temple or the Temple of Isis in Egypt, The word Philae (depending on whether you consider Greek or Egyptian meanings) usually carries the connotation of a remote place, or the end angle of an island. The ancient Egyptians called the island P-aaleq, which carried a dual meaning of the words “end” and “creation.”

When you read about the Philae Temple you are studying about the main temple complex that was relocated from the island of Philae to the island of Agilika, following the creation of the High Dam. The actual island of Philae doesn’t exist anymore, as it is now somewhere beneath the Lake Nasser.

The Significance of the Temple
What is the significance of the Philae Temple in Egypt? It is believed to be the former center point of worship to the goddess Isis that saw use during the Ptolemaic period of Ancient Egypt. Historians speculate that given all the different structures once found on Philae Island, the total time of construction may have taken 800 years.
The island of Philae was home to both priests as well as workingmen, which included stonemasons and carpenters that were helping with these elaborate construction projects their entire lives.

The Relocation Project
What happened to the Philae Temple and why does the island of Philae not exist anymore? In 1902 the Aswan Low Dam was completed on the Nile River, courtesy of British developers. Unfortunately, this massive project threatened many ancient landmarks, including the temple complex of Philae. The real island of Philae was constantly being flooded, even when the dam was heightened on two instances, first from 1907 to 1912 and then 1929 to 1934. Eventually it was decided that the temples of Philae should be relocated in order to preserve their history.
Therefore, the relocation project began after 1960 when UNESCO formulated a plan to move each structure, piece by piece. The pieces were reassembled at Agilkai a little over 500 meters away and the site continues to stand to this day. The physical part of the relocation lasted from 1977 to 1980.
Obviously, the natural beauty of the temples enhanced by live vegetation and vivid color has been “washed away” through time. However, the temple structures remain intact and are surprisingly accurate compared to the original layout. This is because every block of the temple was labeled and its positions carefully noted so that it could be replicated, not merely duplicated.
The relocation project is so detailed that even the elevated land of the original temple has been recreated through landscaping. You most likely couldn’t tell the difference - provided you were born in the 1800s and had the luxury of comparison.
The Philae Temple is not only a landmark of architecture but also an incredible story of construction and reconstruction.

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Abu Simbel Temple Historical Information

Situated 280km south of Aswan, the two temples of Abu Simbel are the most magnificent temples in the world. The first temple was built by the mighty Pharaoh Ramses II,the other for his wife Queen Nefertari. Their relocation is an achievement supported and managed by UNESCO.
The Great Temple of Abu Simbel (Ramses II)
It is built by Ramses II. It is distinguished by its main façade with four colossal statues of Ramses II sit enthroned wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The temple was dedicated to the sun god Ra' Horakhti. The most interesting relic is the Qadesh battle scene recording his victories over the Hittites. It was built on a strict east –west axis so that the morning sun actually reached the innermost sanctuary at dawn, illuminating the statues of Ptah,Amon,Ramses II,and Ra –Horakhty twice a year.
The Small Temple of Abu Simbel (Nefertari)
It is located 50 meters from the great temple. It was built by Ramses II for his beautiful wife Nefertari to be worshipped with other gods. It is also called the temple of Hathor, the goddess of love and beauty. Its facade is adorned by six statues four for Ramses II and two for his wife Nefertari. The walls of the temple are decorated with scenes depicting Ramses and Nefertari offering sacrifices to the gods.

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Luxor City Information

Luxor, a beautiful and colorful City in Upper-Egypt. Luxor is located in the middle of the desert surrounded by green and tilled fields and in the background the red rocks of the “Libyan chain”. It’s one of the greatest capitals of the ancient world. Charming and evocative, with the Nile banks lined with modern hotels, the felucas that sail along the quiet waters of the river
During the day you will find small, silent streets of the Bazaar that come to life in the evening with their colors, sounds and lights.
Luxor is the great, ancient city of Thebes, capital of the Egyptian empire for almost one thousand years
The Copts called it Tapé, hence the Greek Thebai, but for Egyptian inhabitants it was Uaset, meaning “the chief town” and Niut, “the City” it was later on called Diospolis Magna. Its present name of Luxor comes from the Arab El Qousour, translation of the Latin “Castra” with which the ancient Romans indicated the city where they had installed two encampments.
In the Memphis era it was a small village where the God of War Montu was worshipped and its temples marked the boundaries of the territory. As from the X Dynasty, thanks to its geographical position and political grounds, its importance started to increase considerably until the military successes of its princes made it a great power.
Capital of the pharaohs of the New Empire, the god Amon was worshipped in great splendour in the triad in Mut and Khnsu. It was the age of great victories and triumph in Asia Minor, Nubia and Libya. It was a happy period – perhaps the happiest in Egyptian history – and Thebes had no rivals: victorious Pharaohs accumulated incredible wealth there (city where the houses are rich in treasure) from war booty; from the Red Sea the Persian Gulf and even from the Sahara – across the road of the oases – merchants arrived to grow rich and to enrich the townsmen of Thebes who reached the incredible figure of half a million!

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Karnak Temple Historical Information

At about three kilometres from Temple of Luxor stands the vast monumental area of Karnak, which the Greeks called Hermonthis.
The archaeological site includes three divided areas separated by a rough brick boundary.
In time, the dimensions of each area / complex changed and the Pharaohs who succeeded to the throne left their mark by extending the temple or adding halls and chapels.
The structure of the three holy complexes remains the same, one is dedicated to Amon and is astounding of it dimensions.
It is the largest temple with columns in the world and according to distinguished historians; it could contain Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in its entirety.
A short avenue of cryosphinxes leads to the first and largest pylon 113 meters wide and 15 meters thick, constituting the monumental entrance to the temple. The sphinxes with the heads of rams, sacred to Amon, represent the god that protected the Pharaoh portrayed by animals’ paws.
The first courtyard has been known as the Ethiopian courtyard, dates back to the IX Dynasty and is closed on the north side by a portico of strong columns with closed papyrus capitals. The couryard is dominated in the center by a tall column featuring an open papyrus column. The gigantic pavilion of the Ethiopian king Taharka remains column of 21 meters high and with a wooden ceiling, destined to protect the sacred boats. In front of the column to the right, one enters the Temple of Ramses III. This lovely courtyard is surrounded on three sides by Osiris pillars, where the Pharaoh is portrayed in Jubilee dress.
Leaning against the second pylon, a huge, fallen statue in granite represents Ramses II and another 15-meter high statue portrays King Pinedjem.
The 29.5 meter high portal leads to what is considered one of the greatest pieces of ancient Egyptian art: the hypostyle hall, one hundred and two meters by fifty-three meters, featuring – eternally challenging time – 134 columns 23 meters high.
It is a real forest of columns, whose dimensions and plays on light and shade create incredible emotions.
The central nave, commenced towards 1375 B.C under Amon-Ofis III who designed it as a simple colonnade towards the sanctuary of Amon, has a different height from the lateral columns which were started under Horemheb, continued by Seti I and Ramses II and finally completed under Ramses IV.
This very difference in height allowed the introduction of the “claustra” large open-work windows in sandstone that provide an unreal sort of light.
Beyond the hypostyle hall, there used to be the obelisks of Thot-Mosis I, 23 meters high and 143tons in weight. Unfortunately only one of them is still standing.
You will find the Festival Hall, also called “the temple of million years” if you pass the fifth and seventh pylons (respec-tively of Thot-Mosis I and Thot-Mosis III).
It’s a beautiful hypo-style hall with two rows of ten columns with their shafts painted dark red to imitate wood and a row of thirty-two square pillars decorated with scenes.
The sacred lake of the dominion of Amon was 120 meters by 77 meters and surrounded by buildings: storehouses, priests’ homes and even an aviary for aquatic birds. In these waters, the priests used to purify themselves every morning before starting their daily holy rituals.
The temple benefited its income from a large number of plots, markets and yards, enhanced by all the wealth and booty that the Pharaoh brought back from his military victories.

Visiting time: the Karnak works two shifts: in day time & in the evening open Sound & Light Show
Summer: from 6:00 am to 6:00 PM.
Winter: from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm.

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Luxor Temple Historical Information

One the east bank rise the temples in which the gods dwelt whereas on the west bank building was constructed for the worship of dead sovereigns. parallel to the river runs the heavy rock curtain that conceals the Valley of the Kings.
Temple of Amon Ra
In Luxor, all that remains of its glorious past is the temple that the ancient Egyptians built to the glory of Amon ra, king of the gods, and which they called “Southern harem of Amon”.
Brought back to light in 1883 by Gaston Maspéro, the temple is 260 metres long and its construction was basically commissioned by two Pharaohs, Amon-Ofis III who started it in the XIV century B.C. and Ramses II who completed it adding the porticoed courtyard with its axis moved eastwards, and no longer north-south as in the case of the rest of the temples.
The temple of Luxor was joined to that of karnak by a long stone-paved dromos, a drome and a processional avenue, flanked by sphinxes with rams heads that the XXX Dynasty replaced with sphynexes with human heads.
The avenue ended at the entrance to the temple of Luxor, marked by the large pylon erected by Ramses II.
In ancient time, the pylon was preceded by two obelisks, two seated colossi and two standing colossi. Today, only one obelisk is still standing: the other was taken to Paris in 1833 and placed by the engineer Lebas in Place de la Concorde.
The two colossi in granite represent the Pharaoh seated on his throne. Of the other four statues in pink granite leaning against the pylon, one was to represent Queen Nefertari and another decrepit one to the right, his daughter Merit-Amon.
Having passed through the triumphal entrance, one enters the court of Ramses II, with its double row of columns with closed papyrus capital and statues of Osiris in the inter columns. To the north-west of the courtyard one can admire the temple-deposit of the sacred boats built by Thot-Mosis III and dedicated to the triad Amon, Mut and Khonsu.

Then follows a colonnade of two rows of bell-shaped columns 52 meters long that take us to the second sourtyard, or courtyard of Amon-Ofis II, This courtyard is surrounded on three sides by two rows of columns with closed papyruses, a real, highly evocative forest
From here, across a transversal hypostyle hall, one enters the last sanctuary, the most intimate and sacred part, which gave the temple its name of “Adytum of the south” theatre of the final moment of the festival of Opet, the largest and most solemn held during the year.
The festival, which lasted little more than fifteen days, started on the nineteenth day of the second month of the flood that is towards the end of August.
The highlight of the ceremony came, when out of the temple of Karnak came the sacred boat of Amon-Ra which carried by thirty priests and followed by those of Mut and Khonsu, covered the whole avenue of sphinxes and arrived at the temple of Luxor. From here the boats were closed in the sanctuary for a couple of days, before returning to the temple of karnak, always accompanied by a rejoicing crowd singing and dancing.
Visiting time: the Luxor works all day:
Summer: from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Winter: from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

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Luxor Museum Historical Information

Recently built, this Museum displays countless inter – esting finds relating to the history of ancient Thebes.
The most interesting piece is Talatat’s wall, a recomposition of an 18-meter well from the temple of Akhen-Aton in Karnak and destroyed by its success- sors; the 283 blocks forming it were found in the filling of the ninth pylon of the temple of Amon in Karnak. The wall, formed by hundreds of small scenes, shows work in the fields and craftsmen at work, not to men- tion Pharaoh and Queen Nefertiti worshipping the Sun.
It is worth mentioning the elegant head of Hathor in the form of a cow in gilt wood and from Thutankamun’s tomb; a large sandstone head with the unmistakable features of Akhen-Aton and a stone statue of Thot-Mosis I holding the ankh in his hands.
Visiting time: the museum works tow shifts:
Summar: from 9:00 am to 1:00 PM and from 5:00pm to 10:00 PM.
Wintr: from 9:00am to 1:00pm and from 4:00pm to 9:00pm.

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The Mummification Museum Historical Information

Considered to be one of the most important Specialized museums in the world, cause it’s contains every thing belongs to the operation of mummification in the ancient Egyptian history.
It was opened in 6/5/1997AD, by MR-president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and the first lady of Egypt MRS-Suzan Mubarak, and with some other guests and ministers.
The museum it self contains hall for showing the mummification operation, measures about: 360M2, and contains 19 for the museum showing. That hall had done as a royal tomb built with more careful with slight light and as a new style in Architectural. The mummification museum considered to be one of the museums which showing the idea of mummification just like the ancient Egyptians as an operation from beginning to finishing.

Visiting time: the museum works two shifts:
Summar: from 9:00 am to 1:00 PM and from 5:00pm to 10:00 PM.
Wintr: from 9:00am to 1:00pm and from 4:00pm to 9:00pm.

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The West Bank of Luxor Information

River Nile split Luxor into sides. East side where you find Karnak and Luxor temples, it is called the living city during the ancient times.
West side because Sun Set in the West is called the city of the death That is why you will find all the Tombs and the funural temples located in the Western Bank of Luxor.
The frist temple you will see is the funural temple of Amonphes the third father of king Aknaten. His temple is used as a quary to rebuild other temples that is why you will find some ruins and the two big statues which is called now Memnoun. Every one of them is one sinbgle peace of stone which weaght nine hundred tones. Represting the king looking for the Sun rise every dayon his face
In the West side you will visit the Valley of the Kings where we have discovered 62 tombs. The most famous one is king Tut Ank Amoun. It was found in 1922 by an English Egyptologist. Also the Valley of Queens in that side where 75 Tombs have been discovered, most famous Tomb is Queen Nefertary wife of Ramsess second. The tombs of the Nobles between the kings and Queens where more than four hundred Tombs have been discovered, they are very beautiful colors.
In the Western side you can visit too the temple of Ramses third which called Medaint Habu. It is one of the most beautiful funural temples where you will find the colors still on the walls as if the Artist finished it yeasterday.
You can see Ramses second too where you find beautiful statues of the king in difrent stones.
Seti Frist temple also worth a visit too

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Valley of the Kings Historical Information

1. Ramses Vll
2. Ramses lV
3. Ramses lll (never occupied)
4. Ramses lX
5. Ramses ll
6. Tutankamun
7. Ramses Vl
8. Mineptah
9. Amenmes
10. Ramses lll
11. Horemheb
12. Amon-Ofis ll
13. Ramses l
14. Seti l
15. Thot-mosis lV
16. Montu-Kopechef
17. Hatshepsut
18. Mineptah-Siptah
19. Sethnakht
20. Thot-Mosis l
21. Seti ll
22. Thot-Mosis lll
Beyond the semi-circle of rocks of Deir el-Bahari lies the valley of the kings, or Biban el-Muluk, which means the Gates of the Kings. This famous gorge, dominated by a peaked mountain called “Theban crown”, contains the necropolis of the great Egyptian sovereigns from the XVIII to the XX Dynasties.
Its history started with the sudden, unexpected decision of Thot-Mosis I to separate his tomb from the burial temple; moreover, he gave orders to bury his body not in a luxurious monument but in a secret, inaccessible place. His decision rudely interrupted a 1700 year-old tradition! His chief architect, Ineni, dug a well-tomb in a solitary valley, cutting a steep flight of steps into the rock leading to the tomb, along certain lines which were then followed by subsequent Pharaohs. It was Ineni himself who wanted to document the secrecy of his undertaking, ordering the engraving on the burial chapel wall of the phrase “I alone watched over the construction of His Majesty’s rock-tomb. No-one saw or heard anything”. The latter phrase, however, is hard to believe: it is much more likely that the workers who built it were war prisoners who were then eliminated upon termination of the work.
But, as in the case of the other sovereigns, Thot-Mosis I was destined to reign for a very short time because already in the Pharaoh age, despite the safeguarding of teams of guardians night and day, robbers systematically broke into the tomb to remove the valuable objects: one of the most sought after articles was the “scarab beetle of the heart” the amulet which placed on the heart of the mummy, enabled the dead man to save himself from the day of judgement.
But these powerful sovereigns were destined not even to find peace upon their death. In fact, it so happened that at the time of the weak reign of the Ramses, the priests of Amon had lost all their power and authority. As a sign of their devotion, to ensure their dead sovereigns a quiet life in the next world and to avoid profanation, they started transporting the royal mumies from one burial place to another and these transfers were so frequent that Ramses III was buried thrice!
Finally, they decided to secretly prepare a virtually inaccessible hiding-place: on Mount Deir el-Bahari they dug an approximately twelve-metre deep well connected by a long corridor to a large room. At night by torchlight, as furtive as tomb-robbers, the priests removed the Pharaohs from their sarcophagi in the Valley and assembled their corpses in a cave in the mountains, hanging a shield around their necks bearing their names for identification purposes. They had been dead for a few years or numerous centuries and had had short-or long-lived reigns; some of them had been the most powerful sovereigns in the entire world. And now here they all were alongside each other helter-skelter: Ahmoses, the founder of the XVIII Dynasty next to the conqueror Thot-Mosis III; the great Ramses II alongside his father SetiI. Altogether, there were forty Pharaoh’ bodies hidden in this anonymous sepulchre in the heart of the mountain for three thousand years.
It was young tomb-robber by the name of Ahmed Abd el Rasul from the village of Gurnah who came across that hiding-place in 1875; for six years he and his brothers managed to keep the secret, enriching themselves by trading the objects that they gradually sacked from the royal mummies. Then it was gradually brought to light and on the 5th July 1881, after a long interrogation, the young Arab led the vice director of Cairo Museum at the time, Emil Brugsch – brother of the famous Egyptologist heinrich – to the entrance to the well.
It is hard to imagine how the scholar felt when the uncertain light of a torch revealed the mortal remains of forty sovereigns of the ancient world! A few days later, the mummies were packed and transported to the valley, where a ship was to take them to Cairo. And then a strange, stirring event occurred: on hearing that the refound Pharaohs were leaving their century-old burial place, the peasants of the valley with their wives assembled on the banks of the Nile and, with the slow passing of the ship, paid homage to their ancient kings, the men shooting into mid-air and the women wailing and sprinkling their faces and chests with dust.
Nowadays access is gained to the valley by means of a comfortable carriage road that largely follows the old tracks of the funeral procession. The tombs have kept their ancient charm intact: the countless graffiti on the walls show that since Greek and Roman times they were the destination of visitors and pilgrims who left a souvenir of their visit in this way. One of them, the English Dean Stanley, left an account of his journeys in 1856, affirming that “he had seen the tombs of the kings and the entire religion of Egypt revealed as it appeared to the most powerful Egyptian rulers in the most salient moments of their lives”

Tomb of Ramses lV
It is the first tomb that one comes across on approaching the center of the Valley. It is small in size (66 metres long) and contains the sarcophagus of Ramses IV, sovereign of the XX Dynasty and don of Ramses III.
The plan of the tomb is traced on a papyrus kept in Turin Museum; as from the V century, the tomb was utilized as a church by a small Christian community of the Valley. In the Magnificent decoration of the tomb, texts are predominant, with scenes from the Book of the Dead, from the Book of Gates and the Book of Caves.
Tomb of Ramses lX
Unfortunately in a bad state of repair the tomb belongs t one of the last Ramses of the XX Dynasty, whose reign was distinguished by a long series of internal disorders and famine. On discovering the tomb, they found an enormous pair of runners, coming from the skid on which the Pharaoh’s coffin was transported and several hundred fragments on which workers working on the king’s sepulchre had noted the number of utensils, hours of labour and the list of supplies, etc. The tomb consists of a long flight of steps leading to a corridor connected to two rooms, one of which features four pillars and a second smaller corridor providing access to the sarcophagus room.
Tomb of Tutankamun
The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb was one of the most exciting finds of modern archaeology, enhanced by the enormous wealth of artistic heritage brought to light. n 1922 Englishman Lord Carnarvon, art collector and great traveler, had already invested about 50.000 pounds sterling in financing numerous excavations in Egypt, all of which had been fruitless.
I All hope of finding something grandiose, possibly the intact tomb of a Pharaoh, was virtually lost. His missions were directed by another Englishman, the archaeologist Howard Carter. At the time it was common belief that there was nothing left to discover in the Valley of Kings which had been combed high and low. They had still found no trace of the tomb of the heretic Akhen-Aton, who, however, was almost definitely buried at Tell-el-Amarna, and that of Tutankhamun, the Pharaoh of transition who brought back the capital to Thebes reviving the ancient cult of Amon-Ra and the other gods, changing his real name from Tutankhatun to Tutankhamun. His was a short-lived reign lasting only nine years as he died at the age of nineteen in about 1350 B.C.
Lord Carnarvon thus decided that this was to be his last mission in Egypt. The great discovery was made on the 4th November 1922: almost at the base of the tomb of Ramses VI they came across a stone step that led to a second one and so forth, until the sixteenth step stopped in front of a sealed door, walled in with slaked lime. It would appear that this tomb had been robbed, but to what extent? And did they find the mummy intact? On the 26th of the same month Carter had his day: having broken through a second door bearing intact the seals of the child-Pharaoh, the archaeologist made a small opening with an iron bar and pushed it through the hole, meeting no obstacles. He then carried out tests with a candle, not detecting any gases. He finally poked his head through the hole and as his eyes gradually adapted to the darkness, “strange animals, statues and gold – everywhere the flash of gold, emerged slowly from the darkness …”
“What marvelous things”, exclaimed Carter, his voice broken with emotion to Carnarvon who was impatiently asking him what he saw.
The marvelous things were the imposing funeral objects which, after long, difficult restoration, Carter sent to Cairo Museum.
Of all the precious objects in the sovereign’s tomb, the most impressive of all was the great sarcophagus: a single, enormous block of quarzite housed four gilt wooden containers placed one inside the other like Chinese boxes; only after 84 days of hard toil dismounting them to brings the 80 pieces composing the four catafalques to light was Carter able to admire the brilliant colours of the paintings decorating the walls of the burial chamber. The sarcophagus was of an extraordinary beauty, “worthy of containing the mortal remains of a sovereign”
On the 12th February 1924, in front of nineteen illustrious guests, a complex winch lifted the ton and a half of granite of the lid. When Carter shone his light on the interior, his first glance must have been most disappointing: only discolored linen cloths! But when the linen cloths were slowly cast aside, the king and the gold gradually appeared: a wooden sarcophagus entirely plated in gold and inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones with the Pharaoh represented as Osiris his face expressing great serenity. And yet, affirms Carter, in all that splendor, the most moving thing was a small garland of flowers, possibly laid by his young wife Ankhesanem: after thirty-two centuries, those flowers still conserved a bit of their original colour.
Almost one year later, on the 25th january 1925, Carter tried to open the sarcophagus. The lid of the first anthropoid sarcophagus (2 metres 25 centimetres long) was lifter revealing more linen bands and garlands of flowers. By examining the floral wreaths, they were able to establish the burial season of the sovereign, between mid-March and late April, because botanists also recognized corn-flowers, bittersweet’s and mandrakes which blossom during that period. Under the sheet they found a second gold-plated, wooden, anthropoid sarcophagus encrusted with cloisonnés of coloured glass and semi-precious stones. With the help of eight men, the lid of this second coffin was lifted; even if at this stage, Carter expected to find a third sarcophagus, he certainly did not expect to find a third sarcophagus, he certainly did not expect to find a 22 carat solid gold coffin weighing 1,170 kilograms! “An incredible mass of pure gold”: the material itself was priceless! Apart from his head-gear with a cobra and vulture, the king also wears a false beard and a heavy necklace in gold grains and majolica, while holding the whip and scepter, symbols of the two Egyptian kingdoms; the divinities Nekhbets and Uadjets spread their wings to protect the mummy, while Neftis and Isis are resuscitating the dead Pharaoh, One can just imagine with what awe and suppressed emotion Carter approached the content of this coffin; in fact, he knew that he would have found intact the mummy of Thutankamun. In fact, the mummy was completely covered in gold and jewels. Once again, the delicate, serene features of the nineteen-year old king appeared on the magnificent mask in gold and semiprecious stones that covered the sovereign up to his shoulders. The heavy names in blue and gold stripes with the royal symbols on his forehead, inlaid with turquoise lapislazulae and cornelians, made an impressive sight.
Three sarcophagi, four funeral chapels and kilograms of gold had managed to keep the mortal remains of the great king hidden from the eyes of the world for 132 centuries.
Tomb of Ramses Vl
Known in ancient times as the tomb of Memnon and also the “tomb of the metempsychosis” by the scholars of the archaeological expedition of the 1798, it was discovered by the Englishman James Burton. On a par with the other great tombs of the Ramses, access was gained to it about 400 meters from the bottom of the valley-exactly the opposite to the deeply dug tombs of the sovereigns of the XVIII Dynasty. The front part is the oldest and was commenced under Ramses V.
Having been enlarged, the plan is now quite linear with a corridor that leads to an anteroom, a room with pillars, a second corridor and a second anteroom preceding the sarcophagus room. The latter has an “astronomic” room that is, entirely decorated with astronomic scenes and frescoes narrating the creation of the sun. the leitmotiv is the sky goddess Nut, repeated twice, covering the eastern and western spheres. The tomb in which numerous scraps of workers’ tools were founds, has been visited since the most ancient times, as can be seen from the numerous Greek and Coptic graffiti engraved on the wall.
Tomb of Mineptah
Mineptah, fourth and last Pharaoh of the XIX Dynasty, ruled Egypt from 1235 to 1224 B.C. He was the thirteenth son of Ramses II and Isinofret and came to power at a ripe old age. If his father was considered the Pharaoh of the Jewish slavery in Egypt, his son Mineptah was considered the Pharaoh of the Exodus. In fact, under him the name of Israel appeared for the first time in a granite stele:
“Desolated Israel, that has lost its seed” The mummy of Mineptah, which was not found in this tomb but in the tomb of Amon-Ofis II was encrusted with salt upon discovery : this reinforced the belief that he was the very Pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea while he was chasing the Jews! Apart from the legend, Mineptah was responsible for the military campaign against the “sea nations”: the ancient Lybians and their allies, the Lycians, the Achaeans, the Sards and the Etruscans. The tomb plan is simple, a long corridor in sections that descend to the room that still contain the sarcophagus. The scenes illustrated there are the usual funeral myth scenes.
Tom of Ramses lll
He was the second sovereign of the XX Dynasty and also the last of the great Pharaohs of the Middle Reign. After his reign, there was a confused period of internal struggles and disorders, and Egypt plunged deeper and deeper into chaos. He reigned from 1198 to 1188 and it would appear that he brought about an important administrative and social reform. In the eighth year of his rule, in a fierce battle on the delta, he dealt a heavy defeat to the coalition among the “sea nations” and the Libyan tribes; the battle is recalled in a relief on the temple of Madinet Habu, where some Peleseth prisoners can be seen. Subsequently, they settled in Palestine and were called Philistines. From a papyrus kept in the Egyptian Museum of Turin known as the “Legal Papyrus”, we know that during the 32nd year of his reign, Ramses III was the victim of a palace plot: the guilty were captured and sentenced according to the deeds in the papyrus. His tomb is also known as the “tomb of Bruce” from the name of its discoverer and also as the “tomb of the harpists” from the frescoes that represent – an unusual phenomenon of Egyptian art- some men playing the harp in the honor of certain gods. The Pharaoh’s sarcophagus, a magnificent block of pink granite, was taken away from the Paduan archaeologist, Giovanni Battista Belzoni, and sold to the King of France who displayed it at the Louvre. The 125 meter-long tomb drops only ten metres below valley level; this tomb was built on the site of a previous tomb belonging to Sethnakht, father of Ramses III, and one can still see some scrolls in the first corridor.
Tomb of Horemheb
Horemheb, king of Egyptian from 1340 to 1314 and the last Pharaoh of the XVIII Dynasty, did not have blue blood. He came from a family of provincial governors and he himself was the head of the archers under Amon-Ofis IV, who was a great friend of his. Once he became a general, he took the place of old Ay, denied the ancient Atonian religion and cancelled the name of his predecessor Tutankhamun, to replace it with his own. One of his most brilliant diplomatic feats was the peace stipulated with the king of the Hittites Mursili II. Right from the moment it was discovered, it was generally believed that the tomb of Horemheb was to be found in the desert near Memphis. It was the English archaeologist Edward Ayrton who found the general’s name written in hieratic writing on a tablet relating to inspections of the royal tombs in the Valley. Once it was discovered, the tomb of Horemheb appeared to be the link between the previous tombs and the simpler ones of the XVIII Dynasty and the more important ones which were to follow. In fact, the corridor no longer curves at a right angle, but after a slight initial deviation it proceeds practically in a straight line as far as the sarcophagus room. When discovered, the painted bas-reliefs illustrating the usual scenes of the funeral objects dazzled archaeologists with their perfect, bright, luminous colours, as if they had just been completed.
Tomb of Amon-Ofis ll
Son of Thot-Mosis III, Amon-Ofis II ruled Egypt from 1450 to 1425. He oppressed a Syrian revolt and made his son and successor Thot-Mosis IV marry Miteniya, daughter of the king of the Mitanni. In the burial chamber is to be found the large quarzite sarcophagus wich when discovered, contained intact the Pharaoh’s mummy, his neck surrounded by a garland of flowers. The mummy was displayed in the tomb until 1934, when it was transported to Cairo Museum.
Tomb of Ramses l
The founder of the XIX Dynasty was a military man, general and vice roy of Horemheb, whom he succeeded in 1314. He only reigned for two years but during this period – as can be seen in the bas-reliefs in the hypostyle hall of Karnak – he encroached upon Hittite territory “as far as the village of Kadesh”. He immediately put his son Seti on the throne and made Tanis capital of the Empire. His tomb, discovered by Belzoni, is very basic as the old Pharaoh evidently died suddenly, while workmen were still busy on it.
Tomb of Seti l
The tomb of Seti I is the most imposing tomb in the Valley of Kings. The Pharaoh buried there was one of the most important in his Dynasty, the XIX. Son of Ramses I, he was head of the archers and vizier when his father was still alive. He revived the expansion policy in the East, marching into Syria, as far north as Tyre; he drove back Muwatalli, head of the Hittites, and reconquered Phoenicia.
His tomb ws discovered in October 1817 by Belzoni: this is why for a long time it was referred to as the “tomb of Belzoni”. 105 metres long, a steep flight of steps leads to a much lower level. Here a corridor leads to a second flight of steps that takes one to yet another corridor connected to a hall where Belzoni found a well evidently dug to put people on the wrong track. Belzoni noted a 65-meter crack in the other wall. Having adventurously surpassed the well, the archaeologist widened the opening to discover that it provided access to the room that ancient builders wished to keep hidden. However, none of the halls contained the sarcophagus; in fact, Belzoni was only half-way there. New corridors, new flights of steps and other rooms, lastly, Led to the sarcophagus which, however, no longer contained the mummy, in fact, seventy years later, the mummy was found in Deir el-Bahari whereas nowadays this outstanding sarcophagus forms part of the Soane collection in London. The extraordinary thing is that this tomb must have been dug even more deeply into the earth. In fact, underneath the sarcophagus ran a mysterious gallery that Belzoni started excavating for about ninety meters, before having to stop due to lack of air and the extreme friability of the rock. A further thirty meters were dug during the nineteen fifties. This gallery has remained a mystery and we still have not found out what purpose it served and where it led. But ancient legend in the Valley has it that the tunnel crosses the entire mountain before it comes out in the open near the temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari. Belzoni maintained that this was the finest tomb to be discovered in Egypt: its decoration, in fact, covered walls, columns and ceilings, with paintings and bas-reliefs rich in meaning and symbolism.
Tomb of Thot-Mosis lll
A steep iron stairway takes us up ten meters above the Valley bottom to the tomb of the Napoleon of ancient times. The illegitimate son of Thot-Mosis II and appointed Pharaoh was very young upon the death of his father; he was ousted by his aunt Hatshepsut, wife of the dead Pharaoh, who confined him to some unknown territory for twenty-two years.
Only upon the death of his aunt did Thot-Mosis manage to reconquer the throne; in order to wreak his revenge upon her, he systematically cancelled her name on all monuments, replacing it with his own and that of this father. During his reign which lasted from 1504 to 1450, the country reached the heights of its glory; with seventeen military campaigns in Asia, it was at the very peak of its power. During his eighth expedition, he disembarked in Phoenicia and crossed Syria transporting the ships he had had built in Byblos across the desert. His victories are famous: Kadesh, Megiddo (where he defeated 330 Syrian princes) karkhemish when he crossed the Euphrates and defeated the Mitanni on their own home ground.
The Egyptian empire also included “the island of the great circle” that is Crete, Cyprus and the Cyclades Islands. In about 1450, shortly before the end of his reign, Thot-Mosis III ventured as far as the fourth cataract of the Nile bringing the boundaries of Egypt from the Euphrates as far as Napata in Nubia, now known as Gebel Barkal.
His tomb, dug into a winding ravine at the southern boundary of the valley, features a simple plan; orits highlight is the decoration illustrating scenes of the sun’s journey in the world of the dead, carried out in a meticulous, almost surrealistic style.

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Hatshepsut Temple at El-Dair El-Bahari Historical Information

One thousand two hundred years after Imhotep, another architect, Senmut, went down in Egyptian history with another architectural master-piece. Queen Hatshepsut, more a benefactress of the arts than a military leader,
Commissioned a monument to be built in honour of her father Thot-Mosis I and for herself chose an inaccessible valley which Consecrated to the goddess Hathor welcomed the dead in the next world.
Having been abandoned, in Queen Hashepsut’s monument, they installed a Christian convent known as the “convent of the north”, hence the area’s present name of Deir el-Bahari; it was thanks to the insertion of the convent in the Pharaoh’s temple that it was preserved. The architect-minister Senmut had the intuition to make the widest possible use of the dramatic range of ochre-coloured rocks spread out inside.
The design of the monument was also new and avant-garde to the extent that the temple of Hatshepsut, called Djeseru or “the most magnificent of the magnificent” by the ancient Egyptians, is unique in Egyptian architecture.
The temple, which faces eastwards, was a series of vast terraces, which, by means of flights of stairs, ascended to the sanctuary.
An avenue of sphinxes and obelisks provided access to the first terrace, enclosed on the far side by a portico consisting of 22 pillars and flanked by two Osiris pillars.
On one of the walls, bas-reliefs narrate the birth and childhood of the queen and the expedition that the sovereign promoted in the mysterious country of Punt, perhaps what is known as Somalia nowadays, as they feature giraffes, monkeys, panther skins and ivory objects.

On the far wall, 18 large and small niches were supposed to house statues of the queen, both seated and standing.
This temple is characterized by its 16-corner pillars, so admired by Champollion, who called it protodoric.
The entire left part of the valley, however, was occupied by the gigantic burial temple of Montu-Hotep I. Five hundred years before Hatshepsut decided to built his temple in this valley, Pharaoh Montu-Hotep I had the same idea and built his tomb along the typical lines of the Old Empire but tending towards the tombs of the New Empire.
The monumental complex of Montu-Hotep I was formed by a gigantic tomb with a pyramid featuring the king’s grave in its centre.

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Seti Temple Historical Information

Temple of Sety I, called The Domain of Amen in the West of Thebes, lies at the northern end of the Theban Necropolis, directly across the Nile from the Temple of Karnak. The location is lovely; there is a fine view of a large palm grove and the Theban Hills from atop the temple enclosure walls. The temple is very well preserved and was a favorite subject of nineteenth century watercolorists.
The name of the Sety I temple is nearly identical to that of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, and the two sites were linked both physically and functionally by their ceremonial roles in major festivals.
In antiquity, a canal led here from the river, and during the Beautiful Festival of the Valley and other festivals, processions of sacred barks sailed here from the Temple of Amen at Karnak and then continued in other West Bank memorial temples. The temple of Sety I, sometimes called the Qurna Temple, was where nineteenth century tourists began their West Bank tour.
(More precisely, travelers started from here in the summer and autumn months, when the annual flood made impassable the route from the Nile west to the Colossi of Memnon.) A century ago, the Nile flowed several kilometers farther west than it does today, and tourists moored their boats near the temple beside a huge sycomore fig tree and a water wheel that soon became famous landmarks mentioned in every tourist guidebook. The sycomore tree has disappeared, but pieces of the water wheel still stand in the garden of the Abdel Kassem Hotel and Alabaster Factory three hundred meters east of the temple. In dynastic times, this area was called Hefet-hernebes, a phrase meaning that it laid “in front of its lord,” the Temple of Amen at Karnak. Three thousand years ago, there was a large village of the same name immediately north of the temple. There is still a village there today, called Naj’ Junayna, and it is the site of a lively Tuesday morning market. It is great fun to visit: noisy and colorful, a dusty field that covers several hectares is filled with people who gossip, drink sticky sweet tea, quarrel over prices, and sell vegetables, hardware, sandals, sheep, and goats.
Farther north, a large First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom cemetery called al-Tarif is surrounded by modern village houses. Beyond it lays New Thebes, a recently-built settlement where families who lived in and around the Qurna tombs have been relocated.
The temple of Sety I was badly damaged in November 1994, when torrential rains in the nearby Theban hills sent floodwaters cascading through desert wadis. The storm dumped thousands of liters of water into Hefet-her-nebes. The floodwaters rose to over 1 meter (3 feet) deep and poured into the temple compound at 20 kilometers (12 miles) an hour.
Today, Sety I’s temple seems a small structure, but it originally extended 160 meters (520 feet) from pylon to rear wall. One enters the temple through a small door in the northeast corner of the enclosure wall and proceeds into the First Courtyard. The First Pylon stood to the left (east) and the remains of sphinxes and inscribed blocks, badly damaged by the flood, stand along the temple’s main axis. Originally the pylon measured 69 meters (224 feet) wide and 24 meters (78 feet) high. Directly ahead, on the south side of a courtyard known as the Festival Court of the Subjects, the remains of the king’s palace have recently been cleared. On the north side of a large hypostyle hall with twelve pillars, a broad set of steps leads up to the Window of Appearance from which the king observed ceremonies and processions in the courtyard. The palace is similar in plan to the better-preserved palaces of Rameses II at the Ramesseum and Rameses III at Madinat Habu; it is the earliest example of a palace built within a memorial temple. There are numerous stelae, inscribed temple blocks, and damaged sphinxes in the courtyard. Originally, the temple causeway was lined with dozens of large sphinxes and the whole area was filled with outbuildings and orchards of persea trees. The Second Pylon originally cut in half what now looks like a single courtyard. The pylon itself has vanished, but its position is marked by a low mudbrick wall and a gate. It was small, not more than 7 meters (23 feet) high.
The west facade of the temple was laid out as a portico with a row of ten papyrus-bundle columns. Texts on the architrave were written by Sety I’s son, Rameses II, who describes how he completed work on the temple after his father’s death. On the wall behind, scenes include personifications of Upper Egypt on the left (south) side and of Lower Egypt on the right (north). Above them on the left, priests carry the sacred bark of Amen into the temple and the king makes offerings of incense.
Three doorways lead through this wall into three separate parts of the temple. This tripartite plan is typical of most memorial temples on the West Bank: the center rear part of the temple is devoted to the cult of Amen; the left to the king and his ancestors; and the right side to the solar cult.
The doorway in the center leads into the Hypostyle Hall, with six columns and three small chapels on each side that are dedicated to the Theban Triad (Amen, Mut, and Khonsu). The carving on the walls was begun by Sety I and completed by Rameses II. It is easy to identify who did what: the work of Sety I’s craftsmen is of fine quality; that of Rameses II’s is hastily done and heavy-handed. Scenes show one or the other of the two kings offering to various deities, including Thoth, Osiris, Amen, Mut, Ptah, and Sekhmet.
Chambers in the rear part of the temple are devoted to the Beautiful Festival of the Valley and the god Amen. Behind the hall and a small vestibule, five doorways lead into rooms that housed the sacred barks of Amen (in the center), Mut (on the left, south), and Khonsu (on the right, north). At the far ends, two other chambers served purposes unknown to us. The central shrine for Amen is particularly well decorated with scenes of the elaborately furnished sacred bark being offered to by the king. Behind the central shrine stands a room with four pillars decorated with scenes of the king and various gods. To the rear (west), a false door (now gone) gave the ka of the king access to the netherworld.
The doorway at the left (south) end of the portico leads to a room with two columns. Behind them stand three small chapels. These were dedicated to Rameses I by his son Sety I in an act of filial piety done because Rameses I reigned only briefly and had no memorial temple of his own. Rameses I, Sety I, and Rameses II are all shown here in scenes before Amen. A double false door for Rameses I was carved on the rear (west) wall of his chapel the doorway at the right (north) end of the portico leads into a damaged court dedicated to the solar cult.
Storerooms built of mudbrick lie between the temple and the right (north) enclosure wall. This is the first time that storerooms were included as part of a memorial temple. Earlier, foodstuffs would have been shipped to temples from the storerooms at Karnak. A small well was dug on the left (south) side of the temple and has been partially cleared.

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Colossi of Memnon Historical Information

The famous Colossi of Memnon are all that remains of the burial temple of amon-Ofis III and whose magnificence is recorded in a stele found by the archaeologist Petrie.
These statues, which must have stood to the sides of the entrance to the temple, are 20 meters high; their feet alone measure 2 metres in length and 1 meter in width. Cut in monolithic blocks of sandstone and portraying the Pharaoh seated on his throne, with his hands resting on his knees, the south colossus is in better shape than the other, to which a legend is connected.
It would appear that in 27 B.C a terrible arthquake serverly damaged almost all monuments in Thebes and that an enormous crack opened up from the top to the middle of the colossus, which it toppled. Others, however, attribute this fact to the barbarities of king Cambise and this seems more likely as Egypt has never been prone to seismic movements.
At the time every morning at daybreak the statue gave out a prolonged sound in which some believed to hear a sad, yet harmonious song.
Greek poets soon created a beautiful legend around this strange fact testified by great historians such as Strabo, Pausanias, Tacitus and Philostratus. According to them, the "stone that sings" represent Memnon, the mythical son of Aurora and Tithonus, the king of Egypt and Ethiopia.
Sent by his father to help Troy besieged by the Greek army, Memnon achieved great glory by slaying Antilochus, son of Nestor, but in turn he fell under the revengeful hand of Achilles.

Aurora in tears then beseeched Jupiter to resuscitate her son at least once a day; in this way, every morning, while Aurora was caressing her son with her rays, he replied to his mother disconsolately by wailing.
In actual fact, the sounds were due to the vibrations produced in the sufface which had been broken by the brusque passage of the cold of the night to the heat of the first rays of sun.

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Madinat Habu Temple Historical Information

For many years Madinet Habu was none other than a rich quarry and source of large square stones. During the Christian era, a village, called Djeme by the Copts, rose in this area. It occupied a large part of the site where the temple originally stood and in this way, it enabled numerous vestiges to be salvaged.
The monumental complex of Medinet Habu included the Temple of Ramses III, in front of which stood the template of Thot-Mosis I and the Chapels of the deities that worshipped Amon.
One is struck with awe by the almost military grandeur of the Southern Gate, known as the Royal Pavilion, which was preceded by a landing-stage on a canal that used to connect it to the Nile.
This triumphal gate is set between two towers and crowned by two orders of longitudinal windows. The bas-reliefs sculpted on the walls also repeat the “warlike” nature of this construction, where prisoners were sacrificed; the Pharaoh brought the captured enemy to the god Amon and so forth. The temple of Ramses III, 80 meters beyond the triumphal gate, is one of the most perfect buildings stylistically speaking of ancient Egypt.
After a 63 meter wide pylon decorated with war scenes, one enters the first courtyard with the god Thot and the other the Pharaoh with Maat.

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Ramesseum Temple Historical Information

Ramesseum was the name given during the nineteenth century to the funerary temple that Ramses II had built on the west bank of the Nile. His “Castle of a million years” was built by the architect Penre on such a vaste scale, according to Diodorus of Sicily, that it surpassed all other temples at the time. Unfortunately, nowadays very little remains of that splendor: the Osiris pillars still remain on the façade of the hypostyle hall and so does a fallen statue of Ramses II seated on his throne, reminiscent of a defeated giant. It once measured 17 meters and weighed over one thousand tons. Diodorus of Sicily got the Pharaoh’s first name, User-Maat-Ra wrong, and wrote that the statue represented Osymandios.

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Valley of the Artisans Historical Information

Valley of the Artisans History Information
A few kilometers to the south of Cheik-Abd-el-Gurnah lies the valley known nowadays as Deir el-Medina, meaning “city convent” because once upon a time it was inhabited by the Copts of Thebaid. One can see the ruins of the village built at the time of Amon-Ofis I and inhabited by the workers who built and decorated the royal tombs of Thebes.
Activities in this valley lasted five centuries, from 1550 to 1000 B.C. and involved stone-cutters, paining by means of a path that passed over the steep hills around Deir el-Bahari. They left their children and women, who worked in the wheat and barley fields, at home. The workers toiled an eight-hour day for nine consecutive days and the tenth day of rest was assigned to the decoration of their own tombs. The teams of these known as the “Servants of Truth Square”, were directed by various superintendents and were divided into two groups depending on whether they worked on the right or left walls.

As workmen on the royal tombs, these craftsmen were considered the “holders of secrets” and therefore made to dwell in a village surrounded by walls. Workmen’s houses were small and simple; built alongside each other in dried brick, their interiors were white-washed. Generally speaking, they consisted of a tiny entrance, a reception hall a second room and a kitchen. Sometimes, but not often, they had a canteen and terrace. Nothing has remained of a probable decoration. On the west slope of the valley lies the necropolis. The tombs all consisted of a chapel and a small painted basement.

Tomb of Ipuy
A sculptor under Ramses II, Inpy had his tomb decorated with unusual, curious scenes: even though the style is rather brusque, its wealth of detail makes it one of the best-known tombs of the necropolis. One just had to mention the scene of the oculist putting drops in a patient’s eyes.
Tomb of Sennedjen
Sennedjen was a “Servant in Truth Square” and official of the necropolis at the time of the XIX Dynasty; perhaps, on account of the liveliness and freshness of its decoration, it is the most beautiful tomb of the necropolis. The main room of the tomb is more or less intact and is all that remains of the sepulchre; all the furniture contained therein is now on display at Cairo Museum.
Tomb of Inherkha
During the reigns of Ramses III and Ramses IV, Inherka filled the office of “Deputy Master of the two Egypt’s in Truth Square”: that is, he was head of a team entrusted with coordinating the work of workmen placed under him. He had two tombs built at the same time, but only the one furthest downstream and closest to the village is decorated in a lively, imaginative fashion.

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Valley of the Nobles Historical Information

1. Sennefer
2. Rekh-mara
3. Usirat
4. Kha-Emhat-Mahu
5. Ramose
6. Neferhabef
7. Nakht
8. Menna
9. Nebamon
10. Kiki
11. Kheruef-Senna
In the three neighboring districts of Assassif, Khokhah and Cheik-Abd-el-Gurnah lay the imposing necropolises of the nobility of the Middle Empire dynasties. As compared to the Pharaohs’ tombs, these tombs are extremely simple from the architectural point of view and all feature the same layout: they are preceded by an open-air terrace, followed by a vestibule whose painted walls describe the earthly functions of the owner.
A corridor then leads to an alcove which very often contains the statue of the dead person, sometimes together with his wife of relations. The subjects illustrated in these tombs are characterized by an extraordinary freshness, vitality and realism and provide accurate, valuable evidence of what court life was like in ancient Egypt. The most frequent topics were funeral banquets, with music and dancing, farm work, craftsmanship and daily life in general.
Tomb of Sennefer
A flight of 43 steps cut into the rock descends into the tomb of Sennefer, Prince of the Southern Town and Administrator of granaries and the cattle of Amon under Amon-Ofis II. It is also called “tomb of the vine” because the anonymous artist painted a beautiful pergola of black grapes on the ceiling vault.
Tomb of Rekh-mara
This tomb, a fine example of Theban civil tombs at the time of the XVIII Dynasty, belonged to Rakh-Mara, Vice roy and Governor of Thebes and Vizier under Amon-Ofis II and Akhen-Aton. Both the vestibule and the chapel are decorated and the paintings are very interesting because they illustrate what must have been the relationships between Egypt and other countries at the time. The most lively scenes depict foreigners bearing offerings:
Envoys from Punt (Somalians) carrying ebony, ivory and ostrich feathers; messengers from Keft, maybe Crete, with curly hair and long plaits on their chests; negroes from Kush, dressed in panther skin, carrying a jaguar, a giraffe and monkeys and envoys from Ratenu (Syrians and Assyrians) leading two horses, a bear and an elephant.
Tomb of Usirat
Usirat, Royal Scribe under Amon-Ofis II, had this tomb built; its paintings are extraordinarily well preserved. It features the famous scene of the barber shaving his clients in a garden.
Tomb of Kha-Emhat-Mahu
Khaemat, known as Mahu, was the Royal Scribe and Granary Inspector of Upper and Lower Egypt under Amon-Ofis III. His tomb, decorated with refined basreliefs, is to be found at the bottom of a courtyard onto which other tombs of the same period face. In the alcove of the burial chamber, deeply carved into the rock one can admire six statues of the dead man and his relations, divided into three groups.
Tomb of Ramose
Ramose was Governor of Thebes and Vizier under Amon-Ofis III and then under Akhen-Aton. This magnificently sculpted tomb was never completed; having commenced construction, Ramose had to leave it incomplete to build another one in the new capital of the heretic Pharaoh, Akhet-Aton, now known as Tell el – Amarna.
Tomb of Neferhabef
The tomb of Neberhabef, Frist Prophet of the Royal Kâ under Seti I, is decorated in the sumptuous style of the XIX Dynasty.
Tomb of Nakht
Typical tomb dating back to the era of the XVIII Dynasty, it is one of the best preserved ones in the entire necropolis. The owner was a scribe and astronomist of Amon at the time of Thot-Mosis IV, whereas the wife was a singer of Amon. At the time of the heresy of Akhen-Aton, the name of Amon was systematically removed from all engravings.
The tomb looks like a classic hypogeum and the precise decoration only occupies the transversal vestibule.
Tomb of Menna
The owner of this tomb was menna, Cadastre Scribe under Thot-Mosis IV, who utilized a previous tomb, enlarging it. The scenes depicted are considered some of the most elegant of the entire necropolis on account of their liveliness; they illustrate hunting and agriculture.
Tomb of Nebamon
This tomb was prepared for two sculptors, both active under Amon-Ofis III and Amon-Ofis IV: the former, Nebamon, was chief Sculptor of the Maestro of the two Egypt’s whereas Ipuky was Maestro of the two Egypt’s. Also known as the tomb of the engravers, it is of great interest as its decoration shows us how craftsmen worked in ancient Egypt.
Tomb of Kiki
The tomb of kiki, the “Royal Administrator”, was avandoned for a long time, before being reduced to a stable. It is characterized by lively illustrations in bright colours. An entire wall was destined to illustrate the scenes of the journey of the corpse to Abidos. In fact, the Egyptians were supposed to make at least one pilgrimage in their lifetime to the temple of this holy city, dedicated to the worship of Osiris.
In fact, religious Egyptians aspired to having a funeral chapel or at least a commemorative stele in this sanctuary, where Osiris’s head is said to be kept.
Tomb of Kheruef-Senna

Keruef Senaa was the “Administrator of the Great Royal Bride”, that is Tiyi, Syrian princess famous for her beauty and dearly beloved wife of Amon-Ofis III and mother of Akhen-Aton, the heretic Pharaoh. The tomb that the Administrator had built is large but remained incomplete; it is worth mentioning the west part of the courtyard, where the celebration of a jubilee (heb-sed) of Amon-Ofis III is commemorated.

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Valley of the Queens Historical Information

1. Tomb of Queen thiti
2. Tomb of Amon-her-khopechef
3. Nefertari's tomb
4. Tomb of Kamusat
The valley of the Queens known today as Biban el Harim opens up at about one and a half kilometers south west of the Valley of Kings.
The ancient Egyptians gave in the evocative name of Set Neferu, meaning "seat of beauty:. From 1903 to 1906 the Italian archaeological expedition led by Ernesto.
Schiaparelli discovered about eighty tombs, many of which were seriously damaged; some of them featured traces of fire whereas others were reduced to stables.
They contained the mortal remains of queens and princes from the XIX to the XX Dynasty; therefore, they can be dated back from 1300 B.C. to 1100 A.D.
Tomb of Queen thiti
Thiti was the wife of one of the numerous Ramses of the XX Dynasty, maybe Ramses IV. Her tomb, abandoned and reduced to a donkey stable, is well preserved and features an interesting embossed decoration on limestone highlighted by a light pink shade.
Tomb of Amon-her-khopechef
Before Amon-her-Khopechef, son of Ramses III, this tomb was built to house the mortal remains of another prince, son of the same Pharaoh. Simply structured - a stairway that leads to a square room and a corridor that leads to the room of the sarcophaghi - the tomb is characterized by a brightly coloured decoration. An unusual sepulchre is the dominant colour in the whole sepulchre.
Nefertari's tomb
This tomb, discovered in 1904 by the Italian Ernesto Schiaparelli, was excavatd to the west of the valley for Nefertari Mery-en-Mut, the best-loved of Ramses II's numerous wives; it was in her honour that he built the beautiful temple of Abu Simple. The 27 and a half metre long tomb is to be found eight metres under ground level; it was dug in a very friable layer of rock so that the walls were covered by a thick layer of plaster, on top of which the pictorial decoration takes on the appearance of a relief. When discovered, the sepulchre seemed to have been broken into since ancient times: all the objects had disappeared and the mummy of one of the most famous Egyptian queens had been reduced to a sunder. Only the magnificent paintings bear witness to the fact that this was one of the most important and beautiful tombs in the entire Valley of the Queens.
Tomb of Kamusat
Son of Ramses III and probably the younger brother of Amon-her-Khopechef, Prince Kamuast had a tomb similar to that of the kings in its plan, even though it is greatly reduced in size. Even in this tomb the decoration is very bright, with scenes of offerings and tributes.