Hatshepsut Temple and the Colossi of Memnon
July 12, 2018
There are so many fascinating sights to see when visiting Luxor, Egypt that you could easily spend a week or more in the area. Although the Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple are absolute must-see’s, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memnon should also be on your list. They are both located on the west bank of the Nile outside of Luxor and we visited them after spending several hours in the Valley of the Kings. As with a lot of the things that you will find in Egypt, these are both amazing partially due to their sheer size.
The Hatshepsut Temple is dedicated to both the god Amun as well as Hatshepsut, who was the greatest female pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Her reign begin in 1507 BCE and lasted for about 50 years. Her influence can be found throughout the temples of Egypt and she was responsible for the creation of the largest obelisks in Karnak Temple. The temple itself is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements of ancient Egypt with a style that resembles the classic Greek architecture that would follow about a thousand years later. It took 15 years to complete the construction of the temple and it is quite impressive, especially with the backdrop of the mountains behind it. Djeser Djeseru (holy of holiest) is the name of the main building and is also sometimes used to refer to the entire temple.
The Colossi of Memnon are two enormous statues representing Amenhotep III who reigned in the 13th century BCE. Both statues, which are about 60 feet high (18 meters), face the Nile River. Although the Mortuary of Amenhotep III, which was located behind the statues, no longer exists do to floods and the common practice of taking stones from older monuments to create new ones, the statues themselves are quite impressive. You don’t need to spend a lot of time to see the statues, but they are definitely worth putting on your itinerary. By the time that we made it to them, we were exhausted from walking through the tombs and temples in the extreme heat.
Egypt is such an amazing country with a history that stretches back over 5000 years. Our time in Luxor was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, if not our favorite place. We spent two days in the area and wish that we could have spend more time.