The Colossi of Memnon Statues were a small part of the gigantic complex of the Temple of Amen-Hotep III. Each of the statues was cut from a single block of stone that measures over 20 meters tall and weighed a thousand tons. Since the statues' crowns are still intact and their bases fully exposed, they stand even taller. They were carved from beautiful orthoquartzite (one of the hardest stones ever known and therefore, one of the difficultly carved ones, probably brought by boat from quarries near Heliopolis, seven hundred kilometers to the north). The right statue was especially popular with Ancient Greek and Roman travelers since an earthquake cracked the statue, in 27 BC, and for the next two hundred years it emitted an eerie whistling noise each morning because both the temperature and humidity were changing after the rise of the sun.
Greek travelers claimed that this sound was the cry of Memnon (a mythical African warrior slain by Achilles in the Trojan War) to Eos (his mother and goddess of the dawn). To hear the statue crying was said to bring good fortune and this quickly made the colossi a major tourist destination. The statue stopped its sobbing in 199 AD, when Septimius Severus filled its cracks in an attempt to renew the statue's appearance. Covering 385,000 square meters and measuring 550 meters wide, with a kilometer of pylons, chambers, walls, and statues, the memorial temple of Amenhotep III is the largest temple ever built in Egypt.
The temple's main axis stretches nearly a kilometer from its first pylon westwards to its rear wall. However, the temple was built largely of mud brick and was nearby the Nile that it had been suffering from yearly inundations. When the temple was abandoned, the brick walls dissolved and the stones were taken away and used by later kings in the construction of their own memorial temples. Originally, two other quartzite colossi stood before the Second Pylon and two alabaster colossi stood farther west before the Third Pylon. One of these huge statues fell in antiquity and has lain here for millennia, buried in silt. In 2001, a German expedition has begun its re-erection works, although groundwater is being a troubling obstacle. The temple had also a great collection of statues erected by Amen-Hotep III and dedicated to goddess Sekhmet.
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