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x Mortuary Temples in Luxor

The idea of building mortuary temples dates back in time to the Old Kingdom, to the era of the construction of the Pyramids. The first temple of this kind was not precisely mortuary, but festive, as we can see in the Step Pyramid in Saqqara. Almost all huge and known pyramids had funerary complex, which were formed by a valley temple, a funerary temple, the causeway and the tomb. By time the model of the mortuary temples changed. In Luxor, Monuhotep-Neb-Hetep-Ra (a king from the 11th Dynasty) built his innovative complex (which was half excavated and half built) with a mixture of a terrace and step construction and the pyramid structure. During the New Kingdom, when these complexes failed to preserve the pharaohs’ bodies and treasures, the kings of the Empire chose to separate the tomb from the complex. Both the valley and mortuary temples were combined into only one temple, which was given the name ‘Temples of Million Years’ or ‘Temples of the Eternity’. Over thirty temples were built on the West Bank at Thebes, but today most of them are in ruins and only wit few blocks and parts of statues had survived. Nowadays, seven outstanding temples complexes are open to tourists. In Madinet Habu (in the West Bank, on the outskirts of Luxor), there are several monuments here, the most famous of which is the well- preserved Mortuary Temple of Ramses III. The temple is of a considerable historical importance expressed through its paintings and reliefs. The memorial temple of Ramses II, known as the Ramesseum, is famous for containing the enormous head of the statue of Ramses II, which once weighted 1000 tons. The earliest temple open is that of Queen Hatshepsut, at Dair al-Bahari, which is one of the most beautifully impressive temples in Egypt. Once considered the greatest temple ever known of the wealthiest pharaoh of Egypt, the Temple of Amenhotep III together with the Colossi of Memnon are now a brief stop for tourists. The son of Ramses II, Meri-En-Ptah, had his temple (which is newly-opened) behind that of Amen-Hotep III. The temple had been in complete destruction until it was restored as an open air museum.

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