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xThe Labyrinth

To the south of the Pyramid of Amem-Em-Hat III lies the Labyrinth which was so named by the Greek historian ‘Herodotus’ after the famous Labyrinth Palace in Crete. The inhabitants of the site used this temple as a quarry in the Roman times. As a consequence, it gradually disappeared except some remains of its walls and some limestone and granite columns. Some classic writers concur in that this temple exceeded all the Ancient Egyptian temples in size, reliefs, architectural design, and the number of statues set up inside it. Strabo states that the two-floor temple measures 200 m in length, with a huge number of rooms (nearly 1500) and corridors (greater than any of the Greek buildings). As Strabo remarks, this is sufficient to make any visitor get lost inside it. Inside it was found a magnificent statue of King Amenemhat III (no. 385), now exhibited in the Egyptian Museum. Despite the several trials and the huge efforts exerted by many archaeologists –including Petrie, Lloyd and others– to put a plan to this temple, through the description of writers and travelers and from its remains, they did not met with success. It is clear that the building was constructed in the reign of Amenemhat III, but was completed by his second daughter, Sobek-Neferu, the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty. This assumption is based on the fact that her name was found on several blocks inside the temple and there are indications that the construction of the building was still being carried out during the Second Intermediate Period. Supporting this view is the fact that Amenemhat III was paid the due reverence by his succeeding kings who added some annexes to his building in his honor.

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