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The 14 columns of the The Colonnade of Amenhotep III -  Luxor Temple | by Jorge Lascar
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The 14 columns of the The Colonnade of Amenhotep III - Luxor Temple

The colonnade in the Luxor Temple in Luxor, Egypt, built by Amenhotep III of the New Kingdom's 18th Dynasty to be the grand entrance to the Temple of Amen of the Opet, is one of the most impressive elements in any Egyptian monument. It represents the third stage in that king's elaborate building plans at Luxor Temple, and though it chronologically precedes the Great Court, it follows that element geographically. Indeed, this one hundred meter long colonnade is a part of the oldest segment of this temple.


These fourteen great columns in two rows erected during Amenhotep III's reign, though only completed after his death, may have originally been intended as the main axis of what was to become a great hypostyle hall, similar to the one at Karnak. However, if that is true, it was never finished. The colonnade was finished during the reign of Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb.


The axis of this colonnade, as well as the chambers south of it, is clearly different than the later Ramesside additions that precede it in the temple. We believe that the change was made after Ramesses II decided to physically connect Luxor Temple by a causeway with the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak, which had a different axial alignment.


The columns, which stand 19 meters high, have open papyrus capitals that support a roof 21 meters above the ground. They are surmounted by abacus, which in turn support architrave blocks. The space is narrow, being only ten meters wide. Originally, it had walls that rose to the full height of the roof, with only small clerestory windows cut at the ceiling level to allow in sunlight. However, it is difficult today to appreciate just how impressive this chamber must have been, because the walls now only rise some a few meters high. Yet, to have walked into this dark and forbidding colonnade during ancient times, passing from the open, brightly lit courtyard must have been awe inspiring []

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Taken on September 14, 2012