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The remaining obelisk and the two 25m. statues of Ramses II - The entrance pylon - Luxor Temple | by Jorge Lascar
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The remaining obelisk and the two 25m. statues of Ramses II - The entrance pylon - Luxor Temple

An avenue of human headed sphinxes of over one and a half miles (3 km) once connected the temples of Karnak and Luxor. This was used once a year in a festival during which the image of Amun travelled from Karnak to visit his southern dominion. It was at Luxor temple that he was transformed into Min the god of fertility.


Two massive seated statues of Rameses II guard the huge gateway (pylon). Two 80 foot (25m) obelisks once accompanied them but today only one remains the other stands in the Place De La Concorde in Paris []



The temple, also known as the Southern Sanctuary, was once the dwelling place of Amenemopet, the ithyphallic Amun of the Opet, and was largely built for the Opet celebrations, when the statues of Amun, Mut and Khonsu were annually reunited during the inundation season with that of Amun of Opet. Amenhotep III greatly enlarged an older shrine built by Hatshepsut, and rededicated the massive temple as Amun’s southern ipet (harem), the private quarters of the god. The structure was further added to by Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Alexander the Great and various Romans. The Romans constructed a military fort around the temple that the Arabs later called Al-Uqsur (The Fortifications), giving modern Luxor its name.


In ancient times the temple would have been surrounded by a warren of mudbrick houses, shops and workshops, which now lie under the modern town, but after the decline of the city people moved into the – by then – partly covered temple complex and built their city within it. In the 14th century, a mosque was built in one of the interior courts for the local sheikh (holy man) Abu al-Haggag. Excavation works, begun in 1885, have cleared away the village and debris of centuries to uncover what can be seen of the temple today, but the mosque remains and has recently been restored after a fire.


The temple is less complex to understand than Karnak, but here again you walk back in time the deeper you go into it. In front of the temple is the beginning of the avenue of sphinxes that ran all the way to the temples at Karnak 3km to the north, and is now being entirely excavated.


The massive 24m-high first pylon was raised by Ramses II and decorated with reliefs of his military exploits, including the Battle of Kadesh. The pylon was originally fronted by six colossal statues of Ramses II , four seated and two standing, but only two of the seated figures and one standing remain, and a pair pink granite obelisks , of which one remains and the other stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

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Taken on September 14, 2012