The Luxor Temple is in downtown Luxor. It was built first as a large temple in the Middle Kingdom by Amunhotep III (1855 - 1808 BCE) on the place of an earlier shrine of Queen Hatshepsut. It is smaller than the Karnak Temple, but no less impressive. It is a graceful piece of architecture, built on the bank of the Nile. The nicest relief of the Goddess of Astronomy, Seshat is there, unfortunately I found out about that only when I looked through my pictures at home
At the huge entrance pylon stand several statues of Ramesses II and a huge obelisk. The obelisk was one of a pair, the other was removed by the French and now stands on the Place de la Concorde.
Many different Pharaohs built parts of this temple. You can see the many different styles in the following pictures.
The temple was mostly buried halfway up the columns in mud and debris. Part of the reason why this temple is preserved so well is the fact that it was buried for so long. Muslims built a mosque in the top part of one of the buildings. When the temple was excavated, the entrance to the mosque was in the middle of the temple, about 10 m above the floor. They did not want to close the mosque, so they built an entrance from the back of the temple and closed the old entrance. You can still see where it used to be.
The Christians also used the temple. There were several Byzantine paintings on the walls of temple. Graffiti from different times can also be seen, fortunately there are not many.
This temple is close to the Nile. To protect it from the annual floods, the ancient Egyptians had built a dam around the temple. This dam was made of mud bricks and had to be renewed every year. Once the temple no longer served its original purpose, the dam was neglected, and the annual floods soon filled up the whole temple area. That actually preserved a lot of the carvings.
Row of Sphinx in front of the Luxor Temple. (826k) Row of Sphinx in front of the Luxor Temple. (1071k) Row of Sphinx in front of the Luxor Temple. (769k) Massive entrance gate of the Luxor Temple. The mosque that was build on the temple is on the right. (653k) Column colonnade in the Great Court of Ramesses II. (752k) Entrance to the temple, flanked by two large statues, both wearing the Pshent, the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. (568k) One of the two statues at the entrance of the Luxor Temple. (586k) Another view of on of the statues of Ramesses II. (689k) Obelisk in front of the main pylon. (522k) Another view of this beautiful obelisk with the head of one of the statues in the foreground. (523k) Close-up of the carvings on the obelisk. (712k) Bottom of the Obelisk with a statue behind it. (673k) One of the most beautiful statues we saw, a Pharaoh wearing the Pshent, carved out of black granite. (473k) The head of one of the statues, beautifully carved out of black granite. (613k) View of the columns in the Great Court of Ramesses II. (741k) Another view of the columns in the Great Court of Ramesses II. (723k) Colonnade with carved friezes. (1022k) Beautifully carved frieze. (1122k) Beautifully carved frieze. (1016k) Carved columns in the Great Court. (651k) Relief on one of the statues of Ramesses II, showing two figures of the God Hapi, one representing Upper Egypt with the Papyrus on his head, and one representing Lower Egypt with Lotus on his head, tying Lotus and Papyrus around the stem of the Nile. (921k) Close-up of this relief. (721k) The two instantiations of the God Hapi again in another beautifully carved relief on one of the statues. (1023k) The back of the statue is beautifully carved as well. Here is a representation of Seshat, the Goddess of Astronomy with the star on her head. (969k) Around the base of the statue are reliefs of conquered enemies of the Pharaoh, shown in bondage. (1004k) Goddess Hathor on the seat of the Pharaoh. (578k) Top of the columns in the Great Court. (826k) Detailed view of the top of the columns in the Great Court. (757k) Beautiful Obelisk in from of the main pylon, the entrance to the Luxor Temple. (603k) Beautifully carved Horus Names on the statue of Ramesses II. (822k) Statue in the court of Amunhotep III. (575k) Statue in the court of Amunhotep III. (731k) Back of one of the statues in the Court of Amunhotep III with hieroglyphic inscriptions. (871k) Columns in the Court of Amunhotep III. (824k) Graffiti. (1298k) The Su Plant and the Bee, symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt. (1374k) Byzantine paintings, painted over the ancient Egyptian paintings. (596k) Byzantine paintings, painted over the ancient Egyptian paintings. (656k) Entrance to the mosque that was built when the temple complex was still buried in mud and debris. (574k) View of the outside wall behind the mosque. (1024k) Amun Ra (center left), holding the Was Scepter and a Pharaoh with the Khepresh, the War Crown (center right). On the far left and far right are reliefs of the Fertility God Min. (794k) A Pharaoh offering gifts to the Gods. (723k) A cow as part of the offerings. (772k) Painted relief of a Pharaoh wearing the Khepresh, the War Crown. (614k) Fairly recent graffiti (from 1820). (569k) Painted reliefs. The top row shows Amun Ra (far right), Osiris (center right), and a Pharaoh (center left),and Sekhmet (far left). The bottom row shows Amun Ra (far right), Horus (center right), a Pharaoh (center left), and Osiris (far left). (736k) Close-up of carvings, including the Su Plant and the Bee, symbols for Upper and Lower Egypt. (802k) A seated Pharaoh and two other figures, all three wearing the Pshent, the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. (811k) Painted carvings with the Vulture Goddess Nekhbet and the Su Plant and the Bee. (666k) Painted carvings of a Pharaoh with an elaborate head dress, ready to smite his enemies. (785k) Close-up of one of the figures in the coronation name of Ramesses II, with the Ankh on it's knee. (1347k) A relief of a War Chariot. (694k) A quite different style of carvings. (1450k) Workers pulling a load. (1255k) Another relief showing food offerings. (1350k) Part of a deeply carved Cartouche with an owl. (1074k) More food offerings. There were many reliefs with this theme in the Luxor Temple. (1123k) Another part of the same relief with food offerings. (1349k) Head of the God Osiris. (695k) A fine relief in granite of the Pharaoh Ramesses II (see Cartouche above and on the right) approaching the God Amun Ra. (1101k) Relief of the Goddess Mut and the God Amun Ra, both holding the Was Scepter. (1052k) Another relief of the Goddess Mut. This one shows the attempts of later religions to deface the ancient Egyptian representations. (947k) A Pharaoh's wife, Nefertari, according to the cartouche above her. (725k)