In the heart of the ancient city of Thebes, or as the ancient Egyptians called it, Waset, you'll find one of the most impressive temples that the Pharaohs left for us, the Luxor temple. The temple was known by the Egyptians with Ipet resyt, meaning "the southern sanctuary." During the Roman era in Egypt, they constructed a military fort around the temple; that's why when the Arabs came to Egypt, they called it "Al Uqsur," which means, in Arabic, the fortifications. From that time after, it was called Luxor, as the Arabs named it.
Where is Luxor Temple Located?
The temple of Luxor is located on the east bank of the Nile river; it is about 3 Km away from Karnak Temple that also lies in Luxor. In front of Luxor's temple, you'll find an avenue of Sphinxes that goes all the way to Karnak Temple, but only part of it is excavated so far. This road was made for the Opet festival, where the gods of Karnak temple were taken to Luxor temple once a year.
Who Built The Temple of Luxor?
The temple of Luxor was built gradually over the years, starting from the 18th dynasty till the 14th dynasty. Many Pharaohs left their mark on this massive temple; Amenophis III of the 18th dynasty was the one who started the base construction of the temple. Years later, Tut Ankh Amen and Ramses II were added to the building.
What Was The Purpose of Luxor Temple?
Luxor temple is the only temple in ancient Thebes that wasn't built in dedication to a god or a pharaoh but to the rejuvenation of Kingship. It was believed that this was where the Pharaohs were crowned either in reality or conceptually. Alexander the Great claimed to be crowned as a pharaoh of Egypt in Luxor temple, though the evidence found says he didn't pass Memphis, the old capital of ancient Egypt.
Luxor Temple Was Always a Spiritual Place
The temple of Luxor was always a spiritual place; even during the Christian era, churches were built inside the temple court, and you can see evidence of it on the walls. During the 14th century, a mosque was built as well in one of the interior courts for the local Sheikh (Holy man) Abu Al Haggag, who entered Islam in Luxor.
The Reconstruction Of Luxor Temple
Over the years, villages were built around and over the temple; in 1885, the excavation process started in Luxor's temple. They cleared the village and moved the people to a different place to begin unleashing Luxor temple walls. They made sure to save the mosque of Abu Haggag and not to remove it as it is also a part of history.
Ancient Thebes The Capital Of Ancient Egypt
At ancient times Luxor was called the city of a Hundred gates; it remained the capital of Egypt from the 12th dynasty till it reached its zenith during the New Kingdom. Luxor city is considered a vast open-air museum, as it beholds around the third of the world's antiquities. Walking around the city is like walking through chronicles of the past.
More Temples in Luxor, Egypt
The Temple of Luxor is not the only great thing about Luxor; you can also visit Karnak temple located on the East Bank. You can go to the West Bank to visit the Valley of the Kings, the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the two Colossi of Memnon. There is so much to see in Egypt's Luxor city; it is a city full of history.