- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Arabic Phrases
The Ramesseum Review
The mortuary temple of Ramses II (19th Dynasty) is one of the many monuments built by the king who so prolifically used architecture to show his greatness and to celebrate his divinity. The temple is a typical New Kingdom construction, which means that it includes two pylons, two courtyards, and a hypostyle hall, followed by the usual chapels and a sanctuary. The numerous surrounding granaries are made of mud brick. A huge quantity of potsherds, from amphorae that contained food and offerings, was found in situ. It shows that the temple had religious—as well as economic—importance.
Note the 55½-foot-tall (when it stood) broken colossus of Ramses II, between the first and the second courts. It was brought here in one piece from quarries in Aswan. A Roman historian's flawed description of the colossus is supposed have inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias"—its title was the Hellenic name for Ramses:
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings; Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Shelley got the facial expressions (if not the sculptors' talents), the fictitious inscription, and the desert location all wrong, but the poetic evocations of ancient political might and its wreck do have their power.
- Address: Thebes
- Cost: £E35
- Hours: Daily 6 am--5 pm
- Location: The Theban Necropolis
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Book in Luxor: Save at the Saint Joseph in May Fr $49+/Nt Expedia
- Save 25% off: Book the Iberotel Luxor 3 Nts in May Fr $44+/Nt Save with Expedia, $11/night less
- Book the Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor 3 Nts in May Fr $144+/Nt — $144 Expedia
- Stay 3 Nights and Save 30% on Your Stay!: Sheraton Luxor in May — $57 Save with Expedia, $20/night less
- Luxor Savings! Book at Sonesta St. George Luxor Fr $81+/Nt — $81 Expedia
Just returned from 12 great days in Egypt. Read more
Its been a week since my 7 day trip to Egypt with my boyfriend, and I better write it all down lest i forget! Read more
My friends and I booked a Princess Mediterranean cruise in early May. Read more