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Medinet Habu Review
The mortuary temple of Ramses III (1550–332 BC) is an impressive complex that was successively enlarged from the New Kingdom down to the Ptolemaic period. Hatshepsut built the oldest chapel. Ramses III built the temple itself, which functioned as a temple to the deceased pharaoh.
The second king of the 20th Dynasty, Ramses III had a certain admiration for his ancestor Ramses II, so he copied the architectural style and decorative scheme of his predecessor. Following Ramses II's example a century before him, Ramses III consolidated the frontiers of Egypt. He also led successful campaigns against the Libyans and their allies, and against the Sea Peoples (the Phoenicians).
Enter the complex through the Migdol (Syrian Gate). Two statues of Sekhmet (goddess of plagues, revenge, and restitution) flank the entrance. The path leads directly to the first pylon of the mortuary temple. The reliefs on this building, as well as in the first court, relate the king's military campaigns. On the back of the pylon, on the right side, a scene shows how the hands and tongues of the enemies were cut off and thrown in front of the king. At the Window of Appearances, on the south side of the first court, the living pharaoh received visitors or gave rewards to his subordinates. The second court, through the second pylon, is dedicated to religious scenes, and the colors and reliefs in the court are well preserved. The remains of the hypostyle hall and the smaller chapels that surround the second court are less complete. On the left flank of the temple, inside the enclosure, are several mud-brick palaces that have been in need of restoration.
- Address: Thebes
- Cost: £E30
- Hours: Daily 6 am–5 pm
- Location: The Theban Necropolis
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