Thebes and its Necropolis (World Heritage)
According to commit4fitness, Thebes was the dominant center of Egypt in the New Kingdom. Here the pharaohs built huge palaces and huge temple districts, of which the Amun and Luxor temples with the avenue lined with sphinxes are still preserved. They found their final resting place in the city of the dead west of the Nile. There, in the Valley of the Kings, you will find the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramses II. and the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. They are unique stone witnesses to an intense cult of the dead and a great legacy of Egyptian high culture.
Thebes and its Necropolis: Facts
|Official title:||Thebes and its necropolis|
|Cultural monument:||Egyptian high culture in East and West Thebes, including with the originally 158 m long burial temple of Seti I of Kurna, the necrologist of Dra Abu el-Naga with the grave of the royal doctor Neb-Amun and the high priest Amenose, the Valley of the Kings and others. with the graves of Ramses II, Ramses III and Ramses ‘XI., the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Ramesseum, the largest mortuary temple of Ramses’ II dedicated to Amun with a 67 m high pylon at the east entrance, the Valley of the Queens with the tomb of Queen Eset and the Colossi of Memnon with almost 20 m height|
|Country:||Egypt, Upper Egypt, Kena|
|Meaning:||the capital of the Middle and New Kingdom and city of the god Amun with temples, palaces and tombs in Karnak and Luxor as a breathtaking testimony to Egyptian high culture|
Thebes and its Necropolis: History
|2040-1781 BC Chr.||Middle realm|
|1550-1075 BC Chr.||New kingdom|
|1479-1458 BC Chr.||Queen Hatshepsut, aunt and co-regent of Thutmose III.|
|1279-1212 BC Chr.||under Ramses II. burial temple Seti I of Kurna|
|1184-1153 BC Chr.||Ramses ii|
|1153-1147 BC Chr.||Ramses IV|
|1147-1075 BC Chr.||20th Dynasty, i.a. Ramses XI.|
|1817||Discovery of the tomb of Seti I|
|1894-96||Excavations of the Hatshepsut temple|
|1995||Discovery of the mausoleum of the sons of Ramses II.|
Where pharaohs ruled and were buried
“The hundred-gated Thebes” is what Homer called the former capital of the Pharaonic Empire, indicating how splendidly the metropolis shone over the centuries. The ancient Egyptians knew their capitals under the name “Weset”, the origins of which were already in the early days of this first high civilization of mankind. But it was not until the 18th Dynasty, at the beginning of the New Kingdom, that Thebes ousted old Memphis as a religious and political center. From then on, the rulers endeavored to expand their capital with magnificent temples. On the east bank of the Nile, the sanctuaries for the gods and the palaces of the godlike kings grew into the sky, on the west bank there were burial sites and mortuary temples for the deceased pharaohs, their queens and high officials.
In the center of today’s Luxor, Amenophis III, the father of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, had a large sacred site built around 1300 BC for the family of gods Amun, Mut and Chons. The following rulers did not want to leave it at that, and so each pharaoh made additions and modifications until the temple had finally reached a length of 260 meters.
But compared to that of Karnak – a stone’s throw north of Luxor – this seems quite modest. Karnak – consecrated to the imperial god Amun – was the largest temple complex of the ancient Egyptians, over the centuries their central religious center and has always been celebrated in the highest terms – also on a funerary inscription from the time of Ramses II. “How beautiful is the Temple of Amun when the day goes by with celebrations, like an intoxicated woman sitting outside her room with loose hair on her beautiful bosom.” Almost without exception all rulers have from the beginning of the Middle Kingdom in the third millennium BC Until the Roman era after the turn of the millennium, brisk building activity was encouraged to expand and change the temple.
On the side of the Nile opposite today’s Luxor are the necropolises of the former Thebes. In the Valley of the Kings, a narrow and hidden rock cut, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom, including Tut-anch-Amun, were laid to rest. His tomb, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, is the only grave of an Egyptian ruler that has never been looted. But if Tut-anch-Amun’s final resting place was already filled with unimaginably valuable gifts, how rich must the treasures have been that were given to pharaohs like a Ramses or an amenophis on their journey into eternity? The graves carved deep into the rock for the great and well-known ancient Egyptian rulers are covered over and over with colored paintings. Chamber after chamber lined up next to each other, all once filled with magnificent gifts. But even in the time of the pharaohs, these last resting places were plundered by robbers who crept over the ridge to the valley on dark nights and searched for gold and precious stones in the flickering light of their torches.
However, Thebes-West has more to offer than just the royal tombs. The postmodern-looking mortuary temple of Pharaoh Hatshepsut extends over three terraces in front of a 300-meter-steep, rust-red rock massif. Just a stone’s throw away, reliefs in the graves of the high officials tell of their state-supporting achievements. The mortuary temples of Ramses II and Ramses III. resemble a hymn of praise for the statesmanship of these rulers. The stately ladies have been laid to rest in the valley of the queens. Here the grave of Nefertari, favorite wife of Ramses II, has been extensively restored over many years, and the colored paintings shine again today as they did on the first day. In antiquity, the two Colossi of Memnon were praised as wonders of the world, only remains of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep. The two 20-meter-high seated statues have stoically kept watch for more than 3000 years.