Luxor Temple in Egypt | Pharaonic Temples Facts, Location, Plan, Guide, ticket price | Discover History Of Pharaohs kings, and Ancient Egypt Civilization.
Luxor Temple in Egypt
The temple of Luxor is located on the Luxor East Bank of the Nile River, Luxor city, in the South of Egypt.
To Whom Luxor Temple was Built?
We did mention in our previous post about Medinet Habu that the site was chosen on purpose. Medinet Habu was the burial place of Ogdoad Gods and Goddesses but because they had to keep somebody rules the world to keep the Nile to flood and the sun to rise.
They left Amun in the city of Death and Amun (Amun Ka Mut.f) chose Luxor temple as a place in the city of the living. Amun of Luxor ((Amun Ka Mut.f) on the living part comes yearly to visit his partners in the city of the dead at a beautiful feast called the Feast of the Valley.
Amun Ka Mut.f means “Bull of His Mother” and the meaning the Feast was celebrated to promote the Fertility of Amun-Re and the Pharaoh.
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- Luxor temple was called by the ancient Egyptian ‘ipet resyt’, meaning the southern sanctuary
- The temple of Luxor is famous as the world’s largest outdoor museum
- The temple site collects 3 religions, the Ancient Egyptian civilization, the Christian religion, and the Islamic religion.
- The Opet Festival and the Feast of the Valley were the main reasons why they built the temple.
- It is one of the best-preserved temples on Luxor’s east bank of the Nile
- Habu temple on the west bank faces exactly Luxor temple on the east bank as one for the city of the living and the second for the city of Dead.
- Muhammad Ali Pasha gifted the Luxor temple Obelisk of Ramesses II to France in 1833.
- There are 6 massive statues of the pharaoh Ramesses the Great decorating the first Pylon, 4 standing and 2 seated.
- Alexander the Great added the antechamber to Luxor temple or Alexander shrine
- Sandstone was the material they used for building the temple
- Once, Luxor temple was connected to Karnak temple by the Avenue of Sphinxes
- Amenhotep III, the great Egyptian Pharoah constructed the temple during his reign that lasted from 1390 to 1352 B.C. Egyptian Pharaohs Tutankhamun, Horemheb, and Ramesses II added parts to the temple.
- Luxor temple measures 853 feet long and 181 feet wide
Luxor Temple Layout | Luxor temple plan
- Luxor temple is oriented north-south parallel to the river Nile and its layout as follows
- Sphinx Avenue
- First Pylon of Ramesses II
- 6 Colossi of Ramesses II
- Open Court of Ramesses II
- Triple shrines for Hatshepsut and King Thutmosis III
- Second Pylon
- 2 Huge seated Colossi of Ramesses II
- Processional Colonnade of Amenhotep III
- Sun Court of Amenhotep III
- Luxor temple Cache
- First Anti Chamber
- The vestibule or Second Anti Chamber
- Alexander Chapel
- Coronation Room
- Divine Birth room
- 12 Columned Hall
- The three shrines of the sacred boats of Amun, Mut, Khonsu
- Enclosure wall surrounding the temple
One of the famous Egyptian Pharaohs Amenhotep III started building Luxor temple on the east bank of the Nile to the south of Karnak temple. Then, the great Pharoah Ramesses II finished it but King Tutankhamun, Horemheb decorated Parts of the temple. Besides, Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III added the three shrines in the first open court.
Why Luxor Temple was built?
To understand why the Luxor temple was built, we have to know how somebody became a king in ancient Egypt and what was the mission.
1st the main mission of the king is to keep the Maat, in the right order because the king was Horus on earth, the representative of God on earth.
That mission includes ensuring peace and political stability, performing all necessary religious rituals, and protecting the country against danger.
So, the king should be a son of a mother from royal blood, a daughter of a king and Queen. The problem was always when the king had no son with the chief wife and in this case, the future king should marry a 100% royal blood character. In Some cases, was the wife of the previous king, his daughter, or through war.
Amenhotep III was not of royal blood and the Luxor temple was his political propaganda to prove his legitimacy on the throne. The divine Birth was his way to confirm that to the people and to prove he is the descendant of the God Amun. However, he may build the temple to satisfy the priest as they were so powerful at that time because his mother was of non-royal rank.
Luxor temple architecture and reliefs
There is an Avenue of the Sphinxes that connect Luxor temple with Karnak temple for almost 3km. An Avenue with Human-headed Sphinxes from Luxor side and Ram-headed Sphinxes from Karnak side. This Avenue of Sphinxes was used once a year during the Opet Festival when Amun of Karnak visit Amun Ka Mut.f in Luxor temple.
Egyptian Pharoah Nectanebo I finished the Avenue it was started in the 18th Dynasty in The New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt era. Lately, many Sphinxes were unearthed and they found till now 1272 statutes from the expected 300 Sphinxes. Along the alley of the Sphinxes, they built 6 chapels as a resting place during the Opet Feast for the sacred boats of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu.
One of the most important discoveries along the alley is cartouches carrying the name of Cleopatra VII indicating that she may visit Sphinx Avenue during her trip with Marc Antony up the Nile.
Lately, on November 25, 2021, Egypt had a legendary celebration of the reopening of Sphinx Avenue to shed light on ancient Egyptian History.
Obelisks Ramesses II
Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses II erected a pair of Obelisks in front of Luxor temple. An Obelisk still standing to the left side of the entrance and the second one standing in the palace de le Concorde in Paris, France.
Thus, the Obelisk in Luxor is 23m height and the one in Paris is a bit shorter and both are inscribed with hieroglyphics and reliefs for Ramesses and Amun Ra. At the bottom of the Obelisk are Baboons raising hands praising the sunrise.
The Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses II from the 19th Dynasty of Egypt erected the first Pylon as an entrance to the temple. The pylon consists of two towers and the entrance between both towers is 24 meters high and 65 meters wide.
The reliefs covering both towers are sunken reliefs and they are depicting the famous battle of Kadesh against the Hittites. On the left tower, we can see Ramesses the great on his chariot, and the dead enemies are everywhere.
While, on the right tower, we can see the king with his generals planning the war. Such scenes remind us of Abu Simbel temple, as we can see similar scenes on the walls of the first Hypostyle Hall.
Crossing the gate and before reaching the great court, we can see on both sides of the entrance scenes for Ramesses with the triad of Luxor Amun, Mut, and Khonsu offering them flowers. Meanwhile, King Shabaka with Luxor triad and another scene for Ramesses and his wife Nefertari in front of the gods.
Visitors of the temple can see it today after the entrance some photos date back to 1880 when 2/3 of the Pylon was buried under sand and houses spread everywhere in front of the temple.
Colossi of Ramesses II at the entrance to Luxor Temple
Right now, we have 6 Colossi of Ramesses II decorating the first Pylon but according to A design on the walls of the temple, we suppose to see only two statutes. There is a relief behind the eastern pylon on the left entrance that shows the façade with two seated colossi of the king and two obelisks.
Supposedly, the other four were added later. Anyhow, 2 seated statues representing the king on the throne with the Sema Tawy sign on both sides of the throne. Ramesses setting on the throne putting the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt above his head. The Copra on the forehead for protection and the straight false beard.
The 4 standing ones are in the Osiris form representing the king standing with his left leg forwards and his hands crossed on the chest. The façade with 6 colossi is drawn on the southwestern side of the façade and it shows the temple right now.
The last standing statue was discovered in 1958 in 58 pieces and lately, it was fully restored and standing in front of the first Pylon now.
The Great Court of Ramesses II
We can easily divide this great court into 3 parts
1st part is occupied by the Mosque of al-Hagag
2nd Part is occupied in the northwestern corner by the triple-bark shrine built by Hatshepsut and usurped later by Thutmosis III. The middle one is for Amun, the right for Khonsu, and the left shrine for Mut. There are 4 columns decorating the triple shrine from the outside.
3rd the rest of the great court of Ramesses is occupied with Seventy-four papyrus columns, with bud capitals surrounding it. Between the columns, there is a lot of standing colossi of Ramesses sometimes with a white crown, red crown, or double crown.
In general, this Great Court of the ancient Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses measures 57m long and 51m wide.
It was the entrance of the temple in the time of Pharoah Amenhotep III and Ramesses added to the entrance a very beautiful huge black granite 2 colossi. An amazing 2 seated colossi for the Egyptian Pharoah Ramesses II. Meanwhile, his name are inscribed on the pedestal while the sides of the throne with the Sema Tawy sign.
Processional Colonnade of Amenhotep III
There are 14 columns on two rows built by Amenhotep III and they were never finished during his life but Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb finished them. The columns were 19 meters heigh and end with open papyrus capitals supporting a roof 22 meters above the ground. This colonnade is very similar to the central 12 columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak.
Right before the columns, there are two alabaster statutes for Amun and Mut Temple, and facing them another two for Amenophis (Amenhotep III) and his wife.
The scenes decorated the walls around the colonnade represent the opt festival from Karnak to Luxor and back from Luxor to Karnak. It is very obvious that the festival was via the Nile River from Karnak to Luxor (sailing upstream), and back walking through Sphinx Avenue.
Sun Court of Amenhotep III | Hypostyle Hall of Luxor Temple
This elegant place measures 45.11 by 56.08 meters and surrounds from 3 sides by a double row of sixty columns with papyrus bundle capitals. Seems that was the place where they celebrated the Opet Festival the area between the columns was roofed. This Hypostyle Hall was called in ancient Egypt wsekhet kha’it means the Hall of Appearance.
Luxor Temple Cache and Luxor Museum of Art
Luckily, the workers of the Luxor temple in 1989 found a cache similar to the Karnak one and they found 26 statutes in it. Luxor Cache includes statutes for gods, goddesses, and royal statutes. Most of the findings are now in the Luxor Museum of Art especially the life-size statute for Amenhotep III.
Cult sanctuary of Amun | Chapel of Imperial cult | First Anti Chamber
Here and in the 3rd century AD Roman era, they covered the Egyptian scenes with stucco and they draw scenes for Emperor Diocletian 284-305 BC, and his three coregents. This first Fresco in the whole of Egypt is still intact and vivid. On both sides of the Cut sanctuary, there are two small rooms for Mut and Khonsu.
We still can see reliefs for Diocletian and Maximillian with their two Caesars, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius. Meanwhile, the parts lost the new plaster layers, show scenes of Amenhotep III in a kneeling position in front of Amun and God touching and blessing him.
Finally, this place was long believed it was converted into Christian Church but this opinion is no longer acceptable.
Second Antechamber | Offering Vestibule
Through a newly opened door by the Antiquities Department in the 1950s, we reach a small room with 4 columns. A room with a beautiful existing original ceiling and this room were called Offering Vestibule. This is where they were offering offerings to God Amun.
Scenes on the walls here show Amenhotep III offering flowers, animals, vases, and incense to Amun.
Barque Shrine of Amun
Here they are supposed to keep the Barque of the god but Alexander the Great rebuilt it and most of the scenes represent him or Amenhotep in front of the ithyphallic Amun. Alexander the Great dresses like as an Egyptian Pharoah dress in all the royal signs.
Amenhotep III is portrayed as a sun god and some scenes from his coronation and one of his jubilees.
The divine Birth scene of Amenhotep here is very similar to Hatshepsut’s divine birth wall on the second level of her temple. The scenes started when God Amun and the mother of the king Queen Mutemuya were together on the bed.
Amun will order Khnum to create the king and his Ka on the pottery wheel. Then, Mutemuya will be pregnant and she will be taken later to give birth to the king.
Twelve columned Hall
To the south of the Alexander Barque Shrine of Amun, a hall with twelve columns most probably symbolizes the hours of the day.
Holy of Holies
It was built by Amenhotep III and normally it is the oldest part of any Pharaonic temple. Three small chambers house the 3 sacred boats of the Luxor triad Amun, Mut, and Khonsu.
Traditionally the enclosure wall around any Egyptian temple was mud-brick.
Luxor temple opening hours
Luxor temple is open to visit like all Pharaonic temples in Luxor is open from 06.00 am to 20.00 pm.
Ticket price for Luxor temple
You can purchase an Entrance ticket for Luxor Temple from the Ticket window which is next to the entrance. The Entrance fee for the temple of Luxor
Adult: EGP 180 (9.3 $)
Students with valid cards: EGP 90(4.6 $)
Children aged 6-12 years: EGP 90 (4.6 $)
Children under 6 years: FREE
Luxor Pass is a ticket for all the open sightseeing on Luxor’s east bank and on Luxor’s west bank. The ticket comes in two different prices and it is valid for 5 days
Standard Luxor Pass Ticket (Except Nefertari tomb and Seti Tomb)
Adult: $ 100
Students with valid cards: $ 50
Children aged 6-12 years: $ 50
Children under 6 years: FREE
Premium Luxor Pass Ticket including all sights
Adult: $ 200
Students with valid cards: $ 100
Children aged 6-12 years: $ 100
Children under 6 years: FREE
Tips for visiting Luxor temple
- If you can visit Luxor temple with an archaeologist guide. You will never find everything in one book with Private Luxor Day Tours. So, the guides will give you more details about ancient Egyptian history and ancient Egyptian Religion.
- Read before you go and make up your questions list to ask your guide.
- Take extra water with you and some snacks, especially in the summer months.
- Small change for the WC
- Do not forget to take your hat, sunglasses, and suncream with you
- Cotton dress during summer