Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Luxor. An alabaster factory and Habu Temple.



Day 7 continues. After the Valley of the Kings, the next stop on the itinerary was for the group to visit Hisam's alabaster factory. Since I had already been at the factory earlier in the morning, I lolled around outside and chatted with some of the workers while everyone else went on the tour and made their purchases afterwards.

We then piled ourselves back into Saeed's truck and made our way to Habu Temple. As usual. Daniel got us our tickets and we followed Ahmed into the site.



Commonly called "Medinet Habu" (the Arabic name for the gigantic mortuary temple of Ramses III), Habu Temple is second only to Karnak is size and complexity and better preserved. In its heyday, Habu was both a temple and a complex of temples and was was one of the earliest places within the Theban region to be associated with the worship of Amun. Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III built a small temple to Amun on the site and next to their temple, Ramesses III built his mortuary temple which is , Medinet Habu’s most conspicuous standing monument today. Rameses III then enclosed both structures within a massive mud-brick enclosure that included storehouses, workshops, administrative offices, and residences of priests and officials.

Entry into the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III is through the First Pylon.

Facing Habu, left side of the First Pylon.


Facing Habu, right side of the First Pylon.


Views of the interior of the Temple.



The one thing that you quickly learn to do when you visit an Egyptian temple is to look up as what you see above is as breath taking as what you see "below".




Just beyond the First Pylon is the First Court which is flanked on one side by chunky statues of Ramses III - with smaller statues of Queen Nefertari on either side of each statue of Ramses III.



On the other side are columns, ornately inscribed with hieroglyphics.



The colors of the wall paintings at Habu are so vibrant, much more so than Karnak, that it's difficult to fathom that they were applied over 3000 years ago!




....and the carvings are much more deeply incised than those at Karnak.


Crossing the First Court, through the Second Pylon, you reach the Second Court. Beyond the Second Court lies the Hypostyle Hall and the Sanctuaries which consists of a coutyard flanked by columns missing their capitals. On the periphery of the courtyard lie smaller rooms and chapels.



Once we finished our visit of the Sanctuaries, we retraced our steps back to the entrance.

I had never heard of Habu before this day and had no idea what to expect. What a gem it turned out to be!

We joined the group, at a nearby restaurant, for a quick drink to quench our thirst.
Next on the agenda. Lunch. Woohoo!! I hadn't had breakfast so I was more than ready to eat!!