July 15, 2012

Court of Amenhotep III and Hypostyle Hall

Court of Amenhotep III (now known as the Solar Court)
In 1989, when the then Antiquities Organisation was supervising the restoration of this court, specifically to reinforce the columns to the east, they came upon what has become known as the Cache of Luxor Temple. It was a horde of treasures, twenty-two statues in all, buried beneath the flagstones. They included some of the most famous pharaohs, now on display in a new gallery in Luxor Museum (page 181).

Hypostyle Hall
Adjoining the court to the south is the Hypostyle Hall (D), comprising gigantic columns arranged in four rows of eight columns each. The hall stands today as a somewhat cheerless ruin, though the walls still have reliefs of Amenhotep III before the Theban deities. The columns bear the cartouches of Ramses IV, Ramses VI, Ramses II and Seti I, mentioning the repairs carried out in their respective reigns.

To the left of the hypostyle hall stands an altar bearing Latin inscriptions dedicated to the Emperor Augustus. Adjoining the rear wall (to left and right) are two small shrines, one to Mut and one to Khonsu. The section leading off the rear originally had eight columns, which were removed when the area was converted into an apse. The doorway to the sanctuary was walled into a curved recess flanked by two granite Corinthian columns, and the exquisite 18th Dynasty reliefs were plastered over and painted with Roman Emperors. In places where the stucco has fallen off, one can see the reliefs of Amenhotep beneath.

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