August 10, 2013

Medinet Habu Facts

Medinet Habu
For a long time Medinet Habu was nothing more than a very rich quarry from which large squared blocks of stone could be obtained. In the Christian era a village grew up here which the Copts called Djeme and which occupied a large part of the zone where the temple used to be. In fact this new use of the area preserved many remains which might otherwise have been lost. The excavations brought to light traces of a whole city which extended around the Pharaoh’s palace, but only a single house has been uncovered in recognizable form, that of an inspector of the necropoli.

Medinet Habu
The complex at Medinet Habu consisted of the temple of Ramses III in front of which stood the little temple of Tutmose 1 and the chapels of the deities who worshipped Amon. The beautiful South Gate, known as the Royal Pavilion, which is set between a pair of towers and above which there are two rows of longitudinal windows is of imposing almost militaristic appearance. Even the bas-reliefs on the walls of the towers underline the «war-like» character of this building showing as they do the sacrifice of prisoners, the Pharaoh bringing enemy captives before the god Amon, etc...

Medinet Habu
The temple of Ramses III is stylistically one of the most perfect buildings which Egyptian architecture has left us. Beyond the pylon which is 63 metres high and decorated with war scenes, one enters a first courtyard one side of which is taken up with a gallery having Osirian pillars. Beyond other pylons and other courtyards one eventually arrives at the last hypostyle hall which is dominated by a group of statues depicting Ramses III with the god Thot. Not all the decoration in the temple of Medinet Habu is militaristic. For example on one of the architraves the goddess Nekhbet, depicted as a vulture, protects Upper Egypt and, symbolically, the whole temple.

Medinet Habu

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