September 16, 2013

Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu is the name given to a large group of buildings that were started in the 18th Dynasty, but on which construction continued through to Roman times. The main feature of the complex is the mortuary temple of Ramses III. It is approached by passing through an unusual entrance structure which he built. It is known as the Pavillion, and was undoubtedly inspired by Syrian fortresses (migdols). In front of it are two small watch-towers and a battlement of elevated stonework. It has two upper storeys containing several small apartments with scenes of the pharaoh and his wives.

Medinet Habu
Passing through the entrance we cross a large court. There are ruins of a temple built by Hatshepsut to the right, and a 25th Dynasty shrine to the left. Further back is the main temple.

Medinet Habu
Tomb design and decoration
The actual tomb design was relatively uniform, differing only in length and number of chambers. They usually comprised three corridors, one following the other, sloping deeper and deeper into the bedrock. A shaft at the end of the first corridor, sometimes dropping to a depth of over six metres, was a feature of several tombs; perhaps it was designed to discourage robbers who, despite all effort at concealment, had located the doorway, or for drainage of rainfall. At the end of the third corridor there was usually a door leading to an ante-chamber, and the tomb chamber lay beyond this. Its roof was often supported by pillars and the sarcophagus was placed either at the centre or to the rear.

Medinet Habu

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