10 Ancient Egyptian Monuments

Martina Rosado
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Temple of Hatshepsut

(Luxor)

There are currently 17 pyramids available for public viewing in Egypt, however, if you time your visit right, you may be able to visit Egypt’s most famous pyramid.

The Temple of Hatshepsut is located at the outskirts of the ancient city of Luxor. The site contains 7 pyramids of varying ages and sizes and the Temple of Hatshepsut is the most famous.

Not only is the temple located in “The Valley of the Queens” cemetery where the 18th Cleopatra (Antony’s lover) was interred, but it is also the only temple in Egypt that was dedicated to a queen.

While you may find it the to be less impressive than the famous Giza Pyramids, the temple is still attributed to be the best surviving structure from the late period of ancient Egypt.

It is also the only tomb from this time period to show a variety of architectural styles.

These styles included Egyptian (everything inside the temple), Greek (the columns and walls) and Roman (the outsides).

While you may not find any gold vases, you will still be able to walk between all the chambers and look at the remains of the temple.

Bent Pyramid

Step Pyramid of Djoser

Djoser was a very busy guy. He was, by all accounts, not just a king but a pharaoh. He ruled the most powerful kingdom in Egypt and built one of the first pyramids ever dared. Now he's not the only one credited with building an ancient pyramid, but he's the only guy who has his face on a bill.

His pyramid is one of the first to actually be named for the king who built it (though it's also a traditional name for pyramid in general). His name, Djoser, means "the strong one has conquered." He actually built it for himself.

It's a necessary distinction, because this was just over 2,000 years before Khufu: the first pharaoh. And you want to get credit for the first pyramid, no matter how many other pyramids you build, right?

The pyramid has a base of 120 feet x 200 feet next to a 300-foot high step pyramid. It was built of blocks of granite. It was almost twice as tall as his neighbors. It was the tallest building in the world for quite a while.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple is famous for its limestone obelisk, considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its construction began in 1364 BCE and was completed in 1360 BCE. In ancient times, it was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian gods Amen-Re and Mut, with later additions made to the temple by Ramesses II.

The Luxor Obelisk or the “banner of Seti I‹ (Sethos: “The Son of Ra‹) is the largest and one of the best examples of Egyptian obelisks; it stands at a height of 72.5 meters (236 ft) and stands at the south end of the Court of the Colossi.

The city of Luxor celebrates the feast day of Horus, the falcon god, for three days every year. On the first day, the “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony is performed in which the statue of the god is carried three times around the temple. Then on the second day, a procession organized by the Antiquities Department of Luxor takes place.

On the third day, replica statues of the gods are carried through the area to ensure that tourists understand the ritual. Five thousand participants perform a dance to the sound of drums along with actors dressed as Osiris, Horus and Anubis.

Great Sphinx

Located at the Giza Plateau in Giza, Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza, also known as the Sphinx of Giza, is a limestone monolith, which is believed as a visual manifestation of the god Giza. The Great Sphinx of Giza is the largest monolith statue. The tip of its nose is fifteen feet above the ground whereas the head is also sitting on the ground level.

The face of this statue is riddled with carvings that are not only noticeable by the casual viewer, but clearly visible by the archaeologists who have spent years studying the enduring remains. Countless cultural interactions and subsequently, a variety of names have been attributed to the Sphinx in its long history.

This has led to a variety of different interpretations and extrapolations about its original nature and purpose. One of the longest serving and most persistent myths associated with the Sphinx is the belief that it is actually built from the body of a Pharaoh.

In the primary literature, the Great Sphinx is first referred to by the Greek author Thóricus, who noted that it is older than the Pyramids of Egypt. In the New Kingdom, the Great Sphinx might have been referred to as Hor-em-akhet or "Horus of the Horizon".

Red Pyramid

The red pyramid is one of the smallest pyramids on the Giza plateau. It was erected during Pharaoh Sneferu’s reign on the north of the plateau and was built using the smoothed and flattened sides of the original rough stone.

It was later named the Red Pyramid because of the bright red quartzite used in its construction. The pyramid’s distinguishing characteristic is its upper section or capstone, which was built with the characteristic flat, triangular shape on its three sides and was left overhanging the structure on the north side.

With a height of 55 metres (180 ft) with an incline of 53 degrees, the smooth-sided pyramid is one of the best preserved structures on the Giza plate. Due to its small size, the pyramid is often compared to a large mastaba, although it rises to a height that makes it larger than the largest tombs.

It was initially thought that the pyramid was begun in the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, although no dating of the construction has been found. It is believed that it was the unfinished project of Sneferu due to the remains of casing blocks that were left on the outside of the pyramid, as well as some fragments of cartonage of the kind that was used for the casing of stone blocks.

Valley of the Kings

Abu Simbel

Karnak

Temple Luxor Karnak Temple was built by the ancient Egyptians as a spiritual center. The layout displayed in the picture above is the inner sanctum, which was developed by King Amenhotep III. The center of the temple features four shrines dedicated to the sun god.

The temple’s importance in the ancient Egyptian civilization is reflected by the information contained inside, which describes the construction of the temple and its purpose as a sacred focal point in the great city of Thebes. The most famous part of the temple is the sanctuary, which is a smaller version of the entire complex.

Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza are the best known and most famous of all the ancient monuments from ancient Egypt. Although the construction of the pyramids was a very complex process, they were built to last, which makes them a wonderful monument for contemplation of our own mortality, something that can be more difficult to consider in cities such as New York or London.

The largest pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Giza, was built for Pharaoh Khufu. The pyramid was built during a time when the most amazing architectural designs in history were being perfected.

Constructed of limestone blocks, it stands 146 meters (480 feet) in height, with an estimated base area of 7,700,000 square feet, making it the tallest structure on Earth for many thousands of years.

The Egyptians referred to these buildings as "The House of Millions of Years", thinking of the immense length of time it took to build the structure.

The original pyramid contained passages and rooms that were supposed to protect the king who was buried in its center.

Although the tomb was robbed in antiquity, and its contents were lost, shafts and corridors were left for future archaeologists. It has been explored for decades and provides a window into Egyptian culture at the height of their power.