Tourist countries \ Egypt \ Beginning of excursion to Luxor in Egypt - Colossi of Memnon

Beginning of excursion to Luxor in Egypt - Colossi of Memnon

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This first article of our long cycle about an excursion to Luxor, which is often called a large open-air museum. Colossi of Memnon will be the first to meet you after you cross the Nile River. The city of Luxor itself is located on the eastern bank of the river, and all the sights on the western shore.

In addition to the colossi, in Luxor one can see the largest in Egypt temple complex of Karnak, including the Luxor Temple dedicated to the god Amonu-Ra, the temple of Hatshepsut, the valley of the kings and the valley of the queens.

Colossi are closest to the river from all the sights, and, logically, all tourists look them in the first place. They, as it were, greet visitors, adjusting to the fact that Luxor will have to look at many statues and temples.

Many tourists have a question, what is a colossus in general, so we will briefly describe what it is like to avoid confusion. The colossus is a huge statue, in fact, any statue of a large size can be called a colossus, for example, the statue "Motherland Calls" in Volgograd can also be given such a name. The most famous was the Rhodes Colossus, one of the ancient wonders of the world, which has not been preserved to our days.

These colossi, of course, are not as big as the Rhodes Colossus, which was 36 meters in height, their height is only 18 meters, but there are many amazing and interesting figures in these statues. The first, interesting fact that archaeologists discovered in these statues is the composition of the stone blocks from which they are built.

The sandstone, which was used in the construction, is completely out of these places, it was mined 700 kilometers north up the Nile, which made it necessary to transport blocks for construction across half of the country, not exactly established.

The second interesting fact you can find, if you look at the statues. Look at the photo below, what do you see behind them?

That's right, nothing. But once the colossi of Memnon guarded the entrance to the largest temple complex in Egypt. Both the temples and colossi were built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III in the 13th century BC, by the way, this colossus depicts it exactly. The place was chosen very unsuccessfully, too close to the river. The temple complex of Amenhotep was constantly flooding, the earthquake filled the sad picture, which ultimately led to its complete destruction.

It is completely incomprehensible how it turned out that the temples were completely destroyed, and the colossi stood. The northern colossus was also destroyed, note that it differs from the second one. On the photo the northern colossus is on the right, the south on the left.

Of course, one can guess how this happened, given the love of the Egyptians to use the ruins of ancient monuments as sources of building materials. For example, earlier on the great pyramids in Giza there was a cladding, which is now preserved only on one pyramid and only on the top.

The northern colossus is associated with what made these statues very famous for the whole ancient world. After it was destroyed by an earthquake, its ruins began to make sounds.

It is difficult now to say what this sound was like, some thought that the destroyed statue is crying, to some that it is groaning, different people have heard different things, according to the recollections of an ancient Greek historian, it was like the sounds of a harp.

The origin of these sounds is still debatable. Discarding all mystical versions, the most plausible is the theory that sounds are caused by evaporation of water from a porous rock. The fact that sounds were most often heard right before dawn makes this version the main one.

Such sounds can be heard even now at some other monuments in Egypt, this property of sandstone, from which almost all the temples and monuments are made.

The ruins of the statue made sounds until the year 199 AD, when this place was visited by the great emperor of the Roman Empire, Septimius Severus. He ordered the statue to be restored, which was done. The result you see in the photo above. At the same time, some fragments of the colossus were not preserved, and they were carved anew. As a result, the northern colossus now consists of several different types of sandstone and no longer produces sounds.

On the statues were beautiful bas-reliefs, which were dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god of the Nile, his name was Hapi. He was simultaneously the god of the river, the god of harvest, birds and fish. They had inscriptions glorifying God.

Now these plates are not much preserved, the remains of one of them you see in the photo to the right, the slab on the second statue has been preserved slightly better. Perhaps the patronage of God and saved the columns from destruction?

At the feet of the statues there are two female figures of a small size, not above the ruler's knees. They depict his wife Tia and Mother Muthemia. This is a common practice for ancient Egypt, women were depicted on statues, but the size of the figures was no higher than the knee. The only exception is the facade of the small temple of Queen Nefertari in Abu Simbel , where the statues of the pharaoh and the queen are equal in size.

Columns of Memnon they are called Europeans, the Arabs call the left el-Colossat, and the right es-Salamat. Formerly they were called Shammy and Tammi, these are slightly modified Arabic words "left" and "right".

Probably, many readers had a question when reading our review, and why we never mentioned Memnon? We answer, we did not mention it, because it is not clear at all, and here it is, and why these statues are called colossi of Memnon.

In the ancient world there were several kings with the name Memnon, but none of them has anything to do with the colossus. The origin of the name remains unknown, of course, there are several theories, the main one is connected with the hero of the Trojan War by the king of Ethiopia Memnon, killed by Achilles, but they are little believed.

After examining the colossi, you can move to other sights, the excursion to Luxor is very long, the next one will be the Temple of Hatspetsut, about which read our next review.

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