It seems almost unfathomable to imagine a mosque inside such an important and vastly visited site such as Luxor Temple. Moreover, as women grasp the hands of their kids to pray and men touch the saints’ icons inside the heart of the mosque, it is more than obvious that those praying have grown accustomed to the mishmash of influences, as the mosque is actively used today.
When visiting Luxor, the average traveler is spoiled for choice. However, one attractive and evident site to visit is none other than Luxor Temple.
The icon of the Upper Egyptian city, arguably one of Egypt’s oldest towns on which the modern-day Luxor is built on, is the temple.
In truth, the ‘temple’ is the wrong title for the impressive archaeological giant as it comprises of several temples and archeological features built by different pharaohs in the New Kingdom (1550 – 1069 BC).
Two kings essentially build the temple, Ramses II and Amenhotep III (the grand-father of Tutankhamun) with the boy king himself having commissioned features of the Luxor site, including the fourteen colossal columns. There is also a small worshiping space – a chapel dedicated to the goddess Mut – inside the enclosure.
The art style of the temple can be difficult to date for the average tourist, but the New Kingdom influences of the human figures are clear: smooth, slender figures, fluid movement and flowing clothing are some of this period’s typical characteristics, distinguishing itself from the older, more ‘rigid’ form of Egypt’s Old Kingdom. Finally, deep in the shrine and in the back of the temple are the clear markings of the Ptolemaic period, as they are ‘fuller figures with softer facial features and alternative fashion.
Although it has surviving today for more than, 3,000 years, the temple was eventually reused in the roman times as an imperial cult space. Then, a Christian basilica was built in the first court, in the northeast corner of the temple. One can still distinguish some remaining paintings today.
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