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Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon are the preserved remains of the ancient temple of Amenhotep III. He was powerless against time, but now the remaining huge statues of the pharaoh, located on a plain near the city of Thebes (modern Luxor), attract many tourists from all over the planet.

COLOSSUS INFORMATION

The colossi of Memnon are located on the opposite bank of the Nile River, on the plain between him and the Valley of the Kings. They are two huge statues 20 meters high, depicting Pharaoh Amenhotep III sitting on the throne. The figures weighing more than 700 tons are made of sandstone blocks.

In ancient times, the colossi of Memnon were guardians guarding the entrance to the temple of Amenhotep – one of the most magnificent and beautiful religious buildings of the time. Unfortunately, time and nature did not spare him – he was too close to the river, and its destruction was much faster than the destruction of temples that were erected far in the desert. Today, only these stone colosses remained from it, but they were also powerless before the elements – the destruction is visible to the naked eye, and the annual floods of the Nile, which stopped only after the construction of the Aswan Dam in the middle of the 20th century, caused them more and more damage.

HISTORICAL FACTS

It is known that the temple of Amenhotep III was erected during the New Kingdom, during the life of the ruler. This temple was rightly considered the largest and most beautiful religious building in Ancient Egypt – neither the memorial temples of Ramses II and Ramses III, nor even the Great Temple of Amun Ra in Karnak could compete with it. The statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep were well known to the ancient Greeks. The ancient historian Strabo told about the earthquake of 27 BC, as a result of which the northern statue was destroyed. He also spoke about the amazing lingering sounds made by this statue at dawn. The Greeks believed that so she salutes the goddess of the morning dawn of Eos. It was they who gave the statues the name “Colossi of Memnon”, because the name Memnon means “Lord of the morning dawn.” In fact, the sounds that the “singing” colosses made can be explained scientifically. The fact is that the air heated by the rays of the rising sun passed through the cracks in the statues. He made this long and melodic sound, which was so perfect that it served as a standard for tuning musical instruments in antiquity. 

In 199 AD, the northern colossus was restored by order of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus. Since then, he no longer makes sounds.

CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Colossi of Memnon is the unique cultural heritage of antiquity that Egypt possesses. These gigantic figures, which have stood for 3 and a half thousand years, continue to delight modern tourists. In the photo you can easily see how big they are.

 

Only thanks to these colossi and the few stone fragments that have remained from the temple of Amenhotep, scientists can make an idea of ​​the whole scope of construction under this ruler, and yet he was really huge. Unfortunately, the temple did not live up to the present, and the statues went to the descendants in a terrible state – the waters of the Nile did not spare them, and a strong earthquake only supplemented their work. However, some Egyptologists are of the opinion that the colossi of Memnon were destroyed not by the elements, but by a very specific person – the king of Persia, Cambyses. But be that as it may, the colossi have survived to this day, albeit in this form. They are an accurate confirmation of the greatness of the pharaoh Amenhotep III and the highest level of development on which Egypt was at that time.

Today in the statues it is difficult to know the appearance of the pharaoh Amenhotep. At the colossi, their faces were erased and collapsed, while they themselves were in countless chips and cracks. But even such – dilapidated, with multiple injuries – the colossi of Memnon continue to attract thousands of tourists. This is not surprising: Egypt (and especially Luxor) is a place where a huge number of ancient monuments are concentrated, attracting many visitors. And a huge part of them must come to admire the colossi and make a memorable photo against the backdrop of these outstanding architectural creations of the Ancient World.

The Colossi of Memnon, located in Luxor , are silent witnesses to countless events taking place in this area for millennia. Time and the elements more than once tried to break them, but they survived. And today, these courageous statues continue to guard the peace of the Great Pharaoh Amenhotep III.