Luxor Temple: Pylon with Obelisk
(click and drag in image, left or right)
This elegant temple rests along the Nile in the heart of the modern town of
Luxor (site of ancient Thebes). It was begun by Amenophis III and largely
completed by Ramses II, though later builders added to it, including Alexander
the Great and several Roman emperors. An avenue of sphinxes once connected it
to Karnak Temple almost two miles away.
Luxor Temple at
You begin by facing south towards the temple's facade. Until it was cleared in
the 1880s, the temple was engulfed in sand, which reached to the shoulders of
the two seated statues of Ramses II that you see to either side of the portal.
Ramses II also erected the 79-foot-tall pylon and a pair of pink granite
obelisks. Only one obelisk remains; the French removed the other, which now
stands in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. As you move around this image,
watch for people, who give a sense of scale. Can you locate the standing statue
of Ramses II, one of four that once graced the pylon's facade?
The obelisk of Ramses II soars some 82 feet into the air.