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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 Luxor Temple at night.

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?

Ramses II obelisk The obelisk of Ramses II soars some 82 feet into the air.

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