Luxor Temple EarthCache
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Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes). PLEASE create your visit logs in English if possible.
Known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the southern harem", the temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was built during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-isut) to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility.
The temple of Amun-Ra appears in:
The 1977 James Bond film, The Spy who Loved Me & The 1978 Agatha Christie film, Death on the Nile
The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.
Understanding the Egyptian human past is difficult without having a basic understanding of Nile and desert geology. It has impacted everything from the preservation of human and artefactual remains to the raw materials used for buildings and artefacts.
Luxor is set in a strip of green in the midst of yellow desert, cultivated fields, against a background of red rocks (the Libyan chain), this setting which, with the area of Karnak, was once one of the capitals of the ancient world. Luxor was the ancient, great city of Thebes, capital of the Egyptian empire for almost a thousand years. The city sits on the east bank of the river Nile.
Most of the surface of modern Egypt is covered by a layer of limestone but beneath this lies a bed of sandstone, and this earlier sandstone is the surface rock in Nubia and southern Upper Egypt, as far north as the area between Edfu and Luxor. The oldest ground of modern Egypt comprises outcrops of metamorphic and igneous rocks.
The Nile River cuts its way north from Sudan; through the sandstone. The Valley is narrow, with few fields either side in Lower Nubia and southern Upper Egypt, whereas the limestone Valley in Egypt between Luxor and the Fayum is broader, widening in Middle Egypt with a parallel river branch between Asyut and the Fayum. Between the Fayum and the Delta, the Valley is narrower again, before the river splits into separate branches, forming a great flat Delta between Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile valley is rainless and extremely fertile. Herodotus wrote more than 2000 years ago, "Egypt is... the gift of the river." Egypt depends on the Nile in a way that no other nation does. 97% of Egyptians live on 2.5% of its area. The prosperity of the Nile valley civilizations has depended throughout recorded history on the efficiency with which the central government has organized the best use of the river water. Crops could be stored after years of abundance, for example, and irrigation schemes could be both built and maintained.
The Nile receives its water from the tropical highlands of Africa. The river receives no tributaries at all for the last 1500 km of its course across the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean. In Egypt, far from its sources of water, the Nile has no sudden flood-wave crests. The annual flood starts in June as snowmelt and summer rain flow down the river. It rises gently to its peak in late September and early October, then gently subsides by the end of December. The Nile is one of the most predictable rivers in the world, and its "flood" period averages more than a hundred days, rather than being very short-lived like those of other rivers.
If you are staying in Luxor for more than a day it is well worth seeing the temple at night when it is lit up as well as during the day when you can see more of the fantastic art work. The market Souk behind the temple is worth a walk through and you can get some very very good bargains as long as you are prepared to barter the price right down.
To complete this cache have a photograph taken of yourself with the 1st Pylon in it and a baboon. Upload this with your log and then email me the answers to the following questions:
Start your hunt for the clues 3-10 on the right side of the temple when you enter and work your way round to the opposite side and middle when you reach the end.
1. Whose name is on the 'is the excavated by' sign at the end of the Avenue of Sphinx before you go into the temple?
2. When and Where has the other obelisk gone?
3. Ramesses II is holding a staff on the right side wall by the shrines/chapels but which crown is he wearing?
4. Who is the left hand shrine/chapel dedicated to?
5. Which animals are being offered to the pharaoh on the right hand wall during the later stages in the Opet Festival procession?
6. Which flower are the people carrying from Karnak?
7. Which married couple are sitting behind Ramesses II?
8. Which modern building is in the temple?
9. On the Roman wall painting, how many heads are looking up?
10. Which name is written in black letters on the inside wall?
11. Identify what type of rock it is that the 1st Sphinx in the avenue is made from. Be specific.
12. Once you identify this rock, tell me what type of rock it is. (Igneous, Metamorphic, or Sedimentary)
13. How long is the river Nile claimed to be and how many countries does it flow through?
Best of all enjoy yourself finding out these clues!