Egyption History & Travel - 2010

Valley of Kings - Colossi of Memnon

The last major installation from the New Kingdom which we visited was the Colossi of Memnon, close enough to the entrance to the Valley of the Kings that it is believed to be statues of Amenhotep III which would have stood at the entrance to his enormous mortuary temple, the largest in the New Kingdom which even Ramses could not rival with his Ramasseum. However, it was later dwarfed by the Temple of Karnak.

The statues are twins sitting about 50 ft apart and are made of quartzite sandstone, believed to have been quarried in Cairo. Since the statues are estimated to weigh 700 tons each, modern Egyptian scholars have not been able to agree upon a method by which the ancient Egyptians could have brought the stones from upriver against the current down to Luxor. The statues are 60 ft tall and the 13 ft. pedestal adds more height to the huge sculptures. Smaller figures are carved below the knees of Amenhotep and are believed to be his wife and his mother. There is a complicated story about why these vast monuments are named after a Greek warrior from “The Iliad” rather than continuing to bear the name of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. In 27 BC, a powerful earthquake shattered the easternmost stature, collapsing it from the waist up and cracking the lower half. From then on, that statue was reputed to “sing” about 2 hours before sunrise, usually at dawn. The sounds was described in many


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