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Ramesseum

Step into history at the Ramesseum temple complex, an iconic tribute to Pharaoh Ramesses II. Explore ancient grandeur and epic tales.

Ramesseum - Egypt Tours Portal
Overview
Ramesseum
Location Luxor, Egypt
Builder Ramesses II
Founded 13th century BC
Purpose Mortuary temple dedicated to honor and commemorate Pharaoh Ramesses II

Summary

  • Ramses II, a prolific ruler in ancient Egypt's New Kingdom, built the Ramesseum as his mortuary temple, celebrating his 67-year reign and expansive empire.
  • Situated on the west side of the Nile River, this temple features grand architecture, including a colossal statue of Ramses the Great, a courtyard, and a hypostyle hall with 48 columns.
  • The Ramesseum is famed for inspiring Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias." It also houses the Ramesseum Medical Papyrus, a rare collection of detailed ancient medical documents.
  • In the Middle Kingdom, the temple's granaries and storehouses played a crucial role in providing sustenance to workers and dependents, highlighting its economic importance.
  • Hieroglyphic inscriptions and reliefs within the temple depict scenes from Ramses II's reign, military victories, and offerings to celestial gods, underscoring its significance in understanding ancient Egyptian culture.
  • As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Theban Necropolis, the Ramesseum endures as a lasting monument to Ramses the Great and a window into the grandeur of ancient Egypt.

Ozymandias, Ramses the Great wished to further immortalize his legacy by constructing a magical house of millions of years of User Maat-Ra that unity the whole city of Thebes with the spectrum of Amun. The Ramesseum temple acts as a time vault filled with memories showcasing the blessed moments and beliefs from the lives of great men and women who created the most incredible civilization the world has ever seen.

This article provides an informative exploration of the Ramesseum, delving into its history, architecture, significance, and contemporary relevance in understanding ancient Egypt.

The Location of Ramesseum

The Ramesseum was used as the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Ramses the Great (1279 – 1213 BC) located in Upper Egypt in the Theban Necropolis on the Westside of the Nile River across Luxor city and 100 km (62 miles) in the northeast of Cairo which is dedicated for Ra the sun god.

Who Built the Ramesseum

Ramses II Statue at Ramesseum Temple - Egypt Tours Portal
Ramses II Statue at Ramesseum Temple - Egypt Tours Portal

Ramses the Great gained the reputation as one of the most influential kings in the history of the New Kingdom of Egypt (1550 – 1070 BC) who was also a prolific builder all over Luxor and Aswan. Ramses II (1279 – 1213 BC) ruled for 67 years and he was able to expand his empire in all directions. The Ramesseum temple was dedicated to protecting and displaying his influence and power.

History of Ramesseum Temple

Ancient Columns inside Ramesseum - Egypt Tours Portal
Ancient Columns inside Ramesseum - Egypt Tours Portal

The Ramesseum temple was constructed by Ramses the Great plus enlarged by a number of ancient Egyptian kings such as Ramsess III and Mernptah. One of the most captivating constructions in the Ramesseum temple is the colossal statue of Ramses the Great which is more than 1000 tons in weight and reaches a height of 18m it was referred to as Memnonium Temple which was associated with their Memnon legendary hero who is the son of Aurora was happens to be the son of Eos the goddess of Dawn.

The enchanting Ramesseum temple was the inspiration behind the poem of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Some of the most detailed information about the descriptions and inscriptions of the temple was from Diodorus the Roman historian. It was unfortunately not preserved as Abu Simbel temple and Karnak plus it was extensively restored in 1896 by William Flinders Petrie the Egyptologist who the Isreal Stella of Mernptah who was mentioned in the book of Exodus.

Design of Ramesseum Temple

Design of Ramesseum Temple - Egypt Tours Portal
Hathor, Ramses II, Amun Ra & Nefertari at Ramesseum Temple - Egypt Tours Portal

The Ramesseum temple has various remains of the toppled colossus of King Ramesses the Great which stood over 6 stories high. It was the biggest freestanding statue ever made in Egypt and the largest sculpture ever made anywhere on earth. The decoration found on the grand columns of the hypostyle hall showcases the craftsmanship of that era.

The Ramesseum temple measurements of 220 ft by 600 ft and has the main entrance on its eastern pylon which is decorated with the battle of Kadesh scenes between the Hittites and Ramses II plus on the right side of the pylon is a list of the 118 cities that King Ramses II was able to conquer. In the courtyard of the entrance is a legendary status of Ramsess which holds a text at its feet that translates as "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair".

In the grand hypostyle hall, there are 48 columns that remain standing also reflecting scenes from the battle of Kadesh. There is also a much older temple which was constructed by Seti I that is dedicated to Amun-Ra on the outside of the hypostyle hall. The second courtyard is in much better condition as it holds two rows of the ruler of the underworld Osiris which represents King Ramses the Great. In the south is a small hypostyle hall that holds eight papyrus bud columns. There is a hall of astronomy where there are 12 months illustrated calendars.

There are also scenes of offerings and the divine boat of Amun Ra. On the western hall of the Ramesseum temple is the image of Ramsess the Great sitting under the life tree where the god of knowledge Thoth and the goddess Seshat are recording his name across the leaves of the tree to bless him with long life. On the western side of the temple are two vestibules that lead to a library, a linen room, and a sanctuary dedicated to Amun-Ra. In the south of the Ramesseum temple is the small temple of Mern-Ptah the main successor of Ramses II.

Ramesseum Papyrus

Ramesseum Papyrus - Egypt Tours Portal
Ramesseum Papyrus - Egypt Tours Portal

The Ramesseum Medical Papyrus was a collection of magnificent ancient Egyptian medical documents that date all the way to the 18th century BC that was found in the golden Ramesseum temple. The papyri deal with a number of medical subjects such as the structure of the body, diseases, and ailments, and mention many remedies and cures that can heal different kinds of afflictions which are gynecology, ophthalmologic ailments, tendons, muscles, and diseases of children.

It is highly famous and very important as it is one of a kind and by far the only papyrus in existence that describes everything in great detail. The majority of these texts found in the famous manuscripts of this epic collection are found in the third, fourth, and fifth parts which are displayed in vertical columns. Papyrus IV showcases a number of Issues which is similar to the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus which are pregnancy labor, newborn protection, the best way to predict the rate of survival, and ideal methods to predict the gender of the newborn. The papyrus also contains a contraception formula. There are a number of various prescriptions in papyrus V that deal with the relaxation of the limbs which are written in hieroglyphics instead of hieratic like the majority of all the other medical texts.

Ramesseum Granaries

Ramesseum Granaries - Egypt Tours Portal
Ramesseum Granaries - Egypt Tours Portal

The granaries and storehouses were made of mudbricks at the great site of the temple of Ramesses the Great which was shaped from cultivated land that was fertilized by the Nile.

The granaries were created at the height of the middle kingdom which acted as a powerful economic powerhouse that was responsible for feeding countless dependents and workers.

Facts about Ramesseum

Facts about Ramesseum - Egypt Tours Portal
Facts about Ramesseum - Egypt Tours Portal
  • The Ramesseum was established by Ozymandias during his reign from 1279 to 1213 BC which lasted for 66 years.
  • The temple holds fragments of a gigantic statue of Ramses the Great which weighs over 1000 tons and are found in its main entrance.
  • It is famous for bringing a powerful and inspiring feat of architecture that feature a great pylon (entrance gate), a central courtyard, a hypostyle hall with 48 columns, and sanctuaries dedicated to a number of ancient Egyptian gods and goddess.
  • The Ramesseum is enchanted with many magical hieroglyphic inscriptions and reliefs that depict scenes from Ramses II's reign, his military victories, and offerings to the celestial gods like Ptah, Ra-Horakhty, and Amun as seen across all the chapels and religious structures.
  • During the reign of Ramses II's successor Merneptah, the Ramesseum suffered from natural vandalism, decay, and quarry across the ages.
  • The Ramessum was the source of Percy Bysshe Shelley's famous poem "Ozymandias" which reflects on the transience of great human achievements and the eventual decline of even the mightiest empires that stood the test of time.
  • The Ramesseum is part of the larger Theban Necropolis which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thus recognizes its historical and cultural significance to humanity which offers a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient Egyptian temples

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ramesseum Famous for?

The Ramesseum is entirely dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses the Great who is famous for being the most powerful, influential, and long-reigning pharaohs in ancient Egypt's history. It is made to immortalize everything concerning his reign and numerous achievements. The Ramesseum also acts as a mortuary temple where many rituals and ceremonies are offered to commemorate the life of Ozymandias and win the bliss of the gods. It is famous for holding incredible architecture which contains magical high-preserved hieroglyphic inscriptions and reliefs that provide valuable historical and artistic insights into ancient Egypt as seen on the entrance gateways and the massive statue of Ramses the Great.

What is the Meaning of Ramesseum?

The name Ramesseum is known as the temple of Ramesses which refer to the power of his name which was also known as the naming of many monuments and temple complex.

Why Was the Ramesseum Created?

The Ramesseum was created for several religious purposes as many ancient Egyptians used the temple to worship the gods and goddesses and perform a number of religious rituals. It also was used to immortalize the memory of Ozymandias with his many achievements during his long reign. It also served as a political statement to display his power, prestige, wealth, and devotion to the gods in order to solidify his heritage till the end of time.

How Long Did It Take to Build Ramesseum?

Ramesseum was built between 1279 and 1213 BC and was erected on the western bank of the Nile River across the golden lands of Thebes that was renowned for its 57-foot (17-meter) seated statue of Ramses II was dedicated to the god Amun and the eternal deceased Pharaoh.

When Was the Ramesseum Discovered?

Ramesseum was discovered around the 1st century BC by Diodorus, and Giovanni Belzoni around 1815. It was visited by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Then discovered by Napoleon Bonaparte around 1798 Egyptologty oraginated. Jean-François Champollion, the French scholar known for deciphering hieroglyphs, made essential contributions to the understanding of the Ramesseum and its inscriptions during the early 19th century. In 1991, it was explored and excavated to preserve it and bring to life important facts.

What Are the Finest Destinations to Visit in Egypt?

The entire country of Egypt deserve to be explored with its every heavenly detail but there are places that must be seen before any other such as the breathtaking Hurghada's red sea, The wonders of Cairo the pyramids of Giza, the great sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the wonders of Luxor like Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Hatshepsut temple and the wonders of Aswan such as Abu Simbel temples, Philea temple, Unfinished obelisk and The Wonders of Alexandria like Qaitbat Citadel, Pompey's Pillar and Alexandria Library. Read more about the best places to visit in Egypt.

What Are Egypt's Visa Requirements?

If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries, have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD in cash, as for the E-Visa for 30 day you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could also be one of the lucky ones who can obtain a free visa for 90 days. Read more about Egypt travel visa.

What Is the Top Traditional Egyptian Food?

Egypt has a variety of delicious cuisines but we recommend “Ful & Ta’meya (Fava Beans and Falafel)”, Mulukhiya, “Koshary”, a traditional Egyptian pasta dish, and Kebab & Kofta, the Egyptian traditional meat dish.

What is the Best Time to Visit Egypt?

The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a little tropical accompanied by a magical atmosphere of warm weather with a winter breeze. You will be notified in the week of your trip if the Climate is unsafe and if any changes have been made.

What to Pack for Your Egypt Tour?

You should pack everything you could ever need in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.

Why Book With "Egypt Tours Portal"?

We have been creating the finest vacations for more than 20 years around the most majestic destinations in Egypt. Our staff consists of the best operators, guides and drivers who dedicate all of their time & effort to make you have the perfect vacation. All of our tours are customized by Travel, Financial & Time consultants to fit your every possible need during your vacation. It doesn't go without saying that your safety and comfort are our main priority and all of our resources will be directed to provide the finest atmosphere until you return home.

Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?

You will feel safe in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is quite peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt. Read more about is it safe to travel to Egypt.

What to Wear While in Egypt?

Wear whatever feels right and comfortable. It is advised to wear something light and comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the terrain of Egypt. Put on sun block during your time in Egypt in the summer to protect yourself from the sun.

What are the Best Activities to Do in Egypt?

The best activity is by far boarding a Nile Cruise between Luxor and Aswan or Vise Versa. Witness the beauty of Egypt from a hot balloon or a plane and try all the delicious Egyptian cuisines and drinks plus shopping in old Cairo. Explore the allure and wonders of the red sea in the magical city resorts of Egypt like Hurghada and many more by diving and snorkeling in the marine life or Hurghada. Behold the mesmerizing western desert by a safari trip under the heavenly Egyptian skies.

What are Egypt Festival and Public Holidays?

There are a lot of public holidays in Egypt too many to count either religious or nation, the most important festivals are the holy month of Ramadan which ends with Eid Al Fitr, Christmas and new years eve. Read more about festivals & publich holidays in Egypt.

What are Special Advice for Foreign Women in Egypt?

Egypt is considered to be one of the most liberal Islamic countries but it has become a little bit conservative in the last couple of decades so it is advised to avoid showing your chest, shoulders or legs below the knees.

What are the Official Languages of Egypt?

Arabic is the official language and Most Egyptians, who live in the cities, speak or understand English or at least some English words or phrases. Fewer Egyptians can speak French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Professional tour guides, who work in the tourism sector, are equipped to handle visitors who cannot speak Arabic and they will speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of all our clients.

What is the Transportation in Egypt?

The fastest way is a car, of course, a taxi. If you are in Cairo ride a white taxi to move faster or you could board the fastest way of transportation in Egypt metro if the roads are in rush hour.

What is the Weather is Like?

The temperature in Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c. Summer in Egypt is somehow hot but sometimes it becomes cold at night and winter is cool and mild. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 °C in the wintertime to 23 °C in the summertime and the average high temperatures vary from 17 °C in the wintertime to 32 °C in the summertime. The temperature is moderate all along the coasts.

What are the Reasons That Make You Visit Egypt?

It is the home of everything a traveler might be looking for from amazing historical sites dating to more than 4000 years to enchanting city resorts & beaches. You will live the vacation you deserve as Egypt has everything you could possibly imagine.

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