One of the most majestic cities in the world is the ancient city of Thebes Egypt, which was used to be the capital of Egypt during Egypt new kingdom (1570-1069 BCE) from the 11th dynasty to the 18th dynasty. It is located east of the Nile River about 800 Km (500 Mi) south of the Mediterranean Sea and 675 Km (419 Mi) south of modern Cairo. The city was considered to be a cult center, a hub for religious activities, and the home of Luxor’s best monuments like the temples of the Karnak, Luxor, and Valley of the Kings where the heart and soul of the ancient Egyptian culture are immortalized.
The city acted as the worship house of the God Amun where it was called Nowe or Nuwe (City of Amon). The greek named the city “Thebai” which was deprived of Ta-ope (The Ancient Name of Luxor) which was based & used by the famous Greek Poet Homer who believed that “Thebes with Hundred Gates” exists in Egypt. The city was the home to many festivals like the Festival of Opet & Shemu. The site became a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 1979 and is famous for being one of the most visited places in Egypt and home of some amazing temples such as (Karnak temple, Luxor temple, Valley of the kings and many more), tombs of famous kings & nobles and artifacts from the different periods of ancient Egypt.
History of Thebes
The history of the city goes way back to Egypt old Kingdom when Thebes was the capital of “Waset” of Upper Egypt’s fourth nomes (Districts). Most of the earliest monuments are from the 11th dynasty (2081-1939 BC) and by the 12th dynasty (1938-1756 BC) the capital of Egypt was Memphis and Thebes was under the control of Foreign invaders called the Hyksos. But the city was freed by King Ahmose and the Hyksos were driven out between (1530-1520 BC).
The glorious history of Thebes started in the 18th dynasty when the city became the official capital and was entirely rebuilt using the great wealth acquired from the great expeditions to the land of Nubia and Asia. The momentum of prosperity reached an extreme elevation in the 14th century during the reign of Amenhotep III where the temples of Amon were drowning in extravagant materials, so it came to no one’s surprise when Akhenaton (1353-1336 BC) attempted to force monotheism in the shape of Atonism (the worship of the only god Aton) but he miserably failed, his actions led to the disturbance of the entire city for many years. Reconstruction of the city began by Tutankhamen (1333-1323 BC) to the highest level of elegance & prestige, both Seti I (1290-1279 BC) and Ramses II (1279-1213 BC) built many temples and enlarged the city as much as they can. At the near end of the new kingdom, the city Thebes fell into darkness as the government fell, the economical atmosphere began to crumble and the priests of Amon held all the power in the worst times in the history of the city of Thebes.
Monuments of Thebes
The city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor) is one of the world’s biggest and most famous tourist destinations due to the infinite number of great temples and glorious monuments located within the legendary Theban Necropolis. Most of the famous attractions in the city were built during the New Kingdom by the hands of Egypt’s greatest rulers. One of the main attractions is the incredible Valley of the Kings & Valley of the Queens that acted as the final resting place of many King and Queens, there is also the biggest house of worship during ancient times the Karnak temple which was built to honor the creator god Amon his wife Mut goddess of justice and their son the moon god Khnosu among other famous gods like the goddess of love, beauty and joy Hathor, the crocodile god of the Nile Sobek, and the sky falcon god of victory and protection Horus. We can’t talk about mortuary temples of Thebes without mentioning the enchanting temple of Hatshepsut one of the most preserved ancient temples in the history of Egypt.
There is also the guardian of Thebes the breathtaking Colossi of Memnon. There are also a number of temples dedicated to many pharaohs who desire to immortalize their own legacy like the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Abu Simbel which detailed his victory at the battle of Kadesh (1275 BC) which is Ramses II biggest achievement. Most of the temples also played a vital role in illustrating the religious beliefs, daily life routines through the magical artistic inscriptions on their walls and a great contributor in providing countless antiquities of one of the most majestic civilization in the history of humanity. Travel to Egypt and enjoy one of our stunning Nile river cruises to witness these temples and monuments accompanied by Egyptologist tour guide.