Tombs of the Nobles
The tombs in this area are some of the best, but least visited, attractions on the west bank. Nestled in the foothills opposite the...
Colossi of Memnon
The two faceless Colossi of Memnon that rise majestically about 18m from the plain are the first monuments tourists see when they visit...
The tomb of Pabasa, a 26th-dynasty priest, has wonderful scenes of agriculture, hunting and fishing. Entry tickets are available at the...
Ramesseum Rest House
A friendly, laid-back place to relax after temple viewings. In addition to the usual mineral water and soft drinks, beer is sometimes...
With an outdoor terrace and laid-back atmosphere, Mohammed’s is the perfect place to recharge batteries in the middle of a day exploring...
The Ramesseum information
Ramses II called his massive memorial temple ‘the Temple of Millions of Years of User-Maat-Ra’; classical visitors called it the Tomb of Ozymandias; and Jean-François Champollion, who deciphered hieroglyphics, called it the Ramesseum. Like other memorial temples it was part of Ramses II’s funerary complex. His tomb was built deep in the hills, but his memorial temple was on the edge of the cultivation on a canal that connected with the Nile and with other memorial temples.
Unlike the well-preserved structures that Ramses II built at Karnak and Abu Simbel, his memorial temple has not survived the times very well. It is mostly in ruins, despite extensive restoration – a fact that would no doubt disappoint Ramses II. The Ramesseum is famous for the scattered remains of fallen statues that inspired the English poet Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandias’, using the undeniable fact of Ramses’ mortality to ridicule his aspirations to immortality.
Although it is more elaborate than other temples, the fairly orthodox layout of the Ramesseum, consisting of two courts, hypostyle hall, sanctuary, accompanying chambers and storerooms, is uncommon in that the usual rectangular floor plan was altered to incorporate an older, smaller temple – that of Ramses II’s mother, Tuya – off to one side.
The entrance is through a doorway in the northeast corner of the enclosure wall, which leads into the second court, where one should turn left to the first pylon . The first and second pylons measure more than 60m across and feature reliefs of Ramses’ military exploits, particularly his battles against the Hittites. Through the first pylon are the ruins of the huge first court , including the double colonnade that fronted the royal palace .
Near the western stairs is part of the Colossus of Ramses II , the Ozymandias of Shelley’s poem, lying somewhat forlornly on the ground, where it once stood 17.5m tall. The head of another granite statue of Ramses II , one of a pair, lies in the second court . Twenty-nine of the original 48 columns of the great hypostyle hall are still standing. In the smaller hall behind it, the roof, which features astronomical hieroglyphs, is still in place.