Mortuary temple

Mortuary temple

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Mortuary temples were temples
Egyptian temple
Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods and commemoration of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt and in regions under Egyptian control. These temples were seen as houses for the gods or kings to whom they were dedicated...

 constructed adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, royal tombs in the Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. The temples were designed to commemorate the reign of the pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 by whom they were built, as well as for use by the pharaoh's cult after death.

History


Mortuary temples were built around pyramids in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but once the New Kingdom pharaohs began constructing tombs in the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings , less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings , is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom .The valley stands on the west bank of...

, they built their mortuary temples separately. These New Kingdom temples were called "mansions of millions of years" by the Egyptians.

These temples were also used as a resting place for the boat of Amun
Amun
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 at the time of the Beautiful festival of the valley
Beautiful festival of the valley
The Beautiful Festival of the Valley was an Ancient Egyptian festival, celebrated annually in Thebes, during the Middle Kingdom period and later....

, during which the cult statue of the god visited the west bank of Thebes.

The first temple was built for Amenhotep I
Amenhotep I
Amenhotep I was the second Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. His reign is generally dated from 1526 to 1506 BC. He was born to Ahmose I and Ahmose-Nefertari, but had at least two elder brothers, Ahmose-ankh and Ahmose Sapair, and was not expected to inherit the throne...

 of the 18th dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

. Several other 18th dynasty rulers built temples for the same purpose, the best known being those at Deir el-Bahari, where Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

 built beside the funerary temple of Mentuhotep II
Mentuhotep II
Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II was a Pharaoh of the 11th dynasty, the son of Intef III of Egypt and a minor queen called Iah. His own wife was the 'king's mother' Tem. Other wives were Neferu and several secondary wives, one or more who it has been suggested were possibly Nubian, buried in his...

, and that of Amenhotep III
Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III
The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III is located in the Theban necropolis, on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Luxor in Egypt. It was built for the Pharaoh Amenhotep III...

, of which the only major extant remains are the Colossi of Memnon
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. For the past 3400 years they have stood in the Theban necropolis, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor.-Description:The twin statues depict Amenhotep III The Colossi of Memnon (known to locals as...

.

Later rulers of the 18th Dynasty either failed to build here at all or, in the case of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

, Ay
Ay
Ay was the penultimate Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty. He held the throne of Egypt for a brief four-year period , although he was a close advisor to two and perhaps three of the pharaohs who ruled before him and was the power behind the throne during Tutankhamun's reign...

 and Horemheb
Horemheb
Horemheb was the last Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty from either 1319 BC to late 1292 BC, or 1306 to late 1292 BC although he was not related to the preceding royal family and is believed to have been of common birth.Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief...

, their construction was not completed. The 19th Dynasty
Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt
The Nineteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt was one of the periods of the Egyptian New Kingdom. Founded by Vizier Ramesses I, whom Pharaoh Horemheb chose as his successor to the throne, this dynasty is best known for its military conquests in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria.The warrior kings of the...

 ruler Seti I
Seti I
Menmaatre Seti I was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt , the son of Ramesses I and Queen Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II...

 constructed his temple
Mortuary Temple of Seti I
The Mortuary Temple of Seti I is the memorial temple of Pharaoh Seti I. It is located in the Theban necropolis in Upper Egypt, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor, near to the modern town of Qurna.-Construction:...

 at what is now known as Gurna
Kurna
Kurna are various spelling for a group of three closely related villages located on the West Bank of the River Nile opposite the modern city of Luxor in Egypt near the Theban Hills.New Qurna was designed and built in the late 1940s and early 1950s by...

. Part of his "Glorious temple of Seti Merenptah in the field of Amun which resides at the West of Thebes" was dedicated to his father Ramesses I
Ramesses I
Menpehtyre Ramesses I was the founding Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's 19th dynasty. The dates for his short reign are not completely known but the time-line of late 1292-1290 BC is frequently cited as well as 1295-1294 BC...

, whose short reign prevented him from building his own, and was completed by his son Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

.

Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

 constructed his own temple, referred to as the Ramesseum
Ramesseum
The Ramesseum is the memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II . It is located in the Theban necropolis in Upper Egypt, across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor...

 (a name given to it by Champollion in 1829): "Temple of a million years of Usermaatre Setepenre which is linked with Thebes-the-Quoted in the Field of Amun, in the West".

Much later, during the 20th Dynasty
Twentieth dynasty of Egypt
The Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group title, New Kingdom. This dynasty is considered to be the last one of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and was followed by the Third Intermediate Period....

, Ramesses III
Ramesses III
Usimare Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty and is considered to be the last great New Kingdom king to wield any substantial authority over Egypt. He was the son of Setnakhte and Queen Tiy-Merenese. Ramesses III is believed to have reigned from March 1186 to April 1155 BCE...

 constructed his own temple at Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu (temple)
Medinet Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt...

.