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The colossi of Memnon is what is visible left of the once the greatest mortuary temple built on the Theban west bank. The quartzite (a kind of cristallized sandstone) colossi depicts pharaoh Amenhotep III seated on his throne flanked by small figures of his mother and his wife. Both statues are 18 m high ( their weight, excluding the separate bases is estimated at 800 tonnes) and stood before the entrance to the mortuary temple.The colossus to the right was famous in ancient times for a strange acoustic phenomenon and thus greek travelllers equated the statue with the figure of Memnon, the son of Aurora, the goddess of the dawn, but repairs to the statue (due to an earthquake) in the reign of the Roman emperor Septimus Severus silenced the sound forever. The statues bear a great number of inscriptions of ancient visitors. The colossi are under imminent threat of collapse ( some parts of the statue that have collapsed can be seen in the debris behind the colossus to the left), but during the last years the they have underwent some serious restauration and conservation. Excavation of the remains of the mortuary temple behind the colossi is undergoing and several colossal parts of colossal statues have come to light. After the death of pharaoh Amenhotep III (around 1348 BC) the huge temple was used as a stone quarry by later pharaohs which in their turn built their own mortuary temples. Today this is the first place to be visited by tourists on their way to the Valley on the Kings. I can testify that this is a really crowded place during the tourist season.

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Additional Photos by Christian Stocker (ChristianS) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 968 W: 60 N: 809] (2997)
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