Luxor - The Pylon and Obelisk

View of the pylon of the temple of Amun-Kamutef at Luxor with, still mostly buried in sand, two seated colossi of Rameses II (1279-1213 BC) and the standing obelisk of the pair erected in front of them by the same pharaoh. The other obelisk was donated by Egypt to France in 1829, moved to Paris in 1833 and erected in 1836 in Place de la Concorde where it still stands. The temple was a religious site founded during the reign of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) and enlarged by successive pharaohs, notably Rameses II. The main function of the complex was to offer the setting for the Festival of Opet, centred on the annual ceremonial procession of the cult statue of the god Amun from his temple at Karnak to this at Luxor, linked by an avenue of sphinxes. At the time the photograph was taken, a whole village had been built on the layers of sand and silt accumulated over the centuries. Some modern mudbricks walls can be seen in the background, to the left, and one of the domes of the Mosque of Abu al-Haggag is visible through the pylon gate. The layers of sand and silt started to get removed in the 1880s by Gaston Maspero (1846-1916) but the village mosque was left intact and still stands today.

Object Details

Luxor – The Pylon and Obelisk

Francis Frith




Albumen print

16.3 x 20.7 cm

Acquired by King Edward VII when Prince of Wales