Medinet Habu

Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III

Medinet Habu is a group of structures that built from the 18th Dynasty to Roman times. The main building is the mortuary temple of Ramesses III, which can be reached through an unusual entrance structure called the Pavilion. The Pavilion is inspired by a Syrian fortress and includes two small watch towers and a battlement of elevated stonework. The temple was constructed and decorated progressively as Ramesses III’s military campaigns occurred, providing a step-by-step record of his military career. 

Medinet Habu

This structure features a vast gate resembling a Syrian fortress and is adorned with depictions of battles, showing the king’s campaigns in Syria. The shrine on the right is from the 18th Dynasty. There is also a spacious open court that leads to a massive pylon, with both towers embellished with battle scenes. On one tower, the king depicted wearing the red crown with his “Ka” or “double,” smiting his foes in front of Re-Horakhty. On the other tower, the king, wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt, is shown smiting his enemies in front of the god Amon Ra. One of the most impressive scenes carved on the back of the southern tower is the oxen hunt, which portrays Ramesses III leading his chariot and hunting wild oxen. 

Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu is the best-preserved of the New Kingdom memorial temples, and adorned with scenes and texts that illustrate the king’s military victories. South of the temple, a palace for the king is linked to the first court by a Window of Appearances. During the Late Period, several of the Divine Wives of Amon, who were high priestesses and principal administrators of the Amon cult during this era, constructed their tombs in the forecourt of the temple.


Medinet Habu is an old temple that was built to honor Pharaoh Ramesses III. 

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The Location of Medinet Habu

Medinet Habu

First Pylon

Upon entering, we come across a large courtyard. To the right lies the remains of a temple constructed by Hatshepsut, while to the left is a 25th dynasty shrine. The 1st Pylon, adorned on both sides with depictions and inscriptions of Ramesses III’s military victories. The towers possess grooves for flag-staffs, and the pharaoh depicted in the customary pose of holding his enemies by the hair while he strikes them with his club. On the northern tower, he dons the Red Crown and stands before Ra-Harakhte, while on the southern tower, he wears the White Crown and smites the captives before Amon-Ra. Both gods are shown leading groups of captives forward. The captured territories were shown as circular forts with the names of the cities and crowned by bound captives.


At the base of the pylons, there are depictions of Amon sitting while Ptah stands behind him, writing the pharaoh’s name on a palm leaf. Another scene shows the pharaoh kneeling before Amon and receiving the hieroglyph for “Jubilee of the Reign” hung on a palm branch, and Thoth writing the king’s name on the leaves of a tree. The First Court has a colonnade with calyx capitals on the left and Osiris figures on the right. Unfortunately, the latter damaged by the early Christians. On the inner side of the first pylon, there is an interesting representation of the Libyan campaign, which involved mercenaries identifiable by the round helmets on their heads adorned with horns. The pharaoh can be seen charging towards the enemy on his chariot and defeating them.

Medinet Habu

The scenes depicted on the walls at the sides represent victorious war themes, and the king’s return with his captives to attend the great Feast of Amon. Towards the back of the court, Ramesses leads three rows of prisoners to Amon and Mut. These prisoners wear caps adorned with feathers and aprons decorated with tassels. Additionally, there is a long series of inscriptions recording Ramesses’ military triumph over the “Great League of Sea People.”


The second largest ancient temple ever discovered in Egypt

Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu

Second courtyard

After passing through the second Pylon, we enter the Second Court, which later converted into a church. Clay covered the heathen representations, keeping the reliefs in good shape. On both sides of the court, we find amazing processional scenes. Those on the right depict the Great Festival of the God Min, while those on the left show the Festival Ptah-Sokaris. Additionally, there are interesting war reliefs that begin at the inner wall of the second pylon. The first scene depicts Ramesses III attacking the Libyans with his charioteers. He shoots arrows with his bow, and the infantry flees in all directions. The mercenaries are in the low row. The second scene shows him returning from battle with three rows of fettered Libyans tied before him, and two fan bearers behind. The third scene shows him leading his prisoners of war to Amon and Mut.

Medinet Habu

Great Hypostyle Hall

The Great Hypostyle Hall of the temple was originally designed with 24 columns in four rows of six, with the central columns being thicker than the others. It was also roofed and supported by these columns. The wall reliefs in the hall depict Ramesses III in the presence of various deities. There are chambers on either side of the hall. The ones to the left were used for storing valuable jewels, musical instruments, costly vessels, and precious metals, including gold. Additionally, there are two smaller Hypostyle halls, each supported by eight columns, leading to a boat shrine.

Medinet Habu
Medinet Habu

Outer walls

The outside of the temple is adorned with significant historical reliefs that commemorate the wars fought by Ramesses III. The reliefs on the rear of the temple depict the pharaoh’s battle against the Nubians. On the northern wall, ten scenes portray the wars against the Libyans and the naval victory over the People of the Sea. On the southern wall, you can find a Festival Calendar that includes a list of appointed sacrifices dating back to the accession of Ramesses III to the throne.


Medinet Habu opening hours?

6:00 AM- 5:00 PM Every Day 

Medinet Habu entrance fee?

Adult: EGP 200\ Student: EGP 100

Adult: EGP 20\ Student: EGP 10

Where is Medinet Habu located?

Medinet Habu was an important temple structure in Luxor during the New Kingdom period located on the West Bank.

Who built the funerary temple at Medinet Habu?

The temple, which is one of the top Luxor tourist attractions, was built specifically as a mortuary temple by Ramesses III who was the second pharaoh of the 20th dynasty, and also the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom.

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