The Temple of Medinet Habu is one of the largest memorial temples in Egypt. It measures 320 m in length (east to west) and about 200 m in width (north to south). After Ramses III died, the temple was built to commemorate him, by orders of the current king himself. A huge mud brick enclosure wall surrounds the temple.
This building consists of a huge gate in the shape of a Syrian fort and is decorated with battle scenes depicting the king’s wars in Syria. Through the gate to the right is a shrine dating back to the 18th Dynasty. There is also a wide-open court that leads to a huge pylon, with both towers decorated in battle scenes. On one tower the king, wearing the red crown with his “Ka” or “double”, smiting his enemies in front of Re-Horakhty. On the other tower, the king is represented with the red crown of Lower Egypt, smiting his enemies in front of the god Amon Ra.
One of the most wonderful scenes engraved on the back of the southern tower is the oxen hunt. It depicts Ramses III, leading his chariot and hunting wild oxen. Here you will notice that the sculptor was skilled in showing the pain of the wounded animals.
The 1st open court measures 42m long by 33m wide. Its walls are decorated with battle scenes depicting war against the Syrians and the Libyans.
The 2nd courtyard (42m long by 38m wide) was converted into a basilica during the early Christian times, but there are still scenes representing religious ceremonies, especially the festival of the gods Sokker (also spelled Sokar) and Min. Other scenes represent the king, with the priests, making offerings to various deities.
The 1st Hypostyle is badly damaged, probably due to an earthquake in 27 B.C. It once contained 24 columns in 6 rows, surrounded by 16 chapels split evenly. The right side’s four most important shrines were the first one, dedicated to King Ramses III, the second chapel, which was dedicated to the god, Ptah, the fourth chapel, which was consecrated for the boat of the god Sokker, and chapel number 7 which was dedicated to the sacred boat of the god Amon Ra.
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The chapels on the left side stored the utensils of the temples, except for chapel 14, which was dedicated to the sacred boat of King Ramses II, and chapel 15, which was dedicated to the divine boat of the god Montho.
The 2nd Hypostyle hall contains 8 papyrus columns in 2 rows. The 3rdHypostyle hall is similar to the 2nd Hypostyle hall and its ceiling is supported by 8 columns in 2 rows.
At the end of this hypostyle hall, there are three entrances, the one in the center leads to the sanctuary, where the sacred boat of Amon Ra was placed, the one to the right side leads to the chapel of the god Khonso while the of the left side leads to the chapel of the goddess Mut.
The Sanctuary at the end of the temple consists of 3 chapels as mentioned before; it was dedicated to the “Triad of Thebes”, and was surrounded by many side chambers.