The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor, what you should know before going

The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor are one of the jewels of Ancient Egypt. Some statues whose function was to serve as the entrance to a magnificent funerary complex and which are shrouded in legend. If you plan to visit the jewels of the old city of Thebes, you must include this treasure in your visit itinerary.

The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor are two monumental twin statues that represent one of the greatest pharaohs of Egypt: Amenhotep III. He ruled between 1390 and 1353 BC

Colossi of Memnon

Both statues reach a height of 14 meters, to which we must add the 4 of the pedestals. They show the pharaoh seated, with his hands resting on his knees. His faces face east, so that they are illuminated by the rising sun.

Also, there are two smaller figures that are located next to the throne. They represent Amenhotep’s wife, Tiy, and his mother, Mutemuia.


In addition to these two colossi, there were four others at the entrance to the funerary complex. One of them has been recovered not long ago, although its deterioration was remarkable.


This incredible monument is located on the west bank of the Nile, facing the city of Luxor. The Colossi of Memnon were built from a single piece of red quartzite quarried near Cairo, in the Gebel el-Silsila quarries.

As we anticipated, its purpose was to preside over the entrance to the funerary complex of the pharaoh. A complex that in its time was the largest in all of Egypt, even larger than the Karnak Temple. It occupied an area of ​​35 hectares, however, today only a few remains of it remain.

The legend of the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor

The Colossi of Memnon are protagonists of a curious legend. Centuries ago the stories claimed that every day, when the sun rose, a sharp and prolonged sound came out of its stones. This sound was very similar to crying.

Head of one of the Colossi

The legend tells that the goddess of dawn mourned the death of her son Memnon. This, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, had died at the hands of Achilles in the mythical Troy. Thus, the goddess tearfully asked Jupiter for the resurrection of her child at least once a day.

In this way, every morning at sunrise, the goddess of the dawn embraced with her rays the stone in which her son hid eternally. Y that was the lament that was heard coming out of the statues.

The truth of the legend

Reality is somewhat less romantic than popular stories. The explanation would have to be found in the deterioration suffered by the statues over the years.

Colossi of Memnon

An earthquake that took place in the year 27 BC caused serious damage to the Colossi. To this should be added the effects of erosion. All this caused cracks appeared through which the air entered. And, when the stone was heated by the dawn sun, it was when those “laments” originated.

That’s the explanation that Such singular noises stopped being heard after some restoration works were carried out on the statues. Works that they undertook in the third century, at the time of the Roman Emperor Seventh Severus.

Nevertheless, the legend of the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor endured. In addition, the romantics of the nineteenth century and the adventurers of that time, in some way, helped keep it alive.

The Colossi of Memnon is one of the places you must visit on any trip to Egypt. It is an excursion that you can take without problems from Luxor and that is the perfect complement to the other jewels of Antiquity that you will find in this territory.

The truth is that Egypt is a country of fascinating legends and architecture. The cult of the pharaohs, the magnificent buildings and their history they show us the spirit of one of the greatest civilizations in history of Humanity.

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