June 1st, 2014

The history of the temple, reclaimed from the Nile

Since 1999 and up to the present day, has been working the European mission, which in the territory of ancient Thebes, literally from the ashes, restores ensemble mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, protected by two magnificent statues – "Colossi of Memnon." Its strange, at first glance, the name of the statue was in honor of the hero of the Trojan War, who died at the hands of Achilles, because at sunrise they allegedly published a mournful sound resembling human groan. According to the Greeks, so many years ago Memnon greeted his mother Eos. Statues "Colossi of Memnon" guarding the entrance to the temple. On the very same church scientists are still, unfortunately, have scant representation. This is partly due to the fact that its huge territory hidden plowing. And partly by the fact that for many centuries, the temple was attacked "treasure hunters" who took away the crumbs of the precious relics, but they could not take with them, just destroyed. All this led to the fact that only in 1998 was the first to scientists view the area behind the colossi. Their eyes opened a truly amazing sight: a headless sphinx-tipped monster that hid beneath the mud creamy white translucent alabaster, huge granite statues feet, trampling foreign enemies of Egypt, next to the grass were repulsed hands clutching a scepter, and lay stone heads polished weathered statues. So today, scientists can only speculate as looked once majestic temple being built for nearly four decades in the life of Pharaoh.

Egyptian archaeologist Labib Habashi examined abandoned field Kom el-Hettan in the mid 60-ies of XX century. As a result, after the end of his work, he drew a map of the temple and left a number of monuments on the site, except for the huge head of the king, transported to the museum in Luxor. And in 1996, the remains of buildings began to crumble, and the Colossi themselves dangerously tilted. This was the result of a terrible fire in negligence fellahin that processed the neighboring fields. To rescue the Egyptians invited experts of the German Archaeological Institute. Help the World Monuments Fund Grant will clean columns surrounding a large peristyle (framed covered colonnades) temple courtyard, to find sculptures and statues of the lion-king of Sekhmet – goddess of rage, war and plague. Besides, and this is particularly happy, managed to stop the slow reduction of the colossi. In addition, the scientists were able to establish that the two giant statues and queens – Mutemuyi, mother of Amenhotep III, and his wife Teie – were once brightly painted. It helped to know the case – after restoration on modi (crowns queens with towering sacred snakes) appeared traces of polychrome painting.

In addition, to date, it is known that the temple was built in the heyday of Egypt: most of his reign the king Amenhotep III spent in peace with its neighbors. That's when it established diplomatic relations with the states of Syria-Palestine, Babylon, the mighty kingdom of Mitanni, ended his marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Babylon and Mitanni princess. Shaking its luxury courtyard of Amenhotep at Thebes. Judge for yourself: everywhere sparkled gold, ivory, ebony and precious stones. But the special role played at the court of the queen Teie. For example, in its Sedeinge deified and that she was worshiped. What was this woman, enjoying such great attention not only from her husband, but the whole of the Egyptian people? As we know from history, was the wife of Amenhotep Teie III (c. 1388-1351 years BC. E.), As well as one of the greatest queens XVIII dynasty, her mind and authoritativeness were well known in the Ancient East. About the huge impact it had eloquently demonstrated, for example, the fact that she, breaking all the rules established over the years the country has been actively involved in public life. In addition, she was the only woman he sometimes depicted next to her husband and as tall (usually the woman in his life took place less than a man, and therefore portrayed them, basically, only knee-spouse). Amenhotep Teie bore two sons – who died early Thutmose and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten future) are known and the royal couple's daughter. Role princesses at court was so great that the two of them – Satamon and Isis – became "great royal spouses" in the second half of the father, but not eclipsed the image of his mother. But that's not all – during the life of the queen was deified. She was worshiped as one of the incarnations of the Solar Eye – formidable daughter of Ra and as a goddess which protects Egypt. She was worshiped in the temple complex Huth Teie – "Resident Teie" in Sedeinge (Sudan), where her image in the shape of a winged sphinx trampling the enemies of Egypt. Teie surviving spouse and ended her days in the reign of his son – Akhenaten, living in residence dowager queens in Kom Medinet Gurob and only occasionally in guest Ahetatona – new capital. As for her tomb, still go about this controversy and here's why: it fragments of granite sarcophagus discovered during excavations of the royal tombs in Ahetatona, while the fragments of her funeral ark were found in a mysterious tomb-KV55 cache in Thebes. As for mummy, here a little easier: the remains of a luxuriant hair, traditionally ascribed to the queen, were buried in the tomb of Amenhotep priests II in the Valley of the Kings and discovered in 1898 by French archaeologist Victor Loret.

During the reign of the king were built: in Nubia, near Soleb, was erected a temple complex "shine in the Truth," in which the pharaoh during his lifetime was honored as "the good god, lord of Nubia." Famous architect Amenhotep, son of Hapu, and the chief sculptor Myung erected funerary temple at Kom el-Hettane. On the east bank of the Nile Amenhotep III built a beautiful and peristyle colonnade in Luxor temple, also dedicated to the cult of the deified king. Standing there a statue of the king portrayed in the guise of the god Atum – solar creator of the Universe. Amenhotep III so rightly considered one of the greatest builders of Egypt. Complemented the idea of the ancient Egyptian "peace" on the grounds of the royal inscriptions colossi, which are preserved in lists of foreign nations. Then, as the story goes, the church was almost completely destroyed Pharaoh Merneptah XIX dynasty, let its stones to build their own sanctuary. An example of this is the fact that nearly 700 statues of the goddess Sekhmet in the temple were Mut and giant scarab – on the sacred lake of the temple of Amun at Karnak. Known because of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered it in Amenhotep "West Valley", adjacent to the Valley of the Kings, the king's sarcophagus fragments, ritual statues of the pharaoh and his queen. And in 1898 a hiding place in the Valley of the king was found the mummy of the king, in recent years, suffering from many diseases.
Now, fast and complete with ancient mysteries of Egypt to the modern St. Petersburg, where the authorities, on the eve of the 300th anniversary, decided to restore the sphinxes with the University of the Neva River, found in the XIX century by the Greek adventurer Janis Athanase. To lead such an important task assigned to experienced restorers Stanislav Schigorets Albina and DEP, which after a while found that washed from layers monuments are pink. At that time, the sphinxes from St. Petersburg were little known among Western Egyptologists. Therefore, in order to get to know them in a nice city on the Neva came Hourig Suruzyan long searched for a good stone restorers. Thus, our compatriots were part of an international team of Egyptologists, archaeologists and restorers in Kom el-Hettane Work was conducted in 2003-2004. When colossi raised at the feet of the statue of the king found a statue of Queen Teie – extraordinarily beautiful woman in lush wig crowned king's uraeus – the sacred snake and feathers high corona joke, with a scepter of supreme power (hetes) in his hands. And as soon as Ali, a work mission, trowel and brush cleaned the silt and dirt from the face of the forgotten queen of Egypt, her lips began to play faint smile and slight sadness at the same time. Then, as a reward for such hard work, followed by new discoveries: a huge hippo alabaster royal colossi, several statues of Sekhmet. In one of them the artist joined the red and black granite, and the goddess turned krasnolikoy: it turns out that is not in vain in the ancient texts of Sekhmet called "fiery" and "flaming face." For millennia, groundwater washed remains of the temple, and on their surfaces grew salt crystals. That's why restorers, primarily sculpture had desalted, and then clean up and strengthen the thin film on the surface of the stone. And now, we can say some amazingly huge statue head on a simple background landscape near the village of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna becomes part of a vast web that constitutes the past, present and future of this unique place.

According to scientists, the temple specially built close to the Nile. Selecting a location at first glance, such an unexpected, explains nevertheless simple: it was planned that during the flood water will fill it, going to court. Temple likened land, created in the early beginnings, overgrown with reeds and lotuses from which is born of the solar deity – Amenhotep himself. But time has ordered otherwise, and such a beautiful idea actually became the bane of the temple: the construction put on a weak foundation, in some places 14-meter column stood upright on the ground. A century later, the complex began to crumble. And this, in turn, led to the fact that the pharaohs XIX Dynasty ordered to remove the statue in Karnak and Luxor, and the shrine was turned into a quarry. Now to collect together like a massive puzzle pieces giants. According to preliminary data, it will be open-air museum, in which the employees of the European Mission will establish three-dimensional model of the sanctuary – with sphinxes with the University Embankment.