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Early Sketch of the layout 		of the excavated temple.   The Ramesseum is the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses II. It is a romantic ruin. The original structure is not evident while you are walking around the site.

This 1880 drawing shows the structure of the Temple. More recent excavations have discovered an adjacent palace connected to the 1st Court and another small temple connected to the 3rd court, which is believed to be dedicated to the mother of Ramesses.

Ramesses II is also called Ramesses the Great. He reigned for 67 years and built many monuments, including Abu Simbel.

Details of the Ramesseum are shown below.

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The father of Ramesses II was Seti I. His , Ramesses I, is thought to have been chosen by Horemheb as his successor. He was not of the royal family, but like Horemheb came from the ranks of the army. Horemheb reigned many years after he took the throne of Tutankhamun and Ay. Ramesses I reigned only a few years before handing the throne to Seti, however, it was enough to firmly begin the Nineteenth Dynasty, The Ramessid Period.

Ramesses II had many wives and concubines and over 100 children. He is often said to be the Pharaoh of the Biblical Exodus, however there are those who disagree (see the Weblinks and Related Books).

He reigned for sixty-seven years and built hundred of monuments. Two of the most famous are the Ramesseum and Abu Simbel. He also built at Karnak and Abydos and constructed a whole new city in the Delta at Piramesse.

The tomb of his favorite wife, Nefertari, is the most beautiful tomb in the Valley of the Queens. It has recently been restored and there is a daily limit on visitors.

Recently, the multi-room tomb built for the burial of his sons was found in the Valley of the Kings.

We visited the Ramesseum in the early morning, although many recommend that the ruin is at its best near sunset. We had the site all to ourselves as the tour buses were busy elsewhere. In fact, I recommend that strategy for all sites. Go where there are no tour buses parked.

The birds were twittering from their nests in the ruins and the sunlight illuminated the remaining corridors and reliefs.



Row of Osiride statues of Rameses II   This row of Osiride columns stands on the right as you enter the site. They are the remains of the 2nd court. Torso of the fallen collosal statue of Ramesses which would have been similar to the one displayed at Memphis.   Fallen colossal statue of Ramesses II. Intact it would have been similar to the one displayed at Memphis .
Head of one of the pair of large statues that guarded the entrance to the Temple. Ken stands beside it. Head and crown is over 6 feet tall.   Head of Statute of Ramesses II that, with its pair, guarded the entrance to the Mortuary Temple. Joan stands beside the shoulder the fallen colossus, reaching barely half way up the width or the shoulder.   View of colossal statue of Ramesses II to show size.
Pylon relief of the God Min and Rameses.   Pylon relief of Ramesses II and the God Min. Lotus columns in hypostyle hall.   Closer look at the  columns


View down the rows of papyrus columns in the third court.   Looking down the row of papyrus columns in the 3rd Court. Commerative Stele showing Rameses II   Commemorative Stele showing Ramesses II
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Here is a link to the latest in the popular series based on what is known of Ramesses' life. This is Volume 5: Ramses : Under the Western Acacia by Christian Jacq, Mary Feeney (Translator). The previous volumes are still in print and also may be ordered from Amazon.

I have also included links to The Lost Tomb by Kent R. Weekswhich is the story of the discovery of the tomb of Ramesses' sons, and Pharaohs and Kings: a Biblical Quest by David Rohl which discusses the chronology of the Pharaohs and Biblical Events, including the Exodus.

  Rameses :Under the Western Acacia, Book Cover

  Order Ramses: Under the Western Acacia (Vol. 5) Today!

The Lost Tomb, Book Cover

  Order The Lost Tomb Today!

Pharaohs and Kings a Biblical Quest, Book Cover

  Order Pharaohs and Kings: a Biblical Quest Today!

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The Eye of Horus from the Tomb of Sennedjem

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