The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues, standing 20 metres tall, of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Since 1350BC (over 3,400 years), when Amenhotep III ruled Egypt during the Dynasty XVIII, the statues have stood in the Theban Necroplolis, west of what is now Luxor and the Nile River.
The Colossi of Memnon was built during the pharaoh’s lifetime. Its original function was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep’s memorial temple. Here he was worshipped as a god both before and after his death. However, little of the mortuary temple remains today. The foundations were damaged over time by the annual flooding of the Nile. As a result, the temple was demolished and the stone blocks used in other structures.
Both statues have been damaged over time with the faces and upper bodies now with minimal features left. The southern statue is a single piece of stone while the northern figure has 5 tiers of stone above the waist. These tiers are a different sandstone and is the result of a reconstruction attempt by the Roman Empire.
You will pass the statues on your way to the Valley of the Kings. It is easily accessed as it is just off the road and usually has a number of tourists stopping to take photos. There is very little else at the site but it is well worth stopping to take photos as once at the site you realise just how tall the statues are.