The next location my characters travel to is Ancient Thebes. In the time period the story is set, Thebes is no long the great and thriving metropolis it once was during the New Kingdom. It only serves as a religious centre for the pharaoh and Egyptians. It was during the Middle Kingdom, when the city rose to prominence and the God, Amun became the dominant deity. The site spreads across the Nile: the right bank, with temples at Karnak and Luxor; and the left bank, mortuary tombs of the pharaohs and their families.
The site is renowned for its huge temples dedicated to the Sun God and other gods, notably Mut, the mother and Khonsu, the son. The pharaohs, eager to leave their mark on the world, commissioned temples to be built. Ramesses II left an indelible impression at the entrance to the temple at Luxor with triumphant scenes from the Hittite and Syrian campaign (which now according to experts the images may be propagandist and the truth a little misguided.) Amenophis III has the honours of building the second complex, with its impressive entrance and colonnade that leads into a courtyard, and a hall with crowned columns.
There were so many buildings and fantastic monuments, one must have gotten whip-lash just from trying to see everything and the enormity of them all. For me the hypostyle hall is perhaps the most outstanding, with its forest of columns, painted with scenes from Ramesses’ glorified vision of himself as a demigod and his relationship to Amun. Here is advertising at work!
Thankfully, UNESCO saw its value and listed it as a World Heritage site in 1979.
In my story, the characters are granted access to the Temple of Amun-Re to look for an object they need to complete the quest. They get to see the amazing complex and wander through the hypostyle hall.