The Temple of Medinat Habu is one of the largest memorial Temples in Egypt. It measures 320m in length (east to west) and about 200m in width (north to south). It was built to commemorate Ramses III, after his death, by orders of the King himself. A huge mud brick enclosure wall surrounds the Temple.
This building basically consists of a huge gate, which takes the shape of a Syrian fort, and is decorated with battle scenes of the King’s wars in Syria. After accessing the gate there is a shrine, which dates back to the 18th Dynasty, on the right hand side.
There is also a wide-open court that leads to a huge pylon, which has both towers decorated with battle scenes. On one tower the King, wearing the red crown with his “Ka” or “double”, smiting his enemies in front of Re-Horakhty. On the other tower, the King is represented with the red crown of Lower Egypt, smiting his enemies in front of the God Amon Ra.
One of the most wonderful scenes engraved on the back of the southern tower, is the oxen hunt, which depicts Ramses III, leading his chariot, hunting wild oxen. Here you will notice that the sculptor was very skilful in showing the pain of the wounded animals.
The 1st open court measures 42m long by 33m wide. Its walls are decorated with battle scenes fought against the Syrians and the Libyans.
The 2nd courtyard (42m long by 38m wide) was converted into a basilica in the early Christian times, but there are scenes representing religious ceremonies, especially the festival of the Gods Sokker (also spelt Sokar) and Min. Other scenes represent the King, with the priests, making offerings to various deities.
The 1st Hypostyle is badly damaged, probably by an earthquake in 27 B.C. It contained 24 columns in 6 rows, surrounded by 16 chapels: 8 to the right and 8 to the left. Among the most important shrines on the right side are the first one, which was dedicated to King Ramses III, chapel number 2, which was dedicated to the God Ptah, chapel number 4, which was consecrated for the boat of the God Sokker, and chapel number 7 which was dedicated to the sacred boat of the God Amon Ra.
The chapels on the left side were dedicated to storing the utensils of the Temples, except for chapel number 14, which was dedicated to the sacred boat of King Ramses II, and chapel number15, which was dedicated to the divine boat of the God Montho.
The 2nd Hypostyle hall contains 8 papyrus columns in 2 rows. The 3rd Hypostyle hall is similar to the 2nd Hypostyle hall and its ceiling was supported by 8 columns in 2 rows. At the end of this hypostyle hall there are three entrances, the one in the centre leads to the sanctuary where the sacred boat of Amon Ra was placed, the one to the right side leads to the chapel of the God Khonso while the one of the left side leads to the chapel of the Goddess Mut.
The Sanctuary at the end of the Temple consists of 3 chapels as mentioned before; it was dedicated to the “Triad of Thebes”, and was surrounded by many side chambers.