The great Ptah temple

The Great Ptah Temple, dedicated to the worship of the creator god Ptah, was the largest and most important temple in ancient Memphis.

It was one of the most prominent structures in the city, occupying a large district in the center of the city.

Enriched by centuries of veneration, the temple was one of the three most important places of worship in ancient Egypt,

the others are the great temples of Ra at Heliopolis, and of Amun at Thebes.

Much of what is known about the ancient temple today comes from the writings of Herodotus,

who visited the site at the time of the first Persian invasion, long after the fall of the New Kingdom.

Herodotus claimed that the temple was founded by Menes himself, and that the core construction of the complex was limited to priests and kings.

However, his account provides no physical description of the complex.

Archaeological work in the last century gradually excavated the ruins of the temple,

revealing a large walled compound accessible by several monumental gates located along the southern,

western and eastern walls.

The remains of the great temple and its buildings are displayed as an open-air museum near the great colossus of Ramses II,

which originally stood at the southern part of the temple.

Also in this sector is a large sphinx monolith, discovered in the 19th century. It dates back to the 18th Dynasty,

most likely to have been created during the reign of Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV.

The specific appearance of the temple is unclear at this time, and only that of the main entrance to the perimeter is known.

Recent developments include the discovery of large statues that decorated the gates or towers.

These statues date from the time of the reign of Ramesses II.

This king also built at least three shrines in the temple complex where worship took place

in connection with the gods to whom they were dedicated.

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