The Temples of Montu
Montu was a falcon-headed deity whose origins date back to the Old Kingdom. During Dynasty XI the god achieved the status of patron of the Theban kings and became associated with war. Several temples to the north and south of Thebes were dedicated to Montu during the Middle Kingdom and added to by pharaohs of later dynasties.
The Temple of Montu at Medamud
The temple of Medamud is very close to Luxor, about 8km to the north and was once linked to the Temple of Montu at Karnak by a canal. The site of the present temple is known to have been superimposed on remains from the Middle Kingdom or possibly earlier, by kings of the Graeco-Roman Period. The later buildings were dedicated to Montu, Rattawy and Harpocrates.
The entrance to the temple has an unusual triple portal with kiosks built by Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. In the southern kiosk the screen walls were decorated with reliefs of singers and musicians, and the god, Bes, dancing.
Behind the kiosks, a large forecourt with an altar was decorated by Antonius Pius and its slender columns are the most substantial remains of the monument.
In the main part of the temple the hypostyle hall is now a ruin, but a granite doorway depicting Amenhotep II before Montu-re has been preserved among the later remains of columns. Little now remains of the sanctuary, which had a passage around it leading off to small chambers.
Behind the main part of the temple was a ‘Great East Court’ which was a precinct of the sacred bull, the incarnation of the god. On the remains of the exterior south wall is a relief of Trajan worshipping the sacred bull which marks a place where oracles were delivered.
Within the temple enclosure was a sacred lake, a well and granaries, now gone. A small temple of Ptolemy III Euergetes I once stood in the southwest corner and sphinxes lined a processional way leading from the main temple down to the quay.
To the east of the temple precinct was a cemetery. A block field on the southern side of the temple is worth investigating as it contains many interesting fragmentary reliefs.
How to get there
Although only a short distance from Luxor, the Temple of Montu at Medamud is officially closed to visitors. If you are really keen it is sometimes possible to obtain permission to visit the site from the Tourist Police in Luxor in which case they would accompany your taxi.