Splendours of Egypt – Memphis

This morning we drove to Mit Rahina village to visit the Temple of Ptah.   Ptah was the Chief Memphite god and patron of craftsmen and artisans.  The Mit Rahina of today is a small unremarkable village, however the Temple of Ptah was once one of the largest in Egypt.  If you cast your mind back to Karnak Temple, the Temple of Ptah is believed to have been bigger than Karnak.  It’s hard to imagine this when you first walk through the humble front entrance and you might in fact be wondering at the significance of the place.  However, once you see the magnificent statues on site, you can begin to visualize how grand the temple must have been in its days. 

We first visited a small open-air museum which holds remnants of ancient Memphis.  The museum’s showpiece is a giant Temple of Ptahlimestone statue of Rameses II.  Apart from being truncated at the knee, this colossal statue is still in very good condition.  The ancient city of Memphis was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom.  It was believed that King Menes founded Memphis around 3100BC and was the ruler responsible for uniting Upper and Lower Egypt.  Memphis, situated at the head of the Nile Delta, was a majestic city during its times.  Rameses II, son of Sethos I, reigned in the 19th dynasty of the New Kingdom.

In the garden next to the museum stands a giant sphinx, believed to date to the 19th Dynasty.  At 80 tons, this is the largest calcite statue ever found.  Rameses II was known to have built more buildings and had more colossal statues than any other Egyptian kings.   In the garden can be found more statues of Rameses II.  Colossal statues of Rameses II guard the gates to the temple.


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