Egypt: Thutmose III Festival Temple

Thutmose III Festival Temple

This festival temple has a revolutionary style of architecture. A double row of columns that support the central roof of the temple is higher than the square side pillars which support unique pentagonal roofing slabs over the aisles. Even the columns have a unique design. They are tapered in reverse and narrower at the bottom than at the top. The capitals are reversed calyxes which give the whole temple a tent-like look. Legend says that king Thutmose III envisioned his eternal life to be a desert campaigner. The king was obsessed with the beauty of the desert. He ordered his architects to design his temple in the shape of a tent and what a fine job they did.

The Festival Hall inside the temple was built to commemorate the ancient Hebsed Festival which symbolized rebirth, or renewal of life, and the exaltation of matter into spirit. Around the Festival Hall, there are ruins of many smaller rooms, sanctuaries and chambers. Some of them contain amazing architectural designs. To the very far left of the hall are ruins of a mysterious cantilevered staircase running up the wall.

Behind the Festival hall, lies a sanctuary that contains three chambers. The left chamber has four papyrus style columns. It is known as the Botanical Garden. Its walls are covered with amazing drawings of exotic plants and animals brought back to Egypt from Syria by king Thutmose during the 25th year of his ruling period. These amazing carvings on the chamber walls depict an actual physical manifestation of the philosophical quest in which a living matter seeks its own spiritual exaltation.

To the right of the Botanical Garden, there is a room built by Alexander the Great. Some of the drawings on the walls show Alexander the Great and others show Thutmose III. Both kings are making offerings to Neterw. It seems that Alexander wanted to reinitiate a cycle or a process that had begun by Thutmose.