Take a break from your work and busy life. You and your family and friends can enjoy amazing sites deep in the heart of the oldest capital in ancient Egypt. Here you can see a magnificent temple and chapel built by one of Egypt’s greatest rulers, Ramesses II. Also on display is a chapel built by his father Seti I and the tombs of a unique family of priests.
Ramesses II Temple: Explore 3000 years of secrets
Explore a time capsule discovered by chance. This temple was an accidental discovery made by Ahmed Badawy, an Egyptian archaeologist in 1942 whilst he was excavating high priest tombs.
From a high viewing point you can get an amazing overview of the whole temple from its majestic gate to inner sanctuary.
Be inspired by the different stories that the various phases of the Ramesses II temple will tell you about its discovery, use as a place of worship and reuse as a settlement and cemetery.
Ramesses II Chapel: The Divine Family
Imagine wanting to be worshipped as a god on earth? It is quite possible that this is exactly what the Pharaoh Ramesses II wanted to do. Discovered, again by chance during a construction project in 1959, the chapel contained the remains of a statue now on display in the Memphis Open Air Museum. This expertly carved statue is of the creator god Ptah, his wife, the lioness goddess Sekhmet, and a young Ramesses. It represents the divine family of Memphis. This is a clever piece of propaganda as Ramesses has taken the place of the god of healing and beauty, Nefertem, the son of Ptah and Sekhmet. By doing this, he has enshrined himself not only as a god, but a member of the divine family of Memphis.
The chapel that housed the statue can be seen just behind the Memphis Open Air Museum. At the entrance were two seated statues of Ramesses II, and today, you can see part of one of these statues still in position.
Seti I Chapel: Small but Beautiful
If the ancient city of Memphis could be expressed in a nutshell, then this small chapel is it. The warrior pharaoh Seti I built this chapel for the creator god Ptah and two goddesses who are the personification of Memphis, Men-Nefer and Tjesemet. The statue of Tjesemet is the only one known to exist. Upon her head is a representation of the city’s Great Ptah Temple in the form of a wall. The wall of the Great Ptah Temple was very important in Memphis as it was believed to be able to hear people’s prayers.
Tombs of the High Priests: From Father to Son
The job as High Priest of the god Ptah at Memphis could be said to have been the pinnacle of someone’s career, especially if they were of high status. This once in a life time job was considered so special that at one time in ancient Egypt, it was held by a Crown Prince named Sheshonq as well as his son and grandsons Takelot, Petiese and Harsiese. This unique family were buried at Memphis next to the great temple where they would have worked and lived. The tomb of Sheshonq was moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where it was reconstructed in the front garden. The tombs of the other family members can still be seen at Memphis next to each other and are distinctive with their V shaped roofs.