birket habu

Charles Woods - photos by Robyn Webb

Birket Habu is a huge canal and harbour undertaking connected to the Palace Complex of Amenhotep III.  The canal which terminated in a 2 kilometer harbour began at the Nile and ran past Amenhoteph’s huge mortuary temple of which the two statues of Memnon are the two most remarkable remains.  It continued towards the Temple of Ramasses III (a small temple enlarged in later times by Ramasses III) and to the Palace Complex known as Malqata.  The habour itself continued for a further two kilometers and ended in a huge lake.

Not so well known, perhaps, is that there is a cleared strip which is some 5 kilometers long which heads in a straight line directly towards the Western foothills.   This may have been an intended canal or road heading out to some other possible monument which failed to materialize due to Amenhotep’s death.

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Birket Habu

Birket Habu is interesting from a number of aspects.  For example, at Deir El Shelwit, Amenhotep III constructed his Jubilee Platform.  The area is sometimes known as kom-el-Samak.   During the time of Nectanebo 1-11, a small temple appears to have been started but remained unfinished until Roman times.  The remains of this temple, known as the Roman Temple of Isis at Deir el Shelwit can still be visited, but is usually locked.  However, if the key-holder can be located, he will probably unlock it so that any visitor may look inside.

Another causeway appears to have been planned towards a place called Kom-el-Abd, and here Amenhotep appears to have constructed another platform and a Sun Temple.

The buildings and construction of what would have terminated in a massive canal system together with the Palace Complex occupies some 5 square kilometers, and just a quick look at the size of the earth mounds will give the viewer some idea of the scale of the operation.

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