The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at MedinetHabu is an important New Kingdom period structure in the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt. Aside from its size and architectural and artistic significance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs showing the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.The temple, some 150 m long, is of traditional design, and resembles closely the nearby mortuary temple of Ramesses II. The temple precinct measures approximately 210 m and contains more than 7,000 m2of decorated wall reliefs.Its walls are relatively well preserved and it is surrounded by a massive mudbrick enclosure, which may have been fortified.
The original entrance is through a fortified gate-house, known as a migdol. The first pylon leads into an open courtyard, lined with colossal statues of Ramesses III as Osiris on one side, and uncarved columns on the other. The second pylon leads into a peristyle hall, again featuring columns in the shape of Ramesses. This leads up a ramp that leads to the third pylon and then into the large hypostyle hall. Reliefs and actual heads of foreign captives were also found placed within the temple perhaps in an attempt to symbolise the king’s control over Syria and Nubia.
In Coptic times, there was a church inside the temple structure, which has since been removed. Some of the carvings in the main wall of the temple have been altered by Copticcarvings. The Royal Palace was directly connected with the first courtyard of the Temple via the “Window of Appearances “Initial excavation of the temple took place intermittently between 1859 and 1899, under the protection of the Department of Antiquities. During these decades the main temple was cleared, a large number of Coptic period buildings removed and the site made accessible to visitors.