Ancient pharaoh statue rises again in Egypt

By Katia Hetter, CNNPublished 15th December 2014
A massive statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III was toppled in an earthquake some 3,000 years ago.
It has risen again.
The 50-ton, 13-meter (42-foot) statue was unveiled on Sunday at the ancient city of Luxor, Egypt, restored to its former grandeur due to the hard work of Egyptian and German archaeologists.
The same team, including noted German archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian, unveiled two other massive statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III in March. Sourouzian heads the temple of Amenhotep III conservation project.
The latest statue to be restored depicts Amenhotep III standing tall.
"These are up to now the highest standing effigies of an Egyptian king in striding attitude," Sourouzian told Agence France-Presse.
The temple of Amenhotep III was erected between 1390 and 1353 B.C. for the pharaoh, according to the World Monument Fund. It was 100 meters wide and 600 meters long, but only the lower sections of the structure remain.
The newly restored statues can be found at the funerary temple of Amenhotep III. They join a pair of already-famous giants at the temple known as the Colossi of Memnon -- two 16-meter images of Amenhotep III seated on his throne.
The Colossi of Memnon, which mark the entrance of the temple of Amenhotep III, are the most visible remains of what was once the most richly ornamented of all Theban monuments, says the World Monument Fund.
The Colossi of Memnon are pictured here circa 1920.
The Colossi of Memnon are pictured here circa 1920.
Archive Photos/Getty Images
"The temple structure was originally destroyed by earthquakes, and, since it was never fully excavated, the site was overgrown with vegetation and threatened by seasonal floods and agricultural development," says the organization.
Located more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) from Cairo, Luxor is divided by the Nile into two areas commonly referred to as the East and West Bank. The West Bank is home to some of Egypt's most prized ancient temples and monuments.
The unveiling comes at a time when Egypt's tourism sector is fighting to pull itself out of a slump due to political instability that's lingered since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.