Introduction: The place of the temple: Description:
This temple was the spiritual and cultural centre of the Egypt of the Pharaohs, dedicated to Amun-Ra, the King of the Gods. It hosts several temples built by kings over 2000 years from the rise of Egypt to its fall in 1800 B.C. Karnak is overwhelming in it's size and beauty .The area covers 60 acres seeming to go on forever including a Sacred Lake. It has a total circumference of over 2.5 miles (4 km)!
This vast temple lies in the north of Luxor
It consists of three main areas. The largest of these areas is the temple dedicated to Amun and is the masterpiece of the ancient city of Thebes. The greatest part of the temple is the magnificent Hypostyle Hall consisting of 134 massive columns 23 metres high creating an impression of enormous 'power' and strength
The Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple was begun during the reign of King Sety I (c.1290-1279 B.C.) and was completed by his son, Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.). The north- south axis of the hall provides views which are rich in architecture. The central row of 12 columns on the east-west axis are 69 feet/21 meters in height, about 33 feet/10 meters in circumference, and have open papyrus capitals. The 122 columns in the side aisles are 43 feet/13 meters in height, 27.5 feet/8.4 meters in circumference, and have closed papyrus-bud capitals. Remember that the whole of this hall was roofed with stone slabs, and the interior was quite dark. The difference in height between the central and the side aisle columns was used to provide natural light through windows which have vertical stone slats (top center).
The most famous temple is that of Amun. Amun was the god of all the farms and buildings and the workers of Thebes . Karnak and the Temple of Amun , in particular, were the hotbed of relegion and practical science as well as ambition and intrigue. Standing in the shadow of the First Pylon of the Temple of Amun at Karnak ,one is struck by the length of its east-west axis and the huge size of its columns. Like all other temples in Egypt, this one symbolizes the mound of the original creation. The ground rises ever so gradually from the entrance toward the sanctuary. In the center of this first court are the ruins of the kiosk of Taharqa (690-664 B.C.), one column of which is complete. Beyond the kiosk before the Second Pylon are two standing statues of Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.). After the Second Pylon, the columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall can be seen.
Many of the main roads which lead to the temples of Thebes (Luxor) used to be continuously lined with sphinxes. Those which flank the entrance of the First Pylon of Karnak combine the body of a lion with the head of a ram. The ram was a symbol of the god Amun for whom the temple was built. Each sphinx protects, between its forelegs, a stan ding statue of the king--originally Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.).
Called " Illuminating Thebes", remained the main western entrance to Karnak for some 500 years. The great gateway is still flanked by royal statues , two figures of Ramesses II and the Colossus of Pinudjem I . Carved in pink granite , this rigid image of a ruler , his crook and flail crossed on his chest , is an impressive but hardly beautiful ,icon. Rather different is the graceful queen who stands on his feet and reaches just to his knee. The Fourth Pylon
Beyond the Third Pylon and in the Central Court of Karnak Temple is the Obelisk of Thutmose I (c.1493-1479 B.C.),Pylon Four .
Just to the east of the Sixth Pylon of Karnak Temple is the vestibule to the sanctuary (temple), where the god's statue stands in granite columns, which are elegant reminders of the importance of the concept of a unified Upper (Nile valley) and Lower (Nile delta) Egypt. These columns are decorated in raised relief with the papyrus on the left (north/the delta) and the lotus on the right (south/the valley).
As you step out of the temple your eyes adjust to the bright sunlight. In front of you is a large pool of water. You have now visited the most sacred parts of an ancient Egyptian temple. This is the sacred lake which was made for celebrating by the gods especially by the god Amun and they celebrate by letting the boats inside the lake and sing special songs. There is a path between it and between the Nile river thus its water is from the Nile river water. It was once used in temple rituals and it was also used as a harbour.
The place of the temple: