Karnak Temple

The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. It is  a temple complex, where pharaohs built  for over 2000 years. The temple is dedicated to Theban triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu.

This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many of the wonders of the modern world and in its day must have been awe inspiring.

For the largely uneducated ancient Egyptian population this could only have been the place of the gods. It is one the largest religious buildings ever made. Todays pilgrims are mainly tourists. It covers about 200 acres 1.5km by 0.8km The area of the sacred enclosure of Amon alone is 61 acres. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main sanctuary, known as the Precinct of Amun, there are several smaller temples and a vast sacred lake.

 One of the several smaller Temples, is The Temple of Ptah,  for any traveller visiting the temple this is a must see! The temple is small and set on the North Eastern boundry of the complex. To get there you must go through the pillars on the north side of the great court (left as you walk in) and travel through what appears to be ruins to the outer wall. Near a large gate there will be a small set of pillars and at the end a small closed temple. Unless you are travelling with a guide you may have to tip to get in but it is part of the temple you are allowed to visit. The reason it is so special is because it has the only remaining statue of Sekhmet still in place. The room is small and dark and provides a real insight into what temples may have looked like in the past. The light shines down on her wonderfully carved head and lights it up as any priest would have seen it thousands of years ago.  

Additionally, there is an Open Air Museum, on site; which is sign posted & can be accessed from the First Court of the Amun-Re temple & entry requires the payment of an additional LE. Rarely visited, it is a quiet corner where one can wander round, admiring the exhibited items, at leisure.

Here one can find both fragments of earllier structures, that were demolished & used as fill for the later pylons; laregely by Amun-hetep III, many of which have been reconstructed.

Amongst the treasures on display are, the "Chapelle Rouge" of Hat-shep-sut (in reality a red quartzites sanctuary), alabaster shrines of Amun-hetep I & Thoth-moses I, the Peristyle Court of Thoth-moses IV & the beautiful White Chapel of Sen-usret I (Dynasty XII).

Other Karnak Articles are at The New Entrance area and  The Outdoor Museum