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Temple of Karnak

Updated on July 20, 2014
First Pylon at Karnak
First Pylon at Karnak

I chose to discuss the Temple of Karnak in Egypt. I have always held an interest in Ancient Egypt & their ways & their art. Karnak has always been a place of unimaginable reverence to those who see it; whether in pics or the chance to visit in person.

Luxor overview at Karnak
Luxor overview at Karnak

Karnak ( akso knows as Ipet-isu (or “most select of places") was actually dedicated to Amun, Mut and Khonsu. Almost every Pharaoh has added something to Karnak over 2,000 years to have as a reference, a symbolism of their time on the Throne. Sesostris began in the Middle Kingdom, construction continued into the Ptolemaic period & most of the extant buildings in the temple compound date back to the New Kingdom. Seti I & his son Ramses II, Memeptah, Hatshepsut, Nectanebo I, & Akhenaten are a few who have built a part. It is now being rebuilt & as if it’s a giant jigsaw puzzle with the amount of fallen sites & stone blocks strewn about.

Karnak Temple at Luxor
Karnak Temple at Luxor

Karnak was referred to as a festival temple due to the arrangement of the buildings to fit “processional ceremonies that were held within their walls.” There are several parts to the Temple; the main parts consist of the Precinct of Amun-Re ( chief deity of the Theban Triad), Precinct of Mut ( Mother Goddess, wife of Amun-Re), Precinct of Montu (the son of Mut & Amun-Re; a war God of the Theban triad) & the Temple of Amenhotpe IV ( Akhenaten; he constructed this temple only to have it completely destroyed when he died. He attempted an overtaking of the priesthood that took control of Egypt before his time on the throne).

Another part of the Luxor Temple
Another part of the Luxor Temple

Amun's statue was treated as a life representation of him; it was bathed daily in holy water, dressed in fine jewelry of silver and gold and fine linens adorned his body as a real Pharaoh would wear He would be carried as well and provided bodyguards as well. In being brought to the Temple at Luxor, his spirit was regenerated ( think as what happened in The Mummy movie), and moved into the real Pharaoh.

Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple

Map of Karnak

Other parts include the First Pylon, Kiosk of Tabarka, sacred Lake for ritual navigation & an aviary, second Pylon, Hypostyle Hall & the Temple of Theban for the Moon God Khansu.

There are many references of the Egyptians’ belief in their Gods & Goddesses part of everyday life; whether it’s how they constructed the buildings such as with Hypostyle Hall, which has a roof over it leading into smaller rooms leading into the God’s sanctuary & the massive collumns still having surviving paint on the underside of Capitals; First Pylon with the avenue of ram headed sphinxes which were 2 miles long in 3 avenues originally.

Luxor temple opening
Luxor temple opening

Size wise the building in Karnak were immensely huge. Great Hypostyle Hall is an perfect example of this. Measuring at 54,000 square feet, it can fit Notre-Dame inside it quite comfortably. It also has "huge pillars, towering columns, massive avenues of sphinxes, and an obelisk that stands 97-feet tall and weighs 323-tons".

The Temple that seems to be the most well preserved in Karnak is the Temple of Horus.

Temple map

Karnak Layout
Karnak Layout

There is much to learn from the construction of Karnak. It shows a natural way of building planning. The open courts surrounded by colonnades around it; the alignment of the columns & sphinxes.

Works Cited


Walking through the Temple of Karnak

© 2014 Jennifer B


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