It’s the largest religious building ever constructed covering about 200 acres, and was a place of pilgrimage. It lies on the eastern bank of the Nile at Luxor. It was a cult temple dedicated to the Theban triad Amon, Mut and Khonso.
The name Karnak means the Fortified Village
pr imn “the house of Amon”
Ipt swt “the most selected of all places:
Pt ḥr šꜣ tꜣ “sky above the earth”
kˁ nd “the shrine of the goose”
The temple divided into four parts:
1. The Northern Part: Temple dedicated to Montu.
2. The Southern Part: Temple dedicated to Mut.
3. The Eastern Part: Temple dedicated to Aton.
4. The largest area called the central enclosure comprises of a number of temples dedicated to different deities.
The temples consisted of two main axes:
1. From West to East which contains Six Pylons.
2. From North to South which contains 4 Pylons.
Its original entrance from the west, but now it’s opened from the southern gate.
The first king who begun the construction of this temple was King Senusert I.
1. The Quay:
It’s a lake with stage where the boat which carrying the statue of Amon. There are two obelisks bearing the names of King Seti II, one of them still intact.
There is a Chapel of Achoris, it lies on the south-east of the Quay and it was a resting place used by the priests during the ceremonies.
2. The Avenue of Sphinx:
It lies to the east of the Quai, between the Quai and the First Pylon. It was contained 124 Criox Sphinxes with the head of ram “symbol of god Amon” and body of a lion, but 84 were removed to the First Pylon and 40 were remained.
The Sphinxes had figures of Ramses II in Osirid position between their paws.
3. The First Pylon:
It’s the first pylon of the WE axis and considered to be the main gate of the temple.
It was planned by King Sheshonq I “22nd Dynasty”, but it was built by King Nectanebo I “30th Dynasty”.
It consisted of two towers; each tower contains 8 windows ad below them 4 niches for receiving flags.
4. The First Open Court:
It lies between the First Pylon and Second Pylon and it was built by King Sheshonq I.
It’s surrounded by open papyrus column in the northern and southern sides.
To the north, there is an entrance leads to the Open Air Museum, it was contained several monuments such as:
– The Shrine of Seti II.
– The Shrine of Ramses III.
– The Kiosk of Tahraqa.
– The Bubastit Gate.
5. The Second Pylon:
It was begun by King Hormheb (18th Dynasty) and continued by King Ramses I/II.
It’s known as “Illuminating Waset OR Amun Rejoices”.
There are two statues of Ramses II flanking the gateway but one of them is now destroyed.
There is a small Vestibule before the gateway. It was started by King Hormheb and finished by Ramses II.
6. The Hypostyle Hall:
It was built by Ramses I and decorated by Seti I and Ramses III and lies between the Second and Third Pylon.
It contains two rows of sic columns, then the number of columns increased by adding 122 columns during the 19th dynasty. There are 12 columns in the center, taller and with open papyrus capitals while the other 122 columns, they are shorter and with closed papyrus capitals.
7. The Third Pylon:
It was built by Amenhotep III and it’s in a very bad condition. It’s towers carved with the Opt Festival and the beautiful feast of the valley.
8. Open Court:
It was erected by Tutmosis I between the Third and Fourth Pylon. In ancient times the court was housed Four massive Obelisks, Two for Tutmosis I and the others for Tutmosis III. Only the bases of three of them still are remaining but the 4th obelisk of Tutmosis I still intact.
9. The Temple of Ptah:
It’s located between the 3rd and 4th pylon to the north and it was built by Tutmosis III.
It was dedicated to god Ptah and his consort Sekhmet. At the end of the temple, there are three sanctuaries at the middle.
10. The Fourth Pylon:
It was built by Tutmosis I with additions made by Tutmosis IV, Seti II and Ptolemy VIII, behind it Tutmosis I built a Transverse Hall known as the Hypostyle Hall OR a Colonnade.
11. The Fifth Pylon:
It was built by Tutmosis I with additions made by Tutmosis III and Amenhotep III.
It contained 20 16-sided columns and row of Osirid statues.
12. The Sixth Pylon:
It was built by Tutmosis III and inscribed with 120 names of Syrian towns and Nubian.
There are two huge pillars in the north and remains of the statue of Amun and Amunet made by Tutankhamun and userbed by Hormheb.
13. The Shrine of Phillip Arhidaus:
He was the half-brother of Alexander the Great, he adopted the Egyptian customs and titles.
This shrine was in the heart of the main axis of the temple of Amon. It’s made out of granite and divided into two rooms, the first for offering and the second for the sacred bark.
14. The Festival Hall “ꜣḫ mnw”:
Its entrance from the south. It was built by Tutmosis III.
Behind the entrance, there are 2 16-sided columns and there are small chambers used for storing rituals equipment. The hall contains two rows of 10 columns.
15. The Botanical Garden:
It contains scenes of plants and animals that Tutmosis III brought from his campaigns.
16. Chapel of Hearing Ear:
It was used by common people who couldn’t enter to the temple to perform their rituals.
17. The Sacred Lake:
It was used in religious ceremonies as the sacred bark would sail in it and for purification.
18. The Seventh Pylon:
It was erected by King Tutmosis III.
19. The Eights Pylon:
It was erected by Queen Hatshepsut.
20. The Ninth Pylon:
It was erected by King Hormheb.