The Complex Temple Of Karnak
Karnak is divided into three compounds: the precinct of Amun, the precinct of Mut, and the precinct of Montu; however, for most visitors the largest of these, the precinct of Amun, is enough. Its complicated layout alone dwarfs every other site that you will visit in Egypt.
The precinct of Amun contains all of the most famous sections of the Karnak complex, including the dizzying Great Hypostyle Hall. This hall of 134 massive columns is one of the most impressive places in all of Egypt. Going into the detailed description of the different elements that make up the complex is a near-endless task that we will leave to a tour guide.
Instead, we will simply suggest that you allow plenty of time to explore this huge complex and admire the many impressive sights within it. Imagine how awe-inspiring it must have been over 2000 thousand years ago when these huge structures were newly constructed.
Like all of the major sights in Egypt, Karnak has a sound and light show that is offered in several different languages. The show takes place 3 times a night, but you should consult your tour guide or your hotel about the languages of the various showings.
What was the purpose of the Karnak Temple?
When visiting Karnak Temple, you are paying a visit to the heart of Egypt during the New Kingdom. This huge temple complex was the centre of the ancient faith while power was concentrated at Thebes (modern-day Luxor) and its significance is reflected in its enormous size. In addition to its religious significance, it also served as a treasury, administrative centre, and palace for the New Kingdom pharaohs. It is considered as the largest temple complex ever constructed anywhere in the world.
It developed over a period of 1500 years, added to by generation after generation of pharaohs and resulting in a collection of temples, sanctuaries, pylons, and other decorations that is unparalleled throughout Egypt.
While the height of its importance was during the New Kingdom and famous pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Tuthmose III, Seti I and Ramesses II all contributed significant additions to the complex, construction continued into the Greco-Roman Period with the Ptolemies, Romans, and early Christians all leaving their mark here.