Luxor is a small town located on the right bank of the Nile. In the old days, there was the capital of Ancient Egypt, which the Egyptians called Uaset, and the Greeks called Thebes.
A huge number of historical relics are concentrated here. Ancient buildings on the right bank of the Nile are called “the city of the Living”. The population of the city lived there. And on the left bank is the “city of the dead”, where the residence of the pharaohs and the necropolis were located.
Burial temples and tombs were built in the City of the Dead. The giant statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, which are called the Colossi of Memnon, once towered before the giant memorial complex of this ruler, now almost destroyed.
- Luxor. Start of the excursion
- History of the construction of a religious temple
- Construction of the Karnak Temple
- Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple
- Scarab Statue by the Sacred Pool
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Luxor. Start of the excursion
Karnak Temple, like Luxor, is located on the eastern bank of the Nile, in the city of the Living. From Luxor at a distance of about one kilometer.
It should be noted that the Karnak Temple is the largest in Ancient Egypt and the oldest surviving temple in the whole world. It is a complex of temple buildings, some of which are about 4000 years old. The temple was the largest religious center.
We got to the city of the Living (Luxor) from the city of the Dead. Our excursion group was transported across the Nile on a small boat. The pleasant coolness emanating from the water refreshed us after the hot sun.
On an excursion to Karnak, we went by bus from the Luxor Temple.
For a long time, the temple was covered with a huge layer of sand, and only at the end of the 19th century, archaeologists began excavations. Work is underway at the present time, so part of the temple is closed for tourists. For excursions, the central part of the temple, a sanctuary dedicated to the god Amon-Ra, is open. The most spectacular part of it is the Column Hall.
History of the construction of a religious temple
Karnak temple is a cult building. It ranks second in popularity after the pyramids in Giza. The complex of temples and structures occupies a large area. Its area is 1.5 km by 700 m. The construction of the temple began around the 20th century BC. Pharaoh Sanurset I and lasted 13 centuries.
Each of the 30 subsequent pharaohs, to a greater or lesser extent, completed, expanded or decorated the structures of the temple complex. At the same time, almost everyone tried to surpass their predecessors, and some even completely destroy the memory of them, destroying what was created earlier.
The Karnak complex is a grandiose building among similar structures of Ancient Egypt and is an open-air museum. The walls of buildings and pylons are covered with drawings and symbols that tell about the events of that era.
Many of the columns of the temple are also decorated with drawings and mysterious symbols. Each pharaoh wanted to write his name. They depicted military battles and wrote stories about their deeds. The structures of the Karnak temple can be called a stone archive of Ancient Egypt.
Construction of the Karnak Temple
The best architects, architects and sculptors worked on the creation of the Karnak Temple. During the heyday of the temple, many statues made of stone and bronze stood as decorations. And the painted columns sparkled with bright colors in the sun. With its splendor and grandeur, this temple surpassed all other similar buildings of Ancient Egypt.
The first major stage of construction was the construction of the temple under Pharaoh Thutmose I at the end of the 16th century BC. The facade of the building was facing the Nile and looked like a pylon – a truncated pyramid. There were two obelisks in front of the temple. One is dedicated to Thutmose I, and the second to Queen Hatshepsut. Behind the pylon was a wide columned hall. Then they built another pylon and a courtyard. The old monuments were surrounded by a wall.
The tall obelisk is well preserved. The inscriptions on them glorify the pharaohs and their deeds.
The second major stage in the history of the construction of Karnak was the work carried out during the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III around 1405-1367 BC.
The Karnak temple consisted of three separate temples enclosed by brick walls. The first temple is dedicated to the god Amon-Ra. He was the most significant of them all.
The second temple is dedicated to the wife – Queen Mut (in the south), and the third – to the son of Khons, the deity of the Moon.
The architect Amenhotep, the son of Hapu, built a new huge pylon in front of the temple, from which an alley of sphinxes led to the Nile. The entire sanctuary was surrounded by a massive wall. The result was a new temple of unprecedented size in Thebes.
Small alley of ram-headed sphinxes of Karnak temple, leading to the first pylon.
There used to be several such alleys, but this one is the best preserved. It was originally found at the second gate of the temple, but was moved to the first gate.
The gate leading to the temple.
Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple
The most interesting and grandiose is the Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amun-Ra. It is located outside the first gate. There are 134 columns in the hall, which form 16 rows. The largest of them reach a height of about 24 m.
A row of columns in the Hypostyle Hall. This path, illuminated by the sun, was used for solemn processions during festive ceremonies.
Once the hall was a full-fledged building with a roof, but it collapsed. Only one column remained.
All columns are painted with inscriptions and relief drawings, telling the story of the reign of Pharaoh Seti I. The upper parts of the columns are very beautifully decorated with papyrus buds – a symbol of the power of the pharaoh.
The drawings and symbols on the inside of the beams are well preserved.
In front of the entrance to the hypostyle hall rises the colossus of Ramses II. At the feet of the statue is a figurine of his daughter. Never before have women been portrayed. An exception was made here.
The temple features many different statues and obelisks dedicated to the gods.
Granite statues of the pharaohs.
Scarab Statue by the Sacred Pool
The sacred lake is a place where priests performed religious rituals. During the reign of Amenhotep III, a statue of a scarab beetle made of granite was erected in honor of the god Khepri, the morning incarnation of the sun god, who was depicted as a scarab.
The history of the lake dates back to the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III. The water was supplied to the lake from the Nile. The lake was used during the holidays, when the deities had to swim across it on their golden barge.
There is a belief: if you make a wish and walk around the scarab statue seven times, the wish will come true. Therefore, this place is especially popular with tourists, there are always a lot of people there.
In the evening, a light show is held at the Karnak Temple.