Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

Who built the Karnak Temple?

The oldest structures at Karnak come from the Middle Empire: the white chapel of Sesostris I (1965-1920 BC), reconstructed in the open-air museum, and the foundations of what was the most sacred part of the 12th dynasty temple of Amun in the sanctuary of the sacred boat and the Courtyard of the Middle Empire (behind the sixth pylon).
Most of what you see was built by the powerful pharaohs of the 18th to 20th dynasties (1570 and 1090 BC), who spent fortunes to leave their mark on the holiest of places.
Later pharaohs expanded and rebuilt the complex, as did the Ptolemies and early Christians. The further you go into the complex, the older the structures become.

Temple Complex of Karnak

What was it built for Karnak Temple?

More than a temple, it is an extraordinary complex of shrines, kiosks, pylons, and obelisks dedicated to the Theban gods and for the greater glory of the pharaohs.
Everything is made on a gigantic scale: the enclosure occupies more than 2 square kilometers, a space that could contain about ten cathedrals, while its main structure, the temple of Amun, is the largest religious building ever built.
This was the abode of the god of the Earth, surrounded by the houses of his wife Mut and his son Jonsu, two other huge Templar complexes in the same enclosure.
The Karnak built, completed, demolished, restored, enlarged and decorated for more than 1,500 years, was the most important place of worship in Egypt during the New Empire.

How many Pillars are there in the temple of Karnak?

Researchers note that there are 134 pillars in total, 12 of which are 70 feet (21 meters) high and support the central part of the building. The remaining 122 pillars are 12 meters (40 feet) high.
There are three shrines in the Karnak temple dedicated to three gods:
Amon, Mut, and Yonsu are the three gods of Thebes.
As Thebes became the capital of the empire, it was natural that its places of worship became more important, leading to the construction of beautiful temples that thousands of years later could be seen by tourists.
The temple was renovated and expanded with each new ruler, resulting in a great religious building. Today it can be visited, and surprises visitors by its great size, length and height of columns and pillars.

Theories about the origin of the Temple of Karnak

The first refers to the Ancient Empire, as there is an inscription containing names in ascending order of the pharaohs, starting with Senefru (founder of the fourth dynasty).

The second theory states that this inscription is merely a record of the other generations of pharaohs. Inside the Temple of Karnak, there is a courtyard called the Courtyard of the Middle Empire, but there are only ruins.
The third theory is that the Temple of Karnak was built by Amenophis III during the New Empire.
As the Temple of Karnak is a complex made up of several temples, we can say that there are traces of several empires, but the structures of the New Empire are the best preserved.

The great open courtyard of the temple of Karnak

The Great Open Court of the Temple of Karnak was built during the XXII dynasty, has a rectangular shape, and measures 80 m from north to south and 100 m from west to east. On the south and north sides of this court, there are two rows of columns with enclosed papyrus capitals, which were erected by King Sheshonq I (XXII dynasty). The last two columns in the southwest corner of this court show how the ancient Egyptians built their works. As they were never completed, they show that the rough-hewn stones, placed in position on the ramps, were formed after erection, and polishing and decoration were done from top to bottom as the brick ramps were removed layer by layer.

The triple chapels of Seti II in the Karnak Temple

There are three chapels made of gray sandstone that were erected by King Seti II and located in the northwest corner of the open court. They are dedicated to the Theban triad and are used as resting chapels for the boats during the Opet festivals. I- The central chapel is dedicated to Amun-Re. The upper lintel of the facade is carved with the winged solar disk, and below it, inscribed a row of cartouches with the name of King Seti, which were later erased because they were written with the figure of the god Seth. The western wall shows the king burning incense before the boat of Amun-Re, then the king standing before the sacred triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu offering pots of perfume.

Karnak Temple
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Popular destinations in Egypt
  • Greater Cairo – the capital of Egypt, home to the Giza Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and fabulous Islamic architecture.
  • Luxor – the gateway to the Valley of the Kings, amongst other fabulous attractions.
  • Aswan – a more relaxed option, full of amazing sights.
  • Port Said – the center of the third-largest metropolitan area, has a cosmopolitan heritage, home to the Lighthouse of Port Said.
  • Hurghada – a town on the Red Sea, filled with all-inclusive resorts and diving.
  • Sharm El Sheikh – a hugely popular resort town on the Sinai peninsula, with some of the best scuba diving in the world.
  • Alexandria – Egypt’s window on the Mediterranean, with still-palpable glimpses of the past.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the temple of Karnak represent?
The temple of Karnak, in Thebes, dedicated to Amun, was the main place of worship in Egypt since the New Empire.
How big was the Karnak Temple?
The Temple of Karnak is the largest temple in Egypt and even today remains are still being found and it is still being rebuilt. The enclosure in which it is located has a perimeter of 2,400 meters and is surrounded by an adobe wall 8 meters thick.
Who built the temple of Karnak?
The Temple of Karnak. The Temple of Karnak is the largest temple in Egypt. The most important pharaohs involved in its construction were Hatshepsut, Seti I, Ramses II, and Ramses III. Plan your next adventure.
What is the most beautiful temple in Egypt?
Abu Simbel is one of the best temples in Egypt, and undoubtedly the most spectacular. That is why, although it is 300 km away from Abu Simbel, almost on the border with Sudan, you should visit it. By the way, in this article, you have the info to cross to Sudan from Egypt.
Where was the chapel of Senusert I found in Karnak?
In the sanctuary of the god Amun at Karnak, in modern Luxor, archaeologists discovered in 1927 the dismantled remains of a small chapel that was erected during the reign of the pharaoh Sesostris I, the first of the pharaohs of Egypt.
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