One of the most famous Egyptian monuments, the temple of Karnak is an awe-inspiring structure. The beautiful display of architectural brilliance makes Karnak’s many halls, precincts and temples a major attraction for the tourists. Karnak’s monuments were not built in a day. It is the result of the combined efforts of several pharaohs and with the change of reign, additions to the existing temple complex was made.
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During the beginning of the early Middle Kingdom, the construction of Karnak’s monuments began along the banks of the Thebes River. As the Middle Kingdom gave way to the New Kingdom of Egypt, the temple complex continued to grow in stature. Every pharaoh who took to the throne decided to add more structures or temples to the existing one. And this led to the development of Karnak’s monuments. Initially built for the worshipping of God Amun, the temple at present has several precincts dedicated to other Gods as well.
Characteristic Features Of Karnak’s Monuments
The two main entrances to the original temple complex were guarded by the Ram headed sphinxes. The pharaohs believed that the sphinxes, who were sacred to Amun, would protect them and was therefore, placed at the east and west end of the temple, near its main entrances. Another characteristic feature of Karnak’s monuments is the two sacred lakes that have been constructed inside the temple complex.
It symbolized creation and was believed to be used by the priests for performing various rituals. Apart from these, the 134 columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall is a major attraction. These are wonderful examples of creativity and contain carvings and inscriptions that help to decipher the ways in which the temple used to work during the reign of the Pharaohs. The huge gateways or pylons of the Karnak’s monuments consist of the other interesting traits of this place.
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The Precincts Of Karnak
Karnak’s temple can be divided into four main precincts or parts consisting of the Precinct of Amun-Re, the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Montu and the temple of Amenhotep IV.The largest part of the temple has been devoted to Amun-Re and is known as the Precinct of Amun-Re. It is a massive precinct and consists of various buildings and temples.
Tourists to the Karnak’s monuments are free to visit this part of the temple and here they can enjoy the sights of the sacred lake, the Memorial temple of Thutmose III, enclosure wall of the Precinct of Amun, the temple of the Healing Ear, the temple of Path, a number of Pylons and many more structures.At the precinct of Mut, you’ll find the Temple of Mut, the second sacred lake, the temple of Khonspekhrod, temple of Ramesses III and a number of other shrines and structures.
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However, this part of Karnak is not well preserved and a lot of structures have been destroyed.The precinct of Montu has the temple of Montu, temple of Maat and the temple of Harpe. This section of Karnak is not open for the public. And at the temple of Amenhotep IV, not much of what was constructed remains. A major part of it has been destroyed.