Hatshepsut

The Karnak Temple Complex-Largest Religious Site Of The Ancient World

Of Luxor’s many monuments, the Temple Complex of Karnak has to be its most astonishing and beautiful feat. It is the second-largest temple complex in the world as well as the second most visited site in Egypt, coming in right behind the Pyramids of Giza. Karnak Temple dates back to 2055 BC to around 100 AD. It is located in the village of El-Karnak, which is 2.5 kilometers north of Luxor. Karnak temple known as the temple of Amun. It also called Ipet-isu or “The most select of places” in the middle kingdom.

Your first view of Karnak Temple is from an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes at the southern entrance to the temple. These sphinxes are a symbol of the god Amun and lead one and a half miles (3 km) down to Luxor Temple as well as the River Nile.

The Karnak temple was built for various reasons related to religion and ancient history, the main reason why they built the temple was to worship the famous god “Amon” and his wife “Mut” and their son named “khonsu” because inside the temple there are temples dedicated to every king.

Beyond the religious function, the site also served as the administrative center and seat for the pharaohs during the New Kingdom era. Karnak is probably the largest monumental complex ever built in the world, developed from generation to generation over 1500 years, and resulting in a composition of temples, shrines, and architectural elements unique in Egypt.

Approximately 30 pharaohs added something to the Karnak Temple Complex. The structure enjoyed the greatest importance during the era of the New Kingdom, under pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Tuthmose III, Seti I, and Rameses II who contributed, one after the other, to the development of the complex. The subsequent structural expansion continued during the Greek-Roman period with the Ptolemies, then with the Romans, and finally with the first Christians. In fact, each of these civilizations left an important mark.

Karnak consists of three sections: the precinct of Amun, that of Mut, that of Montu; however, for most visitors the largest of these, the precinct of Amun, is enough. It is a 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. It is the most amazing building at Karnak. It is 103m in length and 52m in width. The Hall consists of 134 gigantic stone columns; there are the largest 12 columns which are 22.40 m in height and 3.5m in diameter, while the other 122 columns are 14.75 m in height. The Hypostyle Hall was built by King Seti who ruled from 1290 to 1279 B.C. The outer walls of the northern wing describe Seti’s battle. The south wall inscribed with Ramesses II’s peace treaty with the Hittites.

The Sacred Lake

To the south of Ramses II’s enclosure wall around the Temple of Amun lays the Sacred Lake. In Arabic, it known as Birket el-Mallaha, as the water of the lake is slightly saline. The Sacred Lake is the largest of its kind. King Tuthmosis III dug it; priests used it for purification and other rituals like navigation, it was also the home of sacred geese of Amun. It lined with stone and provided stairways descending into the water.

Karnak Temple Sound and Light Show

If you’d like to see a different side of Karnak Temple, why not return in the evening to experience one of Egypt’s most famous light and sound shows that offered in several different languages. The show lasts for around 90 minutes, then a wonderful opportunity waiting for visitors to wander around some parts of the temple while it beautifully illuminated and their dramatic history revealed to you. The reflection one sees on the water of the nearby Sacred Lake is also quite out of this world.

 

 

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Temple of Deir al-Bahri,The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

The Hatshepsut Temple at Deir El-Bahri is one of Egypt’s most characteristic temples and the most distinguishing temple on earth. It is actually one of the most remarkable temples in Egypt.

Hatshepsut temple was built by Queen Hatshepsut during the 18th dynasty in the new kingdom about 17 miles northwest of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile under the cliffs of “Deir El-Bahari” in western Thebes. Its purpose was to become the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut and known as Djoser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies).

The vast Temple of Hatshepsut (at Deir el-Bahari) rivals the Pyramids as one of the great funerary monuments of the ancient world; built into the towering cliff face which shelters the Valley of the Kings on the other side.

Who is Queen Hatshepsut

The Temple of Hatshepsut was built to honor the accomplishments of the great Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty). She was the only female pharaoh in the history of Ancient Egypt. She came to power during the New Kingdom after the death of her father, Tuthmose I, and her half-brother and husband, Tuthmose II, who succeeded her father on the throne.

Hatshepsut originally served as queen-regent to her husband’s son by another wife, Tuthmose III, but seized the throne from him and managing to hold onto power until her death. However, Hatshepsut’s status as the only female to rule Egypt is not the only reason for her fame. She was also a very successful pharaoh. She ruled over an era of peace and prosperity, expanding lucrative trade routes to the land of Punt in the south. This accomplishment immortalized in the relief carvings at her temple. She also contributed significantly to many temples, including Karnak.

The Architecture of Queen Hatshepsut Temple

Hatshepsut’s chancellor and royal architect Senenmut designed the Hatshepsut temple in 1479 BC. It took 15 years to truly personified Hatshepsut’s glory to the fullest light. The design of the Hatshepsut temple was very unique; as it came as Egypt’s closest to the concept of Classical Architecture. It was a turning point from the megalithic geometry of the Old Kingdom to the style of the new kingdom; which enjoyed active worship and sanctuaries to honor the gods related to her afterlife. The construction of this temple also mirrored the following temples of the new kingdom.

   

The Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor is laid out on three terraces rising from the plain, connected by ramps, which divide it into a northern and a southern half and give breathtaking scenery to the tourists during their visit.

On the Ground Level, there was a garden with exotic trees from Hatshepsut’s expeditions to punt but unfortunately, it disappeared. Behind the courtyard, there were colonnades with square pillars. There are decorations that include Tuthmosis III standing in front of Amun; and some scenes depicting the marshes of Lower Egypt. You can go through archways that can lead you to the second level.

The Second Level holds two reflecting pools and sphinxes, which were lining the pathway to another ramp. It contains one of the first pictorial documentation of a trade expedition. There is also a shrine for the Goddess Hathor, who depicted with a woman’s face and a cow’s ears, holding a musical instrument. There are also Hathor Chapel that contains a hypostyle hall with twelve beautiful Hathor-headed columns and Anubis Chapel, which has a hypostyle hall with twelve fluted columns and an astronomical ceiling.

The Third Level houses a portico with double rows of columns that face the front. All images of Queen Hatshepsut destroyed and replaced with images of King Tutmosis III. There is also the sanctuary of Amun that lies behind the courtyard.

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