Are you pondering the best places in the world you can go to for your vacation, excursion or tour, etc.? Well, the Karnak temple is one of those sites you’d definitely love to be at.
The Karnak Temple is a historical multifaceted spot located in Karnak, in Luxor Governorate of Egypt, and it is one of the most remarkable sites of Ancient Egyptians which once formed part of the city of Thebes. Also, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
This article sheds light on the rudimentary aspects of the Karnak Temple, and how you can plan your visit to the place.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- A Glimpse into the Historical Background of the Karnak Temple
- The Development of the Temple of Karnak
- Why You Should Visit the Karnak Temple
- How to Visit the Karnak Temple
- Things to Consider When Visiting the Karnak Temple
A Glimpse into the Historical Background of the Karnak Temple
The temple is dated as far back as around 2055 BC to 100 AD. Karnak temple used to be a temple cult, solely devoted to the gods Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, and these gods were worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians. The “King-High Priest” was in charge of the temple and the religious activities that were to be carried out in the temple. Amun was seen as the chief god of ancient Thebes and was the most important deity in the Egyptian pantheon. It is considered the largest building for religious activities and purposes ever erected. The Ancient Egyptians know it as the most selected of places.
The Development of the Temple of Karnak
The reign of the Intef II in the First Middle Period brought about the existence of the temple of Amun in the area of Karnak and this fact is undisputed. However, there were pointers to believe that the temple existed as early as the Old Kingdom. This temple was expanded by a succession of Pharaohs from those of the Middle Kingdom (1965-1920 BC). The result of this expansion is an unbelievable maze of temples, sanctuaries, sphinxes, pillars, and pylons within other ancient buildings and its name translates in Arabic as a fortified village. Nevertheless, most of the edifice dates from the New Kingdom which is referred to as the Egyptian Empire.
Why You Should Visit the Karnak Temple
Different tourists, adventurers, and travellers have taken advantage to experience the many fascinating features that are found in this temple. There are attractive edifices, monuments, and artefacts that will leave you thrilled. Some of them include:
- The Avenue of Sphinxes: these statues line the processional way leading to the temple. They are sphinxes with the head of a ram which is why they are also called criosphinx
- The First Pylon: which can also be seen as a tower and was built by Nectanebo I but actually was left unfinished. The Avenue of Sphinxes leads to it.
- The Great Court: this was built by Ramses II and his statue flanks the entrance of the Second Pylon.
- The Second Pylon: this was built by Horemheb also was left unfinished, and was continued by Ramses I.
- The Great Hypostyle Hall: this was built by Seti I and completed by Ramses II. This hall covers an area of about 50,000 sq. ft. and contains 134 gigantic pillars with attractive capitals.
- The Obelisks: this was built by Thutmose I and is 22 metres tall. This Obelisk is called the Obelisk of Thutmose I.
- The Festival Hall of Thutmose III: this hall is supported by 32 square pillars.
- The Seventh Pylon: on this pylon, a relief depiction of Thutmose III defeating his enemies can be seen.
- The Sacred Lake: site in the south-eastern part of the temple which was constructed by Tuthmosis III and was used by the priests for purification ceremonies.
How to Visit the Karnak Temple
You are probably wondering how to visit this amazing historical site. The thing is, finding the location isn’t that difficult—thanks to the internet. People from all walks of life come to the Karnak temple for site-seeing. Individuals, couples, and families pay a visit to discover for themselves what has been told about this iconic temple.
Things to Consider When Visiting the Karnak Temple
There are, however, things you need to know before visiting Karnak temple. They are:
Travelling independently is possible but there would be a need to hire the services of a tour guide who takes you around the different parts of the temple, elucidating precisely what everything in the temple is and this usually costs around 50-150 EGP, the tour guide will stay with you for an hour and a half. You can take pictures as you go around. Also, as an independent traveller, you can get a microbus to the temple and around Luxor, as it is usually not expensive. This is to aid an easy journey to the temple. You can also go with your family to have a wonderful experience at the Karnak Temple.
Entry costs 50-150 EGP, and if you are a student your ID card would be necessary as it will aid in reducing the fee.
Visiting at night as well is welcomed as there is a famous sound and light show at the temple multifaceted; this show highlights the dramatic history of the ancient city of Luxor; it also recounts the feats of great kings of ancient Egypt with a poetic account of the ancient temples.
Location: it is located along the banks of the Nile River in Luxor. The temple covers over some 200 acres of land.
Dressing: decently dress up when visiting the temple, for women cover your head with a scarf and avoid carrying any alcoholic drink as it is prohibited.
Time of visitation: the temple is open for visitation from 06:00 am – 04:00 pm. It is advised you get there earlier so you can bypass the recurrent crowd who also came to visit the place.
Places to stay: there are fascinating and luxurious places (hotels) around the Karnak Temple where you can stay or lodge. A few picks include:
- El Mesala Hotel which is 1.9 miles from the temple.
- Venus Hotel which is 1.4 miles away from the temple.
- Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa which is 0.9 miles away from the temple.
There are other luxurious hotels around the temple, at affordable costs. You can make a request for a microbus and a tour guide also while at the hotel.
Indeed, the Karnak Temple is really a beautiful sight to behold. Spanning over 3000 years, this religious building has so much you need to see and know. A visit to the temple will be worth it.
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