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Luxor

 

Karnak temple


Ram-headed sphinxes entrance leading to karnak temple

 

The karnak temple is one the distinguished identifying marks of Luxor in Egypt, where each of consecutive kings tried to make his temple most magnificent so as to be so distinguished than his predecessor, so the Karnak temples changed to a complete guide and collection showing the development stages of ancient Egyptian art and distinguished pharaonic architecture.

The great Karmak temple is marked by the charming sound and light shows which are held every night and which are considered to be a magnificent way for discovering the Karnak temple. The distance between Luxor and Karnak is 3 Kg, by the two sides of which lie between the small sphinx statues, that is to say the ram-headed sphinxes entrance; the Karnak temple is considered to be largest sanctuary in the world.

The Karnak is the greatest temple of the world and how can't it be so although the construction work hasn't ceased for more than two thousand year.

It is a ramified and complex site with enormous monumental wealth.

The temple started to be erected during the middle Kingdom(about 2000 B.C); it wasn't at that time on that level of splendor; and in the reign of modern dynast to which the King "Tut Ankhamun" belongs and "Ramsis II".

A magnificent temple fit for greatness of the Egyptian big empire was established on the debris of this temple; every king used to add a new touch to the temple seeking to gain God's favour and in desire for eternity and rising to fame before the people.

Unfortunately, widespread destruction occurred in the temple time and again; the latest aspects of such destruction manifested themselves when the farmers were entering it for obtaining the dung and old dust for fertilizing their loan, and in the course of which they destroyed the antiquities and monuments.

When the French scientist "Champollion" came to Egypt, he and others warned Mohamed Ali pasha that the latter issued and edict for protecting the antiquities in 1835; but, again, unfortunately, some edifices of temple continued to be used as quarries for breaking and selling the stones.

We mustn't forget the favour of those scientists like Champollion on keeping our great; and in the same time, we mustn't forget those thieves who stole and transferred lots of monuments abroad, including Luxor obelisk that they transferred to Paris (even if we pride ourselves on its existence in France now so as to be an evidence for the greatness of Pharaohic ancestors in Paris, the capital of light') and the chamber of ancestors that they transferred to the "Louvre museum" in Paris in 1834 and a lot of the monuments. .


 

Composition and planning of temple

 

The king I erected two obelisks; one of them is still existent in its place from which stretch to the façade of the edifice two rows of statues erected by RamssesII in the shape of "Sphinx"; with a ram's head lion's body for each; it is noted that there is a statue for the king himself under the beard of each one of such statues.

This way is named"ram-headed sphinxes' way"; it also noted that most constructions were built during the reign of 18th dynasty and of Kings Amenhoteb II and Amenhoteb III in person; but amendments and extensions were introduced to them during the reign of 19th dynasty and of Ramsis II specifically.

There are also, in the north-west of that courtyard, three comportments, which were prepared for accommodating the holy ships relating to "thebes" trinity, built by king city I of 19th dynasty; the walls of such compartments were ornamented with protruding inscriptions representing the holy ship.

 


 

Amon Regreat Temple

 

The temple consists of a sanctuary locating in the furthest eastern direction; this sanctuary was prepared for keeping the statues of god Amoun and his family . This place is known as" sanctum" which the darkness covers! Followed therefrom by an open courtyard illuminated by the daylight; then this courtyard ends up with an edifice between the two towers of which the entrance lies, and what was aimed was that the edifice would be the final façade of temple; but the various kings who succeeded thereafter added to it other courtyards westwards; each ends up with an edifice, so that the temple had ten edifices.

Ram-headed sphinex' way


As the western space wasn't sufficient, the kings tended, in the middle of 18th dynasty which was the greatest one having carried out constructions in Karnak, to build the courtyards and edifices southwards on a new axis remote from the first one, but, the buildings were undertaken again on the first way in no time, namely westwards, during the reigns of 19th dynasty's kings.

 

Ram-headed sphinxes entrance


As the space wasn't sufficient, the kings tended, in the middle of the 18th dynasty which was the largest one having made constructions in the Karnak, to build the courtyard and edifices southwards, on a new axis distant from the first one of temple; but the buildings, again, were built along the first way, namely westwards, in the reign of kings of 19th dynasty and onwards.

 

As well, the building group of this temple expanded taking a final shap looking like the English letter T, but it was placed a slope on one of its two sides; and such letter is bounded by ten edifices and also contains several courtyards and lobbies.

There is a large courtyard in front of the temple, in the middle of which we can see a high platform, which was an anchorage for the temple relating ships one day, where the Nile was running in the past near it.

Hypostyle Hall


Elaborating more on the edifice in the temple of "Amun-Re", it is the first edifice of the temple. Its construction started by the twenty-second Dynasty, but was not completed to date! The entrance of this first edifice, leading to the first courtyard is located between the twin towers of this edifice. This first courtyard is called the "Yard of the Bubastites, as in reference the kings of "Tell Basta". It is vast courtyard, hosting on both its sides rows of columns in the form of papyrus. The "Kiosk of Taharka" built by King Taharka from the 25th Dynasty was located in the center and composed of ten elegant columns; only one of them is still standing.
Examining the southern facade of the afore-mentioned courtyard, we will find a beautiful temple, set up by "Ramsis III" to accommodate the sacred vessels; it is considered as a model of the full and complete Egyptian Temples. It begins with a great Edifice, decorated by two outside magnificent statues of the king. This is followed on the exposed interior of the courtyard, lined by arches on the eastern and western sides. The king is on the columns in the form of "Osiris", and the walls are decorated with images of the king in different positions in front of "Amun". Then, comes a corridor of two rows of columns; the first row of columns have Osiris like statuses on the model of those in the country yard, and the second row is composed of four columns in the form of papyrus. This brings us to the Hypostyle Hall, which in turn leads to the three shrines of harboring the sacred vessels of Thebes Sacred Trinity, neighbored by several dark rooms, which were used for worship related purposes.

 


Courtyard of the grand temple and the second edifice
In the courtyard of the grand temple, on the southern eastern corner of the yard, there is a gate called "Sheshnouk Gate" in attribute of King Sheshnok, a line of Libyan kings who ruled Egypt and fought for Egypt against its enemies abroad. There were several kings named after Sheshnok; Sheshnok the first, the second and so on, they formed the 22nd Dynasty and were titled Pharaohs. Sheshnok the First surrounded the courtyard with two porches. This courtyard shall become the first edifice later on. He controlled the temple by constructing a gate and more significant the second edifice on the eastern side was established by King Ramsis I.
The construction of the second edifice of the great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak started in the reign of King Seti I (1290 – 1279 BC) and was completed during the reign of his son, King Ramsis II (About 1279 – 1213 BC).

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