The band's name comes from the nearby village of Al-Karnak, today part of Luxor. Not to visit Karnak, being in Egypt, it's like not seeing the Pope in Rome. The temple complex is simply a must see for everyone, even if he wasn't interested in architecture and antiquity.
The temples of Karnak lie 2,5 km north of the center of Luxor.
Amun's cult district and associated temples spans over 100 ha. Not all parts are available, in some, excavation and conservation works are underway.
There are two ways to reach Karnak from the center of Luxor: Corniche (szari ‘al-Bahr), which in the north it diverges from the river and turns towards the temple, or shari'al-Karnak, running roughly along the path of the avenue of sphinxes.
The latter leads past the high gate of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and the perimeter wall of the temple. Nobody gets too tired for a walk or a bike ride, some, however, prefer to keep their strength for sightseeing.
A huge complex of buildings was built over many years. Here was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut - the chosen place, holy saints, the cult center of the Theban Triad: Amona, Mut i Chonsu. The district functioned for more than one year 1300 years, and every ruler wanted to leave his mark on him. The history of the team goes back to the beginning of the 12th Dynasty (XX w. p.n.e.), when King Amenemhat built the first temples in the Great Court. The so-called reconstructed. The White Chapel of Senuseret I. (Sezostrisa) from the XII Dynasty. The greatest builders were the pharaohs of the 18th-20th dynasty (1567— 1085 p.n.e.), and the district was expanded until the beginning of our era. The most important buildings are: Great Pylon (IV w. p.n.e.; XXX dynastia), Great Courtyard (X-VIII w. p.n.e.; XXII dynastia), temple of Ramesses III (XII w. p.n.e.), Great Hypostyle (XIV-XI w. p.n.e.), granite sanctuary of Philip Arridayos (IV w. p.n.e.), Jubilee Hall of Thotmes III (XV w. p.n.e.), holy lake, pylony (9), district of Mut (XV w. p.n.e.), district of Khonsu, renovated Kiosk Sezostrisa (Senusereta) I (XX w. p.n.e.) and the reconstructed Hatshepsut chapel (XVIII dynastia). The sanctuary was connected by the avenue of sphinxes with the South Harem in Luxor. Christians, taking possession of somewhat ruined temples, they adapted them to the needs of their own cult, chaining the names of the gods and their images. The French Legrain began rebuilding the facility, Pillet and Chcvricr. To this day, the restoration work of the French-Egyptian team of conservators continues.
As Karnak transformed during the New Kingdom from an iconic center into a powerful city of temples, consisting of numerous tabernacles, processional roads with sanctuary stations, palaces, administrative assumptions and warehouses, here they met and merged into one theological system (led by Amon) the most important intellectual currents of the state. Amon did not displace the other deities, he only took over their character and became a creator god, the lord of the sky and the sun, ubiquitous, always an active father of kings and king of gods, the guarantor of the perpetual order of the world. The Temple of Karnak was the center of Amun's estate, which included the royal mortuary temples on the west bank and the South Harem in Luxor.
An army of priests and priestesses was required to perform numerous rites. In addition, there were numerous officials administering the property, peasants and artisans. During the nineteenth dynasty, there were more than people employed in this kind of enterprise 86 thousand. people, a huge number for these (and not only) times. Ramses III himself donated the temple 240 thousand. ha of land. The wealth of the sanctuary contributed to the increasing influence of the high priest on internal politics, and after some time also the external one. Although the king, as chief celebrant, should perform any ritual activity himself, he could not always exercise it in person. In fact, he was increasingly replaced by priests, who sacrificed and performed rituals on his behalf.
Temple of Amun
The district of Amun is almost 25 ha, so even a cursory tour should be allocated at least 2 at, and the best 3-4 at, although this may not be enough.
There is little shade in the ruins, therefore it is good to have a hat and a bottle of water with you. You can buy drinks at the café by the holy lake, but their prices are high.
Orientation can be difficult, therefore it is definitely worth having a map with you. The orientation of the temple according to the directions of the world is a certain facilitation. The main axis of the complex runs from the Unfinished Entrance Pylon (West) eastwards towards the sanctuary and barge chapel and the Jubilee Hall of Thotmes III. The lateral axis is perpendicular to it (from north to south), which houses the next pylons and, at a distance, the holy district of Mut.
Entrance to the temple
After buying a ticket, it becomes in the great square in front of the Unfinished Pylon. The area between the Nile and the temple was cleared. Excavations are still ongoing in the area.
Procession avenues lead to the walled temples: two (with sphinxes with ram heads and with human heads) link the cult center of Amon to the Mut district, there is also an avenue to Luxor (north-south axis) and the sacred road with sphinxes with ram heads leading from the main pylon of the temple to the harbor on the Nile (west-east axis) from the time of Ramesses II. The ongoing excavation work recreates the processional avenue connecting Karnak with the Luxor District.
The area was tidied up, which used barges with statues of deities during the Opet festival. A barge with a statue of Amun was placed in the chapel of King Hakoris, rulers of the XXIX Dynasty (393-380 r. p.n.e.), on the right side of the avenue of sphinxes. Seti II erected two small obelisks. The pedestal remained from the north, while the southern one is in very good condition. A processional road with sphinxes on both sides leads to the pylon (the body of a lion with a ram's head, the symbol of Amon). Each sphinx protects the image of Ramesses II as Osiris.
Great Pylon (Unfinished Pylon)
The first pylon consists of two massive sandstone towers on either side of the main entrance with a great portal. There are vertical recesses for masts made of cedar wood along the facade. It was built by Nektanebo I (XXX dynastia), which also erected a wall surrounding the complex. Counting 113 m long pylon has not been completed and lacks decorations. The northern wing only has 32 layers (21,7 m), while the south by five more layers and height 31,6 m. At the base, both pylon towers are counting 14,5 m thick.