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karnak temple


Although badly ruined, no site in Egypt is more impressive than Karnak.  It is the largest temple complex ever built by man and represents the combined achievements of many generations of ancient builders.  Covering approximately 250 acres, it's ancient name was Ipet-isut, meaning "The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places" and was built and enlarged over a 1300 year period.





Avenue of ram-headed Sphinxes at the entrance.








The Hypostyle Hall is considered to be one of the world's greatest architectural masterpieces.  Building started in the reign of Ramesses I who was King for just a year.  It was continued by Seti I (1306 - 1290 BC) and completed by his son, Ramesses II. 

The hall ceiling was 82 feet high and was supported by 12 columns made of sandstone and set in two rows of six. Each row is flanked on either side by 7 rows of columns that are 42 feet (12.8m) high. Each row has 9 columns, however the inner rows have 7 columns. The reliefs throughout the hall contain symbolism of Creation.  














The obelisk on the left was erected by Tuthmosis I (1504 - 1492 BC) who was the father of Hatshepsut - "the woman who would be King."   This obelisk stands 70 feet (21.3m) tall and weighs about 145 tons.  In the right hand photo, the obelisk to the right is the only remaining Obelisk of Hatshepsut (1508 -1458 BC). It is 97 feet (29.6m) high and weighs approximately 320 tons.  Hatshepsut was a woman who dared to challenge the tradition of male kingship. She died, probably bumped off by her successor, after imposing her will for a time. After her death, her name and memory suffered attempted systematic obliteration.   Tuthmosis III (1479-1425 BC) succeeded Hatshepsut and when he came to power, he built a high wall around her obelisk. This wall hid the lower two-thirds but left the upper towering above. It has been thought that this was an easier and cheaper way of destroying her memory than actually tearing it down and removing it.  Reliefs in her temple and other places were obliterated in an attempt to remove her from history.


Statue of a Scarab Beetle - legend being, if you walk around it seven times in an anti-clockwise direction, as the people on the right are doing, then stand in front of it and make a wish - something lucky will happen to you.  ????

  Images of Hatshepsut on the right of this relief have been destroyed.

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