Al Karnak Travel Guide

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Al Karnak Highlights

  • Pro
    uglyscot profile photo

    uglyscot says…

     amazing monument 

  • Con
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    1gorams says…

     not all areas are open to the public 

  • In a nutshell
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    1gorams says…

     world's largest open air museum. 

Al Karnak Things to Do

  • Sixth Pylon

    The smallest Pylon in the Temple of Amun, numbered Sixth by archaeologists, was constructed by Thutmosis III, after the Fourth and Fifth Pylons were built. Thutmosis III also raised two 7 metre columns (still standing today) which represent the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt. Statues of the god Amun and his female counterpart Amunet are still...

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  • Temple of Karnak

    With a front wall big enough to defy logic, the Temple of Karnak is in better condition than many sites in Egypt. Again, this site is easily accessed from the waterfront if you are doing a Nile cruise.

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  • Karnak Temple

    The temple complex at Karnak is HUGE and vastly more interesting than the one at Luxor.Well worth a visit,They also do a sound and light show at night

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  • Look at the statues and engravings

    There are statues of the various pharaohs who contributed to the building of the Karnak temple. Naturally many are of Ramses II, who was probably the most prolific .

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  • The sacred lake

    The Sacred Lake is the final destination of the Sound and Light tour, There are seats where the audience sit and hear a history of Karnak.By day it is interesting to see this lake., artificially constructed in ancient times. It is 129x77 m and was surrounded by store rooms, priests' living quarters and an aviary where water fowl were kept.

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  • Karnak obelisks

    There are still a number of obelisks to be seen at Karnak.The obelisk of Tuthmosis I is 70 ft tall and that of Hatchepsut 97 ft tall [second only to the one in Rome].There is also the fallen obelisk.All were engraved with cartouches and hieroglyphic accounts.

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  • The temple of Amun

    The temple of Amun is the heart of the Karnak Temple.. It begins at the Second Pylon which was built by Ramses I. Then the Hypostyle Hall during the time of Ramses I, Seti I and Ramses II. The walls, ceiling and columns are of natural earth colours. The ceiling was 82 feet high and there were 12 papyrus columns, 6 on each side. On the outer side...

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  • See the Chapel of the Lion Goddess...

    My guide took me to the side of the Karnak Temple and there was a chapel (less visited at the time because it was under renovation) which housed the lion goddess, known as the Powerful One, Sekhmet. She was standing alone in the darkness and I was the only tourist photographing her at the time. Sekhmet, the war goddess of Upper Egypt, protects the...

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  • See the tallest Obelisk in Karnak!

    Okay, so we see obelisks everywhere (one in Paris), I think I also saw obelisk-looking structures (not necessarily Egyptian) in Stockholm, in Buenos Aires, Washington DC...But if you want to see the tallest EGYPTIAN obelisk that is still standing, go to Karnak.The female Pharaoh, Hathsepsut, built obelisks in her honor and one of them still stands...

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  • Walk thru the columns of Great Hypostyle...

    Wow, just walking through these gigantic columns in Karnak reminded me of that Disney movie (on Moses I think)...it is hard to capture the awe that you will experience walking through the Great Hypostyle Hall. You're transported back to 1500 years ago (at least)! The complex is actually built on and on and on by successive generations of pharaohs...

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  • Sound and Light Show at Karnak

    I already went to the temple during daylight, but I also wanted to see it at night. So, my guides got the tickets for the evening show and we all went. Karnak has a different aura at night and the nice thing was that it was a full moon that night. You are met at the avenue of the sphinxes and you are guided through the Great Hypostyle Hall (with...

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  • Great Festival Hall (Akh Menou)

    Built by Thutmosis III, the Great Festival Hall (called Akh-Menou) was used in the celebration of the Pharaoh's 30th year of rule. It consists of a hypostyle hall with numerous columns which have conserved their original colours to this day. Beyond this hall are several chapels and chambers, as well as the "Botanical Gardens".

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  • Second Pylon

    Bordering one side of the Great Court, the Second Pylon leads to the Great Hypostyle Hall. The Pylon was constructed by Pharaoh Horemheb (c. 1300 BC) in the post-Amarna period, when Egyptian orthodoxy was being restored. After the rebellious reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, all of the unorthodox temples they had built were dismantled and the...

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  • Precinct of Amun - First Pylon

    Built in the 4th century BC by Nectanebo I of the last indigenous (30th) Dynasty, the enormous First Pylon was never actually completed. It faces the Nile and is twice the size of the First Pylon at the Temple of Luxor. Nowadays, this is the main entrance into the Temple of Amun, approached by the once spectacular Avenue of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes.

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  • Precinct of Amun

    Considered the centre of Al Karnak, the enormous Precinct of Amun is the largest temple complex in the area. It is dominated by the Temple of Amun, which is surrounded by multiple smaller temples and chapels. The Precinct was the focus of Egyptian religion for centuries and took nearly 2000 years of continuous construction and expansion to reach...

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Al Karnak Restaurants

  • laurababe's Profile Photo

    by laurababe Written Jan 14, 2008

    Maxim's restaurant in Luxor is near KFC/Pizza Hut, very clean and value for money is amazing!!! Soup £0.40 GBP, Fillet steak with all the trimmings £2.80 GPB and wide range of desserts to choose from. Staff are very friendly and very welcoming.

    Favorite Dish: Tomato Soup and Fillet Steak stuffed with mushrooms and cheese!!!

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Al Karnak Transportation

  • Luxor to Karnak

    Al Karnak is located about 2.5 km north of Luxor. Although during cooler months, the distance can easily be covered by foot (as we did), it is best to travel by taxi or calèche (horse-drawn carriage) to conserve one's energy. Although our long walk was most pleasant, we had exhausted most of the energy in us, which was rather needed to cover the...

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  • How to reach the Temple

    The most of tourists arrive to the Karnak’s Temple by bus. There is a huge parking near the Temple which homes hundreds of buses. You may see a lot of guards there to feel safe against terrorists (at the second photo). Crowds of tourists leave the parking like continuous stream (at the third photo).The Temple is situated on the distance of two...

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  • easy peasy with taxi

    karnak is not so far from luxor. just 3 km away. so, choose a cab will not be expensive. approximately LE30 per trip.

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Al Karnak Local Customs

  • How to solve a love problem

    The scarab was relocated to the lake's western side not far ago in order to make more space for the influx of tourists inside the temple. Local guides tell tourists as a local custom that if one walks around the scarab seven times, he or she will never again have love problems! So it is common to see the tourists making laps around the scarab.I’ve...

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  • Visiting Mosques

    Many Asian and African countries, including Egypt, are predominantly Muslim, so the religious sites you are most likely to encounter, are, predictably, mosques. This is a brief tip of advice, written from the point of view of a non-Muslim, female traveler (yours truly!!!):- Do dress modestly, covering arms, legs, shoulders and the like, no...

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  • Two Kinds of Temples

    As far as I could learn, there used to be two kinds of religious temples in the Ancient Egypt: different in some things, and very much alike in others. These were the funerary temples and the cult temples. The titles show the use of each kind plainly enough. The main purpose of the so-called ‘cult temples’ was to venerate the gods and their son,...

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Al Karnak Warnings and Dangers

  • catkin's Profile Photo
    Shinx at Karnak

    by catkin Written Jul 1, 2004

    We went to a son et lumiere (sound and light) show at Karnak temple. I have to say after paying our £14 we were all disappointed and very bored with it all. I think I expected more from the show-perhaps I was imagining the Jean Michel Jarre concert in the London docklands I don’t know but this sound and light show was nothing like it!
    The narrative which I lost track of very quickly was accompanied by parts of the temple being illuminated by white or the odd coloured light-there were no moving images or lasers to be seen anywhere. The music that was played during the performance didn’t sound remotely Egyptian- again I think I imagined Aida or Nabucco.
    As one part of the narrative is over everyone moves en mass to the next point where another part of the narrative begins. The last 45 minutes were sat on some seats overlooking the sacred lake while the music, disjointed narrative and lights continued-the lights in the sky from the crescent moon, stars and planets were far more interesting.

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Al Karnak Tourist Traps

  • The huge sizes of the Temple

    Frankly speaking I didn’t go further than the Festival Hall of Tuthmosis III and didn’t see the Amun Suite, the Botanical Chamber, the Temple of the Hearing Ear, the Sanctuary of Alexander. I should say even more. I’ve seen only small part of the Temple. I haven’t seen the Opet Temple, the Temple of Khonsu, the Festival Temple of Amenhotep II, the...

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  • Universal chaos

    An unpleasant tourist trap of Karnak were huge crowds of tourists which simultaneously were in the Temple. Though the operating time of the Temple is since early morning till the evening I've got an impression, that all tourists who this day intended to examine the Temple appeared there simultaneously. The most part of tourists came with the...

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  • Uninvited guides

    There are beautiful color lists of walls in the Festival buildings. You may see them on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th photos. You will see there several locals who try to show you the most impressive pictures. But if they succeeded they ask a dollar! Don't give them any attention. You will see the pictures yourself without any help.

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Al Karnak What to Pack

  • aliante1981's Profile Photo

    by aliante1981 Written Jan 2, 2004

    Miscellaneous: Travels to places like Egypt involves a lot of fighting the heat, especially if you, like me (I am still surprised as to why I did that), go there right in the middle of the summer. Here’s a list of useful items to take:

    - Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide head covering and some shade. For women, they are also a proof of modesty, welcomed when visiting old churches and mosques. Scarves and the like covering shoulders and arms can keep the sun off during treks. A cloth hat or scarf can be soaked to help keep the head cool.

    - "Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached. The beach toy to take with you!

    - Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Egypt, people tend to prefer sticking with their own favourite brand (the skin, too, ‘gets used’ to it), and there’s not guarantee you’ll find it on the spot. So take your own, if you have preferences!

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Al Karnak Favorites

  • If you are lucky, you might see a...

    AL Karnak Temple ---- We were on our way out of the Chapel of Sekhmet, the lioness goddess, which at the time was closed and under renovation but my guide bribed the caretaker so we got in --- when all of a sudden, a jackal appeared!There were no tourists around and so maybe the jackal found that opportunity to snoop around! If you look closely...

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  • You will see some images DEFACED...

    The Egyptians believe that the preservation of a person's name and his image guarantees immortality and life beyond death. However, when you had some enemies left behind, they might cause trouble by erasing your name and defacing your images....I remembered this ancient custom as I was looking throught my pictures and saw this picture and I...

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  • What Time to Visit Al Karnak

    The best time to visit al Karnak temples is during lunchtime, between 12 noon and 2pm. Organised tour operators allocate this time to feed the hords of tourists and therefore crowds tend to be relatively small at Karnak. Plan to have an early or a late lunch that day and visit the temple lunchtime. It is what I did and found the crowds to be...

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