One famous aspect of Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, a hall area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 m2) with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters.
My tour group had tickets to this but I've seen others say they had to pay for it. If that was the case I wouldn't have bothered going.
You get to the Karnak Temple and it's dark. There are hundreds of people waiting for the Sound and Light show to start. The sound was terrible, it was full of static and hard to hear as most of the tourists were chatting during the sound portion. The Light part of the show, well the only thing I can figure is that the lights were highlighting different monuments and columns as we walked through the temple. When we made it to the sacred lack (I believe this is what they call the open air museum but I'm not 100% certain) We listened to the crackly sounding lecture and then it was time to go.
If I hadn't already paid for this show as part of my tour package I would have skipped it. I think the show was a couple hours long and the worst was I was heading back the next morning to see the Karnak temple in the light of day.
Along with the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings, this place is a real stunner. The architecture and the man made lake with clay pipes still being used is a marvel in engineering and architecture. Each section is built by a new Pharaoh and on the ceilings of the columns the paint still remains. This is definite must when visiting Egypt.
In ancient times, Karnak was known as Ipet-isut, 'The most select of places'
The Sacred Scarab is here, and perhaps it was placed strategically where it is - in front of the Sacred Lake - to keep the Lake and surrounding area clean. It is also said that if you make a wish and walk around it seven times your wish will come true.
The Sacred lake symbolizes the Waters of Creation from where all life emerges and so the scarab here has a dual function, both as clearer and creator. The Sacred Lake was used daily by the Priests for purification who also had their homes around the lake.
Take a half-day private tour with a qualified Egyptologist guide exploring the East Bank of Luxor. You'll see two of the most impressive temples in Upper Egypt - Karnak and Luxor, while learning about ancient Egyptian history from your own personal guide.
Start your day with a visit to the Temples of Karnak. Walk along the Avenue of Sphinx to enter the complex as your guide explains how the massive facade was constructed. On entering the Temples of Karnak you will see each legacy left by the various pharaohs as the complex grew even larger. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back in time you will travel, with the oldest ruins dating back over 3,000 years.
Walking through the Great Court into the Great Hypostyle Hall, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the 134 columns towering above you like an ancient forest. At the rear of the complex you will find the sacred lake where centuries ago pharaohs and their offerings to the gods were purified. After a tour of the complex, you will have additional free time to explore at leisure.
On left side of the Hypostyle Hall, there is an exit that will lead to the Open-air Museum. There is also an exit point at the Great Court where you can access this site.
This museum requires a separate ticket costing EGP50 which surprised me as I thought it is included in the Karnak Temple entry fee of EGP60 that I already paid for. There are more things to see around the Karnak so I skipped this open-air museum.
The last section of the Temple of Amun on the main axis - if I remember it right, the last portion of the temple - the Festival Temple of Tuthmosis III which is in really good condition. Tuthmosis III is said to have built this structure on the site of the brick enclosure of an older sanctuary for Nun. It is one of the more interesting, as well as one of the more unusual features at Karnak. He built it as a sort of memorial to himself and his ancestral cult and named it the "Most Splendid of Monuments". The entrance was originally flanked by two statues of the king wearing a festival costume.
Read the complete info here: Festival Temple of Tuthmosis III
This is almost the last part of the Karnak Complex that I went to..or is it? I think so. I remember this is the most silent part of the complex.
When I say, this area of the Karnak Temple is easily the best part - probably in all of the sights I've seen in EGypt (incl. the Great Pyramids), I mean it. That's why I'm posting more photos - though it does not justify seeing the real thing in person - to see what I mean.
The Great Hypostyle Hall measures 7,200 square yards of 134 massive and tall columns with several inscriptions around each. Looks to me like feet or legs of giant mammoths (that sounds like the same...is it? which is which?).
After the huge open court, you'll be getting in the most spectacular part of the Karnal Temple -- the Great Hyspostyle Hall -- left and right.
This is the part where I got the most goosebumps I have ever had everytime I see a historical site. This is world's largest hypostyle hall, no equal anywhere else in the world. It has 134 papyrus flower-shaped columns. This impressive hall is built by Seti I between 1313 - 1292BC and finished by his son Ramses II during the new kingdom in 1292 - 1225BC.
I'm lost with words here, seeing this area of the temple is unbelievably amazing.
There's a romantic feeling to it. If this area of the temple is empty, you could play hide and seek and will find it really hard to find each other.
Easily my favorite part of Karnak Temple --- maybe my fave in whole of Luxor -- or even Egypt. I'm serious..really. (See pics, so you'll appreciate what I'm saying, though of course the pics won't justify the real thing.)
On the left side of the huge open court or the Great Court is a rectangular hypostyle hall with 8 columns, a vestibule with 4 columns, and an open court. This hall is called the Temple of Ramses II with several statues of Ramses III.
After entering the main gate or the first pylon, you'll be ushered into a huge open space called the Great Court, in the middle you'll see a huge 21 meter tall column with bud papyrus capital. This portion of the temple is the kiosk of Taharqa who ruled during the 25th Dynasty. This tall single column is the only one left from a colonnade which used to be of 10 columns. There are 3 chapels on the left side of the court built during the reign of King Seti II for the Triad of Thebes.
The Temple is the most important place of worship during the new kingdom.
Similar to the avenue of the sphinxes in the temple of Luxor, the Karnak Temple has it's own line of sphinxes, the difference is in Karnak - it's a ram-headed sphinxes (in Luxor it's Necatanebo's head). The main gate of Karnak has on both sides have several ram-headed sphinxes and it used to be linked up all the way to Luxor Temple -- for the procession.