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The Karnak temple complex, universally known only as Karnak, describes a vast conglomeration of ruined temples, chapels, pylons and other buildings. It is located near Luxor in Egypt. This was ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut ("The Most Selected of Places"), the main place of worship of the Theban Triad with Amun as its head, in the monumental city of Thebes. The complex retrieves its current name from the nearby and partly surrounding modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5km north of Luxor.The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. It is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids near Cairo. It consists of four main parts (precincts), of which only the largest, the Precinct of Amun-Re, is open to the general public. The term Karnak is often understood as being the Precinct of Amun-Re only, as this is the only part most visitors normally see. The three other parts, the Precinct of Montu, the Precinct of Mut and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, are closed to the public. There also are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries located outside the enclosing walls of the four main parts, as well as several avenues of human and ram-headed sphinxes connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and Luxor Temple.
The temple of Karnak is famous for its 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows in the Hypostyle Hall. 122 of these columns are 10 meters tall, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall with a diameter of over three meters. The architraves on top of these columns weigh an estimated 70 tons. These architraves may have been lifted to these heights using levers. This would be an extremely time-consuming process and would also require great balance to get to such great heights. A common alternative theory is that there were large ramps made of sand mud brick or stone and the stones were towed up the ramps. If they used stone for the ramps they would have been able to build the ramps with much less material. The top of the ramps would presumably have either wooden tracks or cobblestones to tow the megaliths on. There is a unfinished pillar in an out of the way location that indicated how they finished it. The finish carving was done after the drums were put in place.Several experiments moving megaliths with ancient technology were done at other locations some of them are listed here. There is a double row of sphinxes leading to the temple of Luxor. There are several colossal statues including the figure of Panejem which is 10.5 meters tall. The sandstone for this temple, including all the columns, was transported from Gebel Silsila 100 miles south on the Nile river. It also has one of the largest obelisks weighing 328 tonnes and standing 29 meters tall.
The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Construction work began in the 16th century BC. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming. Construction of temples started in the Middle Kingdom and continued through to Ptolemaic times.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Luciano Gollini (lousat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6970 W: 117 N: 13150] (73837)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2009-05-23
  • Categories: Ruins
  • Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2009-06-23 9:58
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
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Additional Photos by Luciano Gollini (lousat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6970 W: 117 N: 13150] (73837)
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