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The Temple Of Karnak



The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theben triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu. 
This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many of the wonders of the modern world and in its day must have been awe inspiring. 
For the largely uneducated ancient Egyptian population this could only have been the place of the gods. It is the mother of all religious buildings, the largest ever made and a place of pilgrimage for nearly 4,000 years. Although todays pilgrims are mainly tourists. It covers about 200 acres 1.5km by 0.8km The area of the sacred enclosure of Amon alone is 61 acres and would hold ten average European cathedrals.The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big, St Peter's, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals could be lost within its walls. The Hypostyle hall at 54,000 square feet with its 134 columns is still the largest room of any religious building in the world. In addition to the main sanctuary there are several smaller temples and a vast sacred lake.
All Egyptian temples had a sacred lake, Karnak's is the largest. It was used during festivals when images of the gods would sail across it on golden barges. Karnak was also the home of a flock of geese dedicated to Amun. 
The Eastern Gateway which once lead to a huge temple built by Akhenaten (the heretic king). In an attempt to obliterate his memory, Akenaten's enemies destroyed this shrine after his death. 
The Karnak Temples are open from 6:30 am until 5:30 pm in winter and from 6 am to 6 pm during summer. Admission is LE 65 for foreigners, LE 35 for foreign students. Visiting the open-air museum, to the left of the second pylon, costs an extra LE 10. The museum contains a collection of statuary that was found throughout the temple complex. The ticket has to be purchased at the main Karnak ticket kiosk. Karnak takes at least a half of a day just to walk around its many precincts and years to come to know it well. There is also a Sound and Light Show at Karnak. The show starts with a historical introduction covering the birth of the great city of Thebes and erection of the Karnak temple. The show also narrates the glorious achievements of some great Pharaohs. The Spectators listen to a magnificent and poetic description of the artistic treasures and great legacy which the Karnak temple encloses.

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