Temple City of Amen-Ra

Ancient Egypt’s greatest holy place, the temple city of the King of the Gods Amen-Ra, lies near the present-day village of Karnak, two kilometers north of Luxor. The way there leads along the wonderful new Nile Promenade. On foot it takes a good half hour. A coach ride is perhaps a more inviting way of getting there, especially on hot days.

After a short distance, the modern edifice of the Luxor Museum can be seen on the Corniche to the right. The museum, which opened in 1976, offers an outstanding look into the art and history of old Thebes. The items on exibit are clearly displayed, well illuminated and have descriptions in several languages.

About one kilometer further on, the street branches off to the Temple of Karnak. Once the religious center of an empire, Karnak is today a gigantic archeological site with an overwhelming number of individual buildings. For 2,000 years – from the Middle Kingdom to Ptolemaic times – the great Pharaohs of Egyptian history built their temples, chapels and monuments here, and undertook restorations, extensions and renovations. Separated from each other by powerful brick walls, there are three main groups of buildings. The dominating center of these is the large Temple Complex of Amen-Ra. Sightseeing tours concentrate on this, for the Temple Complex of the Theban God Montu, which borders it to the north, is closed to visitors. The Temple of the Goddess Mut – the wife of Amen-Ra – to the south lies almost completely in ruins, with little more than its foundations intact.

But by this point, at the latest, you will begin to realize that trying to work out the history of the building can easiliy become confusing even for experts on Egyptian dynasties! It is well worth having a look at the layout plan before you enter this fascinating labyrinth of wonders.

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