A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Karnak is one of the largest temple complexes in the world. This magnificent place has incredibly rich architectural, ritual, religious, economic, social and political history.
Karnak guardians. The Karnak Temple complex is located in southern Egypt in and around the modern city of Luxor, which has a wealth of ancient Egyptian ruins.
Great construction and historical place of ancient Egypt stands at Karnak. This huge temple complex
covers hundreds of acres in the area of modern day Luxor. Karnak was dedicated to the gods Amun-ra,
Mut and Montu. It was surrounded by the thriving city of Thebes.
The Theban king Kamose erected a memorial in the temple of Karnak to record his victories in battle. The most spectacular renovation was at Karnak, where the temple to the god Amun was lavishly updated.
Also, on an inscription at the Temple at Karnak, there is recorded Thutmose III’s most famous victory.
It describes a surprise attack on Megiddo, Israel, where his army of 10,000 soldiers captured the city.
The Theban Triad at Medinet Habu. From left to right: Amun, Mut and Khonsu. Image credit:Rémih/wikipedia
The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isu-or "most select of places"-by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2,000 years and dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun-Ra, Mut, and Khonsu. This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many 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. According to some sources, this was the largest religious building ever made. It covers about 200 acres (1.5 km by 0.8 km), and was a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2,000 years. The area of the sacred enclosure of Amun alone is sixty-one acres and could hold ten average European cathedrals.
The sacred barges of the Theban Triad once floated on the lake during the annual Opet festival. The lake was surrounded by storerooms and living quarters for the priests, along with an aviary for aquatic birds.
Aerial view of the Karnak Temple
The Egyptians believed that towards the end of annual agricultural cycle the gods and the earth became exhausted and required a fresh input of energy from the chaotic energy of the cosmos.
To accomplish this magical regeneration the Opet festival was held yearly at Karnak and Luxor. It lasted for twenty-seven days and was also a celebration of the link between pharaoh and the god Amun. The procession began at Karnak and ended at Luxor Temple, one and a half miles (2.4 kilometres) to the south.
The statue of the god Amun was bathed with holy water, dressed in fine linen, and adorned in gold and silver jewellery. The priests then placed the god in a shrine and onto the ceremonial barque supported by poles for carrying.
Pharaoh emerged from the temple, his priests carrying the barque on their shoulders, and together they moved into the crowded streets. A troop of Nubian soldiers serving as guards beat their drums, and musicians accompanied the priests in song as incense filled the air.
Written by – A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com Senior Staff Writer