Monday, January 23, 2012

Monumental Monday - Karnak Egypt

Karnak describes a vast conglomerate of ruined temples, chapels and other buildings of various dates. The name Karnak comes from the nearby village of el-Karnak. Whereas Luxor to the south was Ipet-rsyt, Karnak was ancient Ipet-isut, perhaps the most select of Places. Theban kings and the god Amun came to prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. From that time, the temples of Karnak were built, enlarged, torn down, added to, and restored for more than 2000 years.

The ancient Egyptians considered Ipet-Isut as the place of the majestic rising of the first time, where Amun-Ra made the first mound of earth rise from Nun. At Karnak, the high priests recognized a king as the beloved son of Amun, king of all the gods. The coronation and jubilees were also held here. Staffed by more than 80,000 people under Ramesses III, the temple was also the administrative center of enormous holdings of agricultural land.

The largest and most important group in the site is the central enclosure, the Great Temple of Amun proper. The layout of the Great Temple consists of a series of pylons of various dates. The earliest are Pylons IV and V, built by Tuthmosis I, and from then on the temple was enlarged by building in a westerly and southerly direction. Courts or halls run between the pylons, leading to the main sanctuary.
The temple is built along two axes, with a number of smaller temples and chapels and a sacred lake. The northern enclosure belongs to Montu, the original god of the Theban area, while the enclosure of Mut lies to the south and is connected with Amun’s precinct by an alley of ram-headed sphinxes. An avenue bordered by sphinxes linked Karnak with the Luxor temple, and canals connected the temples of Amun and Montu with the Nile.

Near the northwest corner of the temple’s sacred lake is a colossal statue of the sacred scarab beetle on a tall plinth, dating to Amenhotep III.
To circle this statue of a scarab is said to bring good luck

 The sacred lake on the west side may have been dug by Amenhotep III and restored by Montuemhat, who has a biographical inscription in theMut temple. A "high temple" was erected by Nectanebo II as a storehouse for the offerings. 

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