During the New Kingdom, the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak was the most important
place of worship in Egypt. (Amun-Re was King of the Gods and father to the
pharaoh.) The entire temple complex covers an area of nearly 75 acres, and
there are two other, smaller complexes within the Karnak precinct. The farther
back one walks in the Temple of Amun-Re, the older the structures become, so
this initial Great Court is one of the more recent constructions.
You start by facing west towards the First Pylon, a massive wall 372 feet wide.
Look at its base for the remains of an earth-and-mud-brick ramp, which ancient
workers used to haul stones up during the gateway's construction. Swinging
around the right (north), you'll see the bottom half of a huge column. It is
the only one remaining of the Kiosk of Taharka, a seventh-century B.C.
Ethiopian pharaoh; the kiosk once boasted 10 such columns and held processional
The First Pylon at Karnak Temple.
To the right of the column, near the palm tree, stands a 50-foot-high statue of
Ramses II. To the east are the ruins of the Second Pylon, begun by Horemheb and
finished by Ramses II, and to the south lies the entrance to the Temple of
Ramses III. In the image as a whole, see if you can locate the Shrine of Seti
I, a small temple with two visible doors.
Ramses III smites
his enemies in this detail from the Great Court.