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Karnak Temple: Obelisk Court

Obelisk Court



Between the ruined remains of the Third and Fourth Pylons lies the narrow court of Amenophis III. He built the Third Pylon, while Tuthmosis I erected the older Fourth Pylon, which was the front of the temple during his reign. Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III raised four obelisks in this court, of which just this one remains.


Obelisk Like an Egyptian Tower of Pisa, the obelisk of Tuthmosis I features a distinct lean.
You start by facing north towards the obelisk of Tuthmosis I. If you look carefully, you can see that it leans slightly to the left. To the right of it—that is, beyond the ruins of the Fourth Pylon—rears the obelisk of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, the largest still standing in Egypt. After the death of her father Tuthmosis I in 1495 B.C., Hatshepsut declared herself "king" and ruled for 20 years, erecting a pair of obelisks here. (The second one toppled, and its upper portion lies nearby.)

Hieroglyphic carvings Hieroglyphic carvings from the Court of Amenophis III.

As you swing around to the east, you'll see the ruined hulk of the Fourth Pylon. Due west, you can get a good view of the Great Hypostyle Hall, with the central, paired rows of 69-foot columns visible between the two palm trees. Have you noticed the lighting fixtures? They come into play during the sound-and-light show put on most nights at Karnak Temple.



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