Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday, Feb 12th, Karnak & Luxor


Egypt's kings during the period from 3200 B.C. to 50 B.C. built temples along the Nile River as homes of their gods. The kings (Pharaohs) often deemed themselves as godlike, and included images of themselves as gods. What Pat and I are doing is visiting these temples, as we explore Egypt. Here are reports of two more.

Spectacular is a word I have used without any real point of reference. Karnak is now my point of reference. Here’s some of what contributes to my definition:

An entrance road containing a mile of facing sphinx statues.

Ten gates (called pylons) scattered throughout the complex, a hundred feet high, and 30 feet thick.

Several large plazas, where over 50,000 common folks could pray.

Built over 1,500 years from the 18th to the 30th dynasties, the two square kilometer complex contains 37 structures dedicated to Amun, his wife Mut, and his son Khonsu.

Temple of Amun, the largest religious building ever built.. Topped with a stone roof held up by 134 papyrus-shaped stone pillars, half the building is 80 feet high, the other half is 86 feet high. All the columns are 10 feet in diameter, and at the border facing east is the world’s first skylight in the form of a six-foot wall between the two levels with windows. In it, one could hide Rome’s St Peter’s Basilica and London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

The world’s largest standing obelisk, weighing 320 tons, and dedicated to the only female Pharaoh, Hatshesut.

The world’s first swimming pool, is 3 meters deep, and far beyond Olympic size.

More inscriptions on walls, some still covered with original paint, that you could look at in a month.

Luxor Temple
Largely built by New Kingdom Pharaohs Amenhotep (Tutankamen’s grandfather) and Ramses II, this temple was used for the annual Otep festivals and celebrations. Its walls, statues, obelisks, and columns are covered with tribute information and recorded history. Of significance is the many additions made by early Christian artists who blended scenes of Christ and Mary into the inscriptions on columns, and carved alters into the walls.

If we hadn’t seen Karnak just before coming to Luxor, I probably would have been much more impressed by it. But it just doesn’t seem all that spectacular.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on: Sunday, Feb 12th, Karnak & Luxor


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