Construction work began in the 16th century BC. Approximately 30 Pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity and diversity not seen elsewhere.
- Thebes was a center of cult of Amun and Karnak had become the most important
sanctuary of Amun and Ra.
- There are two axis which define the architecture of Karnak.
- West to east axis - orbit of the sun, this axis is characterized by its' length and the colossal size of its columns.
- North to south axis - direction of the Nile
Architectural Layout of West - East axis:
- A short avenue of sphinxes leads to the temple's first pylon.
- First Pylons - these were never finished, built the 30th Dynasty Nubian Pharaoh Nectanebo 1.
- First Court - in the center of this court are the ruins of the kiosk of Taharqa (690-664 BC),
On the right-hand side of the court, in front of the second pylon, stands a small temple built by Ramses 3.
- Second Pylons - built by Seti 1, with two standing statues of Ramses 2.
- The most celebrated Great hypostyle hall constructed in the New Kingdom by Ramses 2
A number of columns supported a flat stone roof. Forming the chief and largest inner space of the temple,
- Third Pylons - constructed by Amenhotep 3, his
Stelae describes the principal monuments that he had built in honor of Amun
- The Obelisk Court - This small court has Four obelisks, erected by Thutmose 1 and Thutmose 3.
This court is also an intersection point with the north - south axis of the temple.
- 4th & 5th Pylons - constructed by Thutmose 1,
between the pylons a hypostyle hall, with columns made of cedar wood was constructed by Thutmose 1.
The cedar columns were replaced with stone columns by Thutmose 3,
Hatshepsut erected two obelisks inside this hall
- Central court - an open area
- Festival Temple - constructed by Thutmose 3, including the unusual feature of tent shaped columns
- The inner Sanctuary of Amun
Architectural Layout of North - South axis:
- The Obelisk Court - the intersection with the west - east axis (mentioned above).
- Pyramidion - constructed by Hatshepsut
- The first court of the temple's north - south axis
- 7th pylons - constructed by Thutmose 3
- The second court
- 8th pylons
- The third court
- 9th pylons
- the fourth court
- 10th pylons - two colossal sandstone statues
- Avenue of sphinxes - connected the temple of Amun (north) to the precinct of
- The precinct of Mut
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