Karnak Temple visited on 30.10.09
About three kilometers from the temple at Luxor one finds the vast zone covered by the monuments at Karnak which the Greeks called Hermonthis. The area covered by the monuments is divided into three with rough brick walls separating them. The largest, whcih covers about thirty hectares, is the central area which is also the best preserved. Diodorus of Sicily said of it that it is the most ancient of the four temples at Thebes. It is the temple dedicated to Amon. On the left is the sanctuary of Montu, the god of war, which is rectangular and covers about two and a half hectares. On the other side covering about nine hectares, of which about half is as yet unexplored, is the sanctuary of the goddes Mut, Amon's wife, who is symbolically represented as a vulture.
The great temple of Amon amazes one by its sheer size. It is the largest temple supported by columns in the world and is so vast that it could easily contain the whole of Notre Dame de Paris and and according to Leonard Cottrell "would cover at least half of Manhattan". The most truly amazing feature is the hypo style hall which is one hundred and two meters long by fifty three meters wide and in which there stand one hundred and thirty four columns 23 meters high. The tops of the open papyrus shaped capitals have a circumference of about fifteen meters and are big enough for fifty people to stand on them. A veriable forest of columns which excite tremendous emotion because of their size and the play of light and shade on them.
During the XIXth Dynasty 81,322 persons worked in the temple of Amon if we count not only the priests and guardians but also the work men and peasants involved. The temple enjoyed the income from a considerable number of estates, markets and work sites to which one should add all the riches and booty which the Pharaoh brought back from his victorious military expeditions. Various pharaohs contributed to the realization of the hypo style hall. Amon - Ofis III built the twelve columns in the central nave which support the enormous architraves. Ramses I initiated the decoration and this work was continued by Seti I and Ramses II.
Beyond the hypo - style hall there once stood (today only one remains) the obeliscs of Tutmose I which were 23 metres high and weighed 143 tonnes. Higher still is the one erected by his daughter Hatshepsut for the construction of which it is said that the queen spared no expenses, the chronicles of the period state that she provided for the project.
Karnak is one of the beautiful man made constructions on the earth.