Bab El Amara Gate

Related Features

Originally built by Nectanebo I – 380 BCE to 362 BCE

Modified by Ptolemy III – 246 BCE to 221 BCE

Other works initiated by Nectanebo I:

1st Pylon, Contra Temple, Opet Temple, Shoshenq I Court, Enclosures and Gates, Bab el Amara Gate, Other Processional Ways

Other works initiated by Ptolemy III:

Bab el Amara Gate, Opet Temple


The gate is situated within the enclosure wall of Nectanebo I, south of the Khonsu Temple. To the south of the gate stood a sphinx-lined alleyway. The ceiling was decorated with a motif of flying vultures. The interior walls were covered with the hieroglyphic symbols for “all life, prosperity, and health,” a common wish for the pharaoh. A winged sun-disk adorned the center of the gate’s lintel. The north face of the gate is covered with relief scenes of the king interacting with divinities.
Measurements: The gate measures 21m high. The opening is 14.0-14.4m high and 5.6m wide.

Phases of Construction

Nectanebo I

Nectanebo I or his successor Teos planned to front the Khonsu Temple with a new gate and pylon. The king began construction on the flanking pylon towers, 28.2m long each. The project was never finished and the foundations of these towers were left incomplete.

Construction materials: stone

Ptolemy III

Ptolemy III erected a huge stone gateway between the planned pylon towers. The gate was inscribed with texts and relief scenes mentioning the king.

About the reconstruction model of Ptolemy III

The Ptolemy III gate was designed based on the axial drawings of Zignani (2003: fig. 5-9, 16).

Photographs of the gate as it appears at Karnak today were placed on the north exterior and the interior sides of the model. The south side, not photographed, was done with a generic stone pattern.

Unknown Ptolemaic King

Sometime after the addition of the Ptolemy III gate, a mud brick wall was built up against the gate to close off the area between the Nectanebo I enclosure wall and the gate. The planned pylon towers were covered by this new wall.

Construction materials: mud brick

About the reconstruction model of Unknown Ptolemaic King

The model of the incomplete pylon towers and the location of the later mud brick wall over these towers was based on the plans of Laroche-Traunecker (1982: fig. 10) and Lauffray, Sauneron, et al. (1975: fig. 11).

Modern Site Photos


Lauffray, Jean, Serge Sauneron, and Sa’ad Ramadan. (1975),Rapport sur les travaux de Karnak. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. V , 1-42.

Zignani, Pierre. (2003),Observations architecturales sur la porte d’Évergète. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. VI , 711-743.

Laroche-Traunecker, Francoise. (1982),Données nouvelles sur les abords du temple de Khonsou. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. VII , 313-337.