Introduction to The Temple of Karnak

A number of important ancient cities and temples are known from ancient Egypt. One of the most famous cities is Thebes, a major religious center and the burial place of the kings of the New Kingdom. The city’s tombs, including the Valley of the Kings and Queens, are located on the west bank of the river Nile, in the area’s limestone cliffs. The mortuary temples of many of the New Kingdom kings edge the flood plain of the Nile.

The houses and workshops of the ancient Thebans were located on the river’s east bank. Little remains of the ancient city, as it is covered by the modern city of Luxor. A series of important temples, composing the religious heart of Thebes, are most of what remains today. To the south, close to the banks of the Nile, lies the temple of Luxor. To the north and connected by the sphinx alleyway, stand the temples of Karnak. Karnak can be divided into four sections: south Karnak, with its temple of the goddess Mut; east Karnak, the location of a temple to the Aten; north Karnak, the site of the temple of the god Montu; and central Karnak, with its temple to the god Amun.

The resources in this section provide a basic introduction to the Temple of Karnak, and describe how its structures are associated with political and religious changes in the region.

Available Resources

Guide (PDF format) – This document guides you through the videos in this section

General Layout and Pylons – This video introduces the viewer to the location and appearance of the temple. 4min 24sec

Temple Significance – This video shows how the construction works at Karnak temple are associated with important political and religious changes in Egyptian history. 8min 53sec.

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