Obelisks at Eastern Gate

Related Features

Originally built by Ramesses II – 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE

Other works initiated by Ramesses II:

Obelisks at Eastern Gate, Ramesses II Eastern Temple, South Exterior Wall, Hypostyle Hall, East Exterior Wall


The rose granite obelisks of Ramesses II stood east of the later Nectanebo I eastern precinct gate. Today, only the ruined supports of the obelisks remain. Shards of the broken obelisks were discovered in modern times scattered in the area. A sphinx statue resting on a rose granite base fronted each obelisk.
Measurements: The bases of the obelisks were 1.60m high and 2.9m square.

Phases of Construction

Ramesses II

Ramesses II raised this pair of obelisks and sphinx as part of his focus on the eastern area of the Amun-Ra precinct, also adding a small temple before the unique obelisk in east Karnak. Ramesses II may have built a large court or extended entrance in front of the Thutmoside enclosure wall of the time (see Enclosures and Gates for more information on this feature), marking the eastern-most point of this new entrance by the monoliths.

Construction materials: rose granite shafts, red sandstone socles

About the reconstruction model of Ramesses II

The location and appearance of the obelisks and sphinxes were based on the description of the area and the sketch by Barguet (1962: 224). The height and angle of the obelisks were reconstructed on the model using the size of the base and the other obelisks at the temple as a guide. The actual height remains unknown.

A simple red granite pattern was used for both obelisks on the model. Red sandstone was used for their socles. The ram-headed sphinx statues designed for the temple’s western entrance were utilized here to give the viewer a general impression of the area’s appearance. The actual appearance of these sphinxes is unknown, as they were completed destroyed (Barguet 1962: pl. XXXb). The actual sphinxes in this location would have had a red granite base.


Barguet, Paul. (1962),Le temple d’Amon-Rê à Karnak; essai d’exégèse. Le Caire: Impr. de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale, xix, 368 p..

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