Pylon And Festival Court Of Thutmose II

Related Features


The pylon and “festival court” of Thutmose II originally stood to the west of the fourth pylon. These structures were completed destroyed by later construction at the site and can no longer be seen in their original location at Karnak. A number of kings made architectural additions to the hall, most of which also disappeared during the reworking of the area. Remains of the stone pylons and court doorways have been found at Karnak and provide some information on the original appearance of this area. Some of these were reconstructed at Karnak and can be seen in the Open Air Museum.
Measurements: The pylon towers were theoretically reconstructed to measure 55m by 10m at each base. The court area would have covered 73m by 38m (deep).

Phases of Construction

Thutmose II

Thutmose II built his pylon and court to the west of pylon IV, creating a new western entrance to the temple and linking the north/south and east/west processional routes at the site of the court. The construction of this court enclosed the obelisks of Thutmose I and probably the “white chapel” of Senusret I and the limestone chapel of Amenhotep I.

Construction materials: limestone

About the reconstruction model of Thutmose II

The reconstruction of the pylon and court on the model are based on the hypothesized form of these structures shown in the plans and axial drawings of Gabolde (1993: fig. V, pl. III-VII).

A plain limestone pattern was applied to these features. None of the inscriptions or decoration (which can be seen on the reconstructed sections of the pylon towers in the Open Air Museum at Karnak) was added to the model.

Large wooden flagstaffs have been added to the pylon towers. These would have been topped with colorful cloth banners. The tall poles stood on stone bases, and were arranged within square notches left in the pylon’s exterior masonry. Clamps secured to the pylon itself (not shown on the model) further stabilized their upper portions. The form and size of the flagstaffs were based on representations of these features found at temples and tombs. These show the poles as reaching above the height of the pylon and tapering as they rise (Azim and Traunecker (1982: fig. 4).


Hatshepsut erected the pair of obelisks commissioned by Thutmose II. See the entry Obelisks of Festival Hall, West Pair for information on these features.

Construction materials: red granite

Thutmose III

Thutmose III erected a third pair of obelisks, between those of Thutmose I and Thutmose II. See Obelisks of Festival Hall, Center Pair for information on these features.

Construction materials: rose granite

Amenhotep II

Amenhotep II added a small white alabaster chapel between the obelisks of Thutmose I. See Amenhotep II Shrine for information on this feature.

Construction materials: calcite (“Egyptian alabaster”)

Thutmose IV

Thutmose IV adorned the court with a double peristyle of square pillars and small alabaster shrine.

See Thutmose IV Peristyle Hall for information on these features.

Construction materials: sandstone, calcite (“Egyptian alabaster”)

Destruction: Amenhotep III

Amenhotep III demolished the pylon and the western side of the court in order to construct the third pylon. His new pylon was situated east of the Thutmose II pylon, shrinking the area of the court between the temple’s entrance and the fourth pylon. The western half of the pillared peristyle of Thutmose IV was disassembled. Four pillars from the peristyle were discovered in the northeast corner of this smaller court, suggesting that the eastern peristyle may have remained. The obelisks of Thutmose II were removed and their bases were incorporated into the third pylon. The pillars of the peristyle, Thutmose IV’s shrine, the Amenhotep II shrine, the “white chapel” of Senusret I and the limestone chapel of Amenhotep I were all used as fill in the new pylon.

Modern Site Photos


Gabolde, Luc. (1993),La “cour de fêtes” de Thoutmosis II à Karnak.. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. IX , 1-100.

Golvin, Jean-Claude. (1987),la restauration antique du passage du IIIe pylône. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. VIII , 189-206.

Azim, Michel and Claude Traunecker. (1982),Un mât du IXe Pylône au nome d’Horemheb. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. VII , 75-92.