Ramesses II Eastern Temple

Related Features

Originally built by Ramesses II – 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE

Modified by Taharqo – 690 BCE to 664 BCE

Other works initiated by Ramesses II:

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

Other works initiated by Taharqo:

Taharqo Kiosk, Taharqo Edifice and Nilometer, Ramesses II Eastern Temple, Khonsu Temple, Western Processional Way


The Ramesses II temple is located at the far eastern side of the present day Amun temple complex. Built around the Unique Obelisk, the temple consists of a gateway and pillared hall with a central false door. Two side doors led to the obelisk. In front of the temple is a later addition of a porch, which has now fallen.
Measurements: The temple itself measures 32m at its widest by 25.5m long; the columns of the Taharqo entrance porch stand 9.5m high and have a diameter of about 1m.

Phases of Construction

Ramesses II

Ramesses II built a small temple called “Amun-Ra, Ramesses II, who-hears-prayers,” just east of the unique obelisk. The presence of reused column drums of Thutmose III in the temple suggests that he rebuilt a Thutmoside shrine on the same area. The temple at this time consisted of a small mud brick gateway leading into a pillared hall. The rear of the hall had two doorways and a central false door. The doorways led out into a covered portico at the base of the unique obelisk.

The small temple may have functioned similarly to the Contra Temple of Thutmose III in that average Egyptians could enter the temple complex here and pray to Amun-Ra.

Construction materials: sandstone, mud brick

About the reconstruction model of Ramesses II

The reconstruction of the temple in this phase is based on the published plan of the by Carlotti’s (2001: pl. 1).

A simple sandstone pattern was placed on the model. The size of each stone block was based on photographs of the area today.


Taharqo appended a columned porch to the mud brick gateway of the temple. This was composed of four rows of five open papyrus columns, with each row connected by low screen walls. It is unclear whether the columns once supported a light roof. A decorative paving lined the porch: black and red granite stones in its central nave and limestone along its side aisles. This porch was similar to the one Taharqo added to the temple of Khonsu, south of the main Amun-Ra temple.

Construction materials: sandstone

About the reconstruction model of Taharqo

The additions of Taharqo were based on plan of the temple by Carlotti (2001: pl. 1); the 3-D reconstruction models of the temple in Mateos (2007); and photographs of the columns that still stand at the site.

The columns were given a simple sandstone pattern. The decorative paving stones that lined the porch were not included on the model.

Ptolemy VIII

Ptolemy VIII appears to have enclosed the covered portico of Ramesses II and included the base of the single obelisk in the shrine. He punched through the false door in the central rear wall of the court and created a third, central doorway into the new area.

Construction materials: sandstone

About the reconstruction model of Ptolemy VIII

The additions to the temple under the Ptolemies were based on the description of the modifications by Barguet (1962: 228-240). The reconstruction of the shrine around the base of the obelisk was based on the 3-D model of the temple by Mateos (2007) and the wooden model of the temple by CFEETK artist Rashid Migalaa.

The new walls of the building were given a simple sandstone pattern. The width of the new southern doorway was based on the published plan of the site by Carlotti (2001: pl. 1), but the height of this door was purely conjecture.


Gallet, Laetitia. Goyon, Jean Claude (2007),Le temple d’Amon-qui-écoute-les-priéres à Karnak : Œuvre de Ramsès II ou d’un prédécesseur?. Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Egyptologists = Actes du Neuvième Congrès international des égyptologues, Grenoble 6-12 September 2004. Leuven: Peeters, 150, 271-282.

Laskowski, Piotr. Cline, Eric (2006),Monumental architecture and the royal building program of Thutmose III. Thutmose III : a new biography. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 183 – 237.

Carlotti, Jean-François. (2001),L’Akh-menou de Thoutmosis III à Karnak : etude architecturale. Paris: Recherche sur les civilisations

Mateos, Marc. (2007),Karnak 3D. http://www.karnak3d.net/.

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..

Schwaller de Lubicz, R. A.. (1999),The temples of Karnak. London: Thames & Hudson

Nims, Charles. (1971),The Eastern Temple at Karnak. Beiträge zur ägyptischen Bauforschung und Altertumskunde. Wiesbaden: Steiner in Kommvol. 12 , 107-111.

Leclant, Jean. (1953),La colonnade Éthiopienne à l’est de la grande enceinte d’Amon à Karnak. Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale. vol. 53 , 115-172.

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