The Karnak Temple Complex is a vast open site and includes the Karnak Open Air Museum. It is believed to be the second most visited historical site during Egypt Travel Packages and Egypt Day Tours; only the Giza Pyramids in Cairo receive more visitors. It consists of four main parts, of which only the largest is currently open to the general public. The term Karnak often is understood as being the Precinct of Amun-Ra only, because this is the only part most visitors see.
The three other parts, the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Montu, and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, are closed to the public. There also are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and the Luxor Temple.
When visiting Karnak, you are paying a visit to the heart of Egypt during the New Kingdom. This huge temple complex was the center of the ancient faith while power was concentrated at Thebes (modern day Luxor) and its significance is reflected in its enormous size. In addition to its religious significance, it also served as a treasury, administrative center, and palace for the New Kingdom pharaohs.largest temple complex ever constructed anywhere in the world.
It developed over a period of 1500 years, added to by generation after generation of pharaohs and resulting in a collection of temples, sanctuaries, pylons, and other decorations that is unparalleled throughout Egypt.
While the height of its importance was during the New Kingdom and famous pharaohs such as Hatshepsut,Tuthmose III, Seti I and Ramesses II all contributed significant additions to the complex, construction continued into the Greco-Roman Period with the Ptolomies, Romans, and early Christians all leaving their mark here.
Karnak is divided into three compounds: the precinct of Amun, the precinct of Mut, and the precinct of Montu; however, for most visitors the largest of these, the precinct of Amun, is enough. Its complicated layout alone dwarfs every other site that you will visit in Egypt.
The precinct of Amun contains all of the most famous sections of the Karnak complex, including the dizzying Great Hypostyle Hall. This hall of 134 massive columns is one of the most impressive places in all of Egypt. Going into detailed description of the different elements that make up the complex is a near endless task that we will leave to a tour guide.
Instead, we will simply suggest that you allot plenty of time to explore this huge complex and admire the many impressive sights within it. Imagine how aweinspiring it must have been over 2000 thousand years ago when these huge structures were newly constructed.
Organized every night like all of the major sights in Egypt, is the sound and light show in Karnak has is offered in several different languages. The show takes place 3 times a night, but you should consult your tour guide or your hotel about the languages of the various showings.