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Temple of Amun-Re, Karnak

The Temple of Amon-Re in Karnak is the largest temple in the world and is actually made up of a group of temples devoted to different deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The temple complex was built up over the course of millennia, under the belief that a temple that wasn’t worked on, died.

As a result, the imprints of many pharaohs who commissioned works for the temple can be seen. For example, the avenue of sphinxes which was built by Nektanebo I in the 30th dynasty and the Triad of Thebes built by Seti II. In this way, the Temple of Amon-Re becomes something of an architectural record as different styles of different dynasties can be seen in one complex; while at the same time see very distinct similarities such as the building materials and the massive statues of pharaohs and gods.

There are also many pillars and obelisks, sometimes covering each other up, such as the wall that King Thuthmoses III built to hide Queen Hatshepsut’s obelisks which may well have come about as a rivalry between the two.

There is also an artificial lake called Sacred Lake where it was believed that the Gods rowed and where Egypt’s largest scarab is. Scarabs were believed to be sacred because they carried the sun through the sky.

The temple was not only a place of worship, but also a massive historical record of the different things that different pharaohs did, such as conquering cities and the taking of prisoners in victory. For example, the exploits of Pharaoh Thutmose III who took hundreds of princes of other cities prisoner in one sweep and thus took over their lands can be seen on one of the walls. By studying the temple, we can learn about the architecture, religion, and wars of the Egyptians.


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