Temple of Karnak

When ancient Egyptian authors talk about “The Temple”, they are most likely making a reference to the Temple at Karnak, which is the largest temple complex in the world. This temple complex, dedicated to “Amen” (the head creator god) was built over the span of 2,ooo years by multiple Pharaohs and covers 102 acres (not including the large garden areas). That’s 26 times the size of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It has 6 gigantic gates, each one built by a different Pharoah. The last gate was built by Pharaoh Niku, the ruler who killed King Josiah in a battle against Israel. In front of the temple is a long “Ram Avenue” built by Ramses II which stretches all the way to the Luxor Temple complex, about a mile and a half away. Inside the temple are 134 gigantic columns, many of which are well over 60 feet tall (the number of columns in a temple represents the number of priests serving in it). Also inside the Temple are (or were) 6 giant obelisks (think Washington Monument), each carved from one huge piece of granite. This place is impressive now, and I can only imagine how much more so it would have been 2500 years ago.

One of the coolest parts about the Temple, for me at least, was the fact that some of the carvings in the stones help us to set a biblical timeline, especially for the Old Testament era. The Pharaoh Shishank, who marched on Jerusalem, made a list of all the peoples and regions which he defeated or brought under his rule. This was during the reign of Rehaboam. In the Temple of Karnak we find inscriptions of both “Hebrews” and “Galilee”. It was really awesome to see those inscriptions which were thousands of years old.

This Temple also has on its complex an “Absolution Lake”, which is basically a large artificial pond used for ceremonial cleansing. There was also a large scarab statue which people walk around a certain number of times for wealth, fertility, etc. I thought it was a bit silly, but we walked around it anyway (for wealth, not fertility).