Oxford, England and Egypt Cruise travel blog

What Karnak Temple looked thousands of years ago

The row of sphinx had ram's heads instead of lions

Looking down the main road at Karnak

Columns in Karnak

ruins of pyramid wall in background at Karnak

One of the courtyards in Karnak

The front of Luxor temple - built in 1400 BC

Luxor temple courtyard

This road connected Luxor temple with Karnak. See the rows of sphinx...

Serious card game!!

What a perfect day to marvel at the sights we saw this morning. It is almost too much to absorb and realize how old these buildings are and how the carvings, paintings and statues are still standing!! Our visits this morning were on the East Bank of the Nile in Luxor where the landscape is green and lush because of the irrigation methods used.

Our first stop was the Temple of Karnak Temple Complex which comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. Construction at the complex began around 3,000

BC and the key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features are overwhelming. The deities represented range from some of the earliest worshiped to those worshiped much later in the history of the Ancient Egyptian culture. Although destroyed, it also contained an early temple built by Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), the pharaoh who later would celebrate a near monotheistic religion he established that prompted him to move his court and religious center away from Thebes. It also contains evidence of adaptations, where the buildings of the Ancient Egyptians were used by later cultures for their own religious purposes.

The second stop was smaller but the detail of the restorations made it come to life. Built in 1400 BC, Luxor Temple in ancient times was connected to the Karnak temple by a wide street with sphinx statues on both sides. At one point in history, it was also used as a Christian church.

A lazy afternoon on the sun deck enjoying the warm sunny weather and people watching. There were also several hot card games.

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