In antiquity, Karnak was the largest religious sanctuary in Egypt"s imperial funding of Thebes (modern Luxor) and was home to the god Amun-Re, king that the Egyptian pantheon. For over 2000 years, succeeding pharaohs rebuilt and also expanded the temples of Karnak, making the the largest facility of religious monuments native the ancient world.
View the the main axis that the Hypostyle Hall with its twelve huge columns (left), and also the smaller sized columns (right).
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At the heart of Karnak, the Nineteenth empire pharaoh Sety i (reigned ca. 1291-1279 BCE) set up his an excellent Hypostyle Hall, a colossal woodland of 134 giant sandstone columns sustaining a high clerestory roof and also enclosed by huge walls that after 3300 years stay substantially undamaged today. The great Hall is vast. It covers one acre the land, and its great columns soar to heights of 20 meters. Not just does the scale and also completeness that this monument stay a rarity among ancient Egyptian temples, however it is likewise the largest and also most elaborately decorated of every such buildings in Egypt. Visitors frequently remark top top the bewildering variety of inscriptions covering every surface: the walls, columns, and even the roof! The patchwork of imaginative styles and also different royal names checked out in these inscriptions and also relief sculptures reflect the various stages in ~ which they were sculpted over the centuries. Succeeding pharaohs, roman inn emperors, high priests and also common Egyptians included to its riches of inscriptions and also relief decoration, made architecture alterations and also restorations, and also even left pious graffiti on its walls.
|Sety I offering two flower bouquets. Relief from the north interior wall of the Hypostyle Hall.|
Sety I’s craftsmen embellished the walls and columns in the north fifty percent of the structure with exquisite bas relief sculptures of the greatest quality before the king’s death. Sety’s successor, the celebrated Pharaoh Ramesses II (reigned ca. 1279-1213 BCE), commanded his artisans to carve the walls and also columns in its southern wing mostly in sunk relief in various phases over the food of his lengthy reign.
|Ramesses II offering incense.|
Later rulers favor Pharaoh Ramesses IV (ruled ca. 1151-1145 BCE) and also the High monk of Amun Herihor (ruled ca. 1080-1072 BCE), search to combine themselves through the Hall and also its illustrious builders, inserted additional decoration into spaces previously left blank or also superimposed over previously inscriptions ~ above the columns. Thereafter, the good Hypostyle Hall stayed in usage for seventeen centuries, under to the finish of paganism in Egypt throughout the 4th century of our era.
|Ramesses IV giving lettuce come Amun-Re.|
Constituting a significant encyclopedia the Egyptian civilization, the good Hypostyle Hall"s reliefs and also inscriptions attest to the richness and also vitality of Egyptian civilization at the elevation of its imperial power during the last two centuries the the Egyptian new Kingdom (ca. 1300-1100 BCE). They paper Egyptian spiritual beliefs, culture, political history, and foreign relations.
|Relief showing Sety i attacking the Syrian town of Kadesh. Relief native the phibìc exterior wall surface of the Hypostyle Hall.|
|The Egyptian and Hittite Empires throughout the reigns that Sety I and also Ramesses II|
As Sety I and Ramesses II were constructing and inscribing the an excellent Hypostyle Hall, Egypt and also the Hittite Empire—the two armed forces superpowers of the 13th Century BCE—were locked in a bitter, 7 decades-long battle for manage of ancient Syria. Both kings left panoramic war scenes on the exterior walls of the Hypostyle Hall the commemorate the last stages the this conflict. Hostilities finished in the 21st year of Ramesses II’s reign (ca. 1258 BCE) when he finish the earliest known international peace contract in human background with the Hittite Empire. Ramesses significant the event with a hieroglyphic copy that his treaty sculpted in rock on a wall surface just beyond the southerly gate that the Hypostyle Hall.
Karnak has long been just one of the major sites for the millions of tourists who visit southerly Egypt. Thousands pass with the good Hypostyle Hall and the remainder of Karnak top top a day-to-day basis, taking countless photos the its wonders. Yet also after two centuries of historical excavation and scientific study by Egyptian, French, and American Egyptologists, many of the Karnak facility remains scientifically undocumented today. As among our Egyptian partner puts it, Karnak is an archaeological ocean, and also we have barely dipped listed below its surface.
|The Hittite tranquility Treaty stela of Ramesses II.|
This unfathomed sea that antiquities is many profound in the good Hypostyle Hall, a majestic framework that overwhelms the viewer through a huge array of wall surface carvings and also hieroglyphic inscriptions and also whose slim scale and also complexity has actually largely defied scholarly efforts to record and also study it. While this priceless trove the irreplaceable inscriptions has actually much come teach us around Ancient Egypt, Egyptologists have only ever before scientifically tape-recorded a portion of them, your true definition being no well-understood nor fully appreciated.
Alarmingly, a combination of environmental and also human-made factors have resulted in this vast repository of engravings to decay and even threatens to destroy the building altogether. Inscriptions and relief carvings have long suffered from infiltration of ground water, as mineral salt in the rock draw moisture upwards through capillary action, and this, in turn, pressures the salts to crystallize on or beneath the surface, destroying the relief.
The Karnak an excellent Hypostyle room Project
|The Karnak Hypostyle Hall job team during our 2011 field season|
The Karnak great Hypostyle Hall job is a joint venture of the university of naipublishers.com, in naipublishers.com, Tennessee (U.S.A.), and also the Université de Québec à Montréal (Canada). We occupational in collaboration with Egypt’s supreme Council of Antiquities and also the centre Franco-égyptien d’études des holy places de Karnak (France).our project has three carefully related aims: To make a finish scientific record of all the hieroglyphic texts and also relief carvings from the Hypostyle Hall. To do these inscriptions widely easily accessible to scientists and the world- wide public through classic publications and via digital technologies choose the internet. To conduct scholarly research and evaluation of the Hypostyle room to better understand those elements of Egyptian human being reflected in the inscriptions, including its history, religion, politics, society, and also culture.
|Ramesses II offering fabric to Amun-Re Kamutef. Epigraphic drawing. |
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For much more information around our work, visit the links for our Project and our field Reports.