After a good night rest in my five star hotel room, I headed to the Temple of Karnak, the largest temple I had visited. It was so large that I couldn’t count the number of columns, statues, and hieroglyphics that I saw. The best thing about a large tourist attraction is that you can always find an area to be alone or surrounded by people, depending on what you want. Just inside the main entrance I decided to hang-out by a large tour group to get some basic knowledge of the ruins (nothing like a free tour). After my tour guide’s summary of the temple, I headed off to make some discoveries of my own.
I entered a corridor to the right which was filled with pillars and statues. They were all covered in carved hieroglyphics, even the ceilings. By the time I finished looking around, my tour guide and his noisy throng had entered the corridor. I saw another tour group entering through the main entrance, so I made a mad dash to the Hypostyle Hall before any tour groups flooded that area too. The Hippostyle Hall is incredible. There are over 100 giant columns standing about 33 feet high (the height is according to Wikepedia, so I make no promise of the accuracy of the information, but I am accurate in stating that they were really tall). The better preserved columns had colored hieroglyphics running up the entire length of the column. I felt like an ant as I looked up at these towering structures. Fortunately for me, the Egyptians were good engineers because if one of those pillars had fallen, I would have been squashed like an ant.
Column after column, statue after statue, room after room, the temple seemed never-ending. The intense heat added to the feeling that I would never be able to see all of the temple. my aching feet and sweat covered body told me it was time to take a break from viewing the endless temple. Off to the right, not attached to the main temple, I saw a small temple. The small temple was deserted, so I followed a set of stairs up to an area that overlooked the main complex. It was the perfect place to take a break. I was in the shade with a great view of the enormous ruins. As I sat in the quiet, empty temple, I was grateful that I was not stuck in a crowd listening to some tour guide ramble on in the intense heat.
I walked around the entire exterior of the temple and enjoyed sites that no one else even cared to discover. One of the coolest things I found was a side entry way to the temple. The inside of the 50 foot entryway was covered in painted carvings. As I re-entered the main temple, I passed through a gigantic Pylon (a massive gateway), which had a carving of two men fighting. I believe it symbolized a great victory of Ramses ll, but I’m no archiologist.
Towards the back of the main temple there was a sacred lake. The murky water didn’t look so sacred, but because of the heat I was tempted to jump in. If it wasn’t for the fear of contracting every disease known, and unknown, to man for the past few thousands of years, I probably would have jumped in. After an entire morning at the Temple of Karnak, it was time for a break. I went to my sacred lake at the palace Steigenberger and had a poolside meal fit for a pharaoh. What an awesome day! Amazing ruins, great food, and a cold pool.