Karnak Temple

It’s the “largest temple in the world” according to locals. I’ve yet to confirm that, but the vastness of Karnak Temple was certainly overwhelming in the midday, (still) 105-degree heat.

A few minutes’ drive north of Luxor is El-Karnak, a true open-air museum (many cities in Egypt are called this, but Karnak boasts the largest number of sites – as some of my students are studying to tell tourists). Karnak Temple is actually a temple complex housing multiple chapels, pylons, obelisks, assorted temples, sphinx (and ram) avenues and royal chambers. It was worn in during the 18th Dynasty.

Belal is easily the most energetic of my students. He invited me to visit the temple with him, eager to show me something that would reflect well on his hometown.

I will admit it was nice to be surrounded by Westerners for a change, but I also appreciated escaping them when a few bored tour guides took me and Belal to a restricted portion of the ruins. We slipped past a couple of “no entry” signs and explored an archaeological site where French Egyptologists will return in winter to continue reviving the hieroglyphics and overall reconstruction of a specific temple (no one knew the name).

sneaking around inside a restricted portion of Karnak Temple with Belal (not pictured) and a few adventitious tour guides (one of which is pictured)
Sneaking around inside a restricted portion of Karnak Temple with Belal (not pictured) and a few adventitious tour guides (one of whom is pictured)

The excitement of that unsanctioned tour gave me new life in the (really, truly miserable) heat. It was an unexpected adventure.

 

today's big success: people offered, and I finally got, a couple more photos of Alison in Egypt
also today: people offered, and I finally got a couple photos of Alison in Egypt
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