Photographer's Note

It is difficult for one to think of Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), much less the section known as the Temple of Amun, without picturing the Great Hypostyle Hall. This is the large area just behind the second pylon in the Temple of Amun, which is a veritable forest in stone, and measures some 99.4 by 51.82 meters.. At one point, it was called "The Temple of Seti Merneptah is Lumininous in the House of Amun" and was described by the ancient Egyptians as "the resting place of the Lord of gods, beautiful sojourn of the Ennead" and "the beautiful sojourn of the Ennead, where Amun rests, the place of appearance of the Lord of the gods at his annual feast". It was also designated as the "Hall of the two crowns", which perhaps points to the ceremony of the coronation being performed in it, a ritual which is depicted upon its walls. It has been described as one of the most monumental achievements in Egyptian architecture and is the largest known example of a typical hypostyle hall.
The 134 colossal papyrus columns surge into the sky in an impressive array of ancient workmanship. The center 12 columns are larger, standing some 21 meters tall, with open capitals, while the remaining 122 columns outside of these stand 15 meters high and have closed capitals. It is difficult to actually understand their size. Consider for example, that a crowd of fifty people could easily stand atop the capital of the largest of the mammoth structures.
The 12 larger columns were perhaps raised by Amenhotep III, but at the latest, by Horemheb. The other columns surrounding these are a later addition.
Originally the abacuses above the capitals, supporting stone architraves supported a massive roof, with only small clerestroy windows, of which a few survive. Purposefully, this would have provided only muted illumination for the primeval papyrus swamp which the hall represented. The taller columns represent papyrus plants that are further developed in their growth, owing to their being nearer to the daylight, while the smaller once are less developed due to their lack of access to the light. Amidst the columns stood literally throngs of statues depicting gods and kings, a few of which have been restored to this location in recent times.
This hall was begun by Amenhotep III, though not until Seti I were the decorations initiated. They were completed by his son, the great Ramesses II. The latter's work can be differentiated from the earlier decorations by their more hurried and less subtle sunk reliefs. The theme of these decorations include celebrated military exploits of Seti I and Ramesses II in Syria and Palestine, including the Battle of Kadesh (See also the Egyptian Account of the Battle of Kadesh), on their exterior, while inside are depictions of rituals including processional scenes and mythical topics such as the king interacting with various gods. This hall is terminated by the Temple of Amun's Third Pylon.
Excavations have revealed a foundation wall under the first row of lower columns to either side of the central nave in the Hypostyle Hall. This has lead archaeologists to believe that a foundation wall once enclosed the central alley of columns, before the hall was enlarged. Prior to this enlargement, this would have been a colonnade forming the approach between second and third pylons.
The Exterior Walls
The exterior walls (consisting of the North and South walls, not the outer pylon walls) of the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amun at Karnak mostly portray the military actions of Ramesses II (the south wall) and of his father, Seti I (the north wall), and in this respect, historically, are some of the most important areas of this famous region at Karnak. In particular, the southern exterior wall portrays the famous B

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Additional Photos by Stefano Gregoris (erminioganzi) Silver Note Writer [C: 0 W: 0 N: 12] (92)
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