Que Roger Moore as Bond…James Bond. Karnak is Luxor’s most famous ancient site due to its popularity in modern day pop culture, and films such as ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’, and several PC games. The complex of Karnak is an incredibly constructed compound with a look of decaying ancient mysticism, and it is an obvious choice for film locations. Even if you are not familiar with the films or PC games, a visit to this ancient temple will be an amazing one.
Ancient Thebes, now modern day Luxor, with its Necropolis was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The remaining temples in this ancient city by the Nile River, which are still standing and are popular visitor attractions are- Karnak, Luxor Temple, Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple and the necropolises of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
The site of Karnak is just not one temple, it is a complex of different temples, chapels, phylons, and various other buildings. The word Karnak derives from the Arabic “Khurnak“, which means- fortified village.
There are twenty-nine out of the original thirty-three ram statues that line the enterance of Karnak. Four of them had been moved to Cairo’s Tahir Square, and over the decades the remaining had fallen into disrepair. It has only been recently that Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani and Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary-General Mostafa Waziri had began the biggest renovation project to save the twenty-nine ram statues at Karnak.
The Great Hypostyle Hall
The Great Hypostyle Hall, which was built circa 1290–1224 BC – during the 19th Egyptian Dynasty, is one of Egypt’s most visited monuments. Wandering through this massive hall of gigantic columns was an impressive site for me. Personally, it made me feel very tiny in the grand scheme of things.
We were told that this room in Karnak held very special energy, and many spiritual people come here to meditate. I thought it was amusing that my friends walked back to this room thinking that they could find me after I walked in a different direction. Since I am a holistic healer, they figured that I would be in meditation somewhere in this room!
The Sacred Lake of Karnak was dug by Tuthmosis III (1473-1458 BC,) and is the biggest of its kind. The pool is lined with walls of stone, and has stairs that descend into the man made lake. This pool of water was once used by ancient priest for ritual navigation and ritual washings. It was also home of Amun, the sacred goose that was a symbol for the waters which life was created from, and was part of ancient Egypt’s idea of creation.
Open Air Museum
Karnak is an open-air museum that is filled with many ancient statues, obelisks, relief work, and crumbling walls. The complex is divided into four main parts, but only one is visible for public exploration. Karnak is an enormous place that should be toured with a professional Egyptologist guide, who will educate you on the full “fortified village”.
Enjoy and happy wandering!
Getting to Luxor
Depending on how much time you have or your traveling style, there are may options for travel into Luxor. For my friends and I, we arrived by a cruise boat along the Nile River from Aswan, which I highly recommend. The city of Luxor is over 400 miles from Cairo and the quickest way to get there is by plane. The flight is just one hour and is very convenient. There is also a long overnight train and many big bus tours that leave from Cairo.
More than likely if you are visiting Aswan or Luxor for the temples, you will be hiring a private guide to take you there. It is very important that you hire an official guide in Egypt to take you to the sites, and just not someone on the sidewalk asking you if you want to take a city tour.
On our trip to Aswan and Luxor, plus our cruise along the Nile River, we chose Egypt Gift Tours who I highly recommend. They had professionally coordinated us on private tours for all of our trips from Aswan to Luxor.
For Egypt tour and cruise information, please contact Egypt Gift Tours
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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