Karnak the Magnificent

What Luxor, Egypt attraction is the largest place of worship ever built?

It doesn’t take a wizard to proclaim the magnificence of Karnak Temple in Luxor. After the pyramids at Giza, it’s the 2nd most visited site in Egypt. It’s really a temple complex, with multiple temples added and embellished by a long series of pharaohs over the course of 2,000 years. It was known to the ancient Egyptians as The Most Sacred Place and is reputed to be the largest place of worship ever built anywhere.

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Beautiful boxes inlaid with mother of pearl are a popular souvenir from our mystery country, and just one of countless items to be browsed in the streets of Khan el Khalili Bazaar. We recommend visiting with a guide and exploring beyond the touristy areas (where many products are made in China). A guide will help navigate the maze of small streets for a more authentic experience in this historical market and make sure you get what you pay for.

 

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This is the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple. It consists of 134 columns in an area of over 50,000 square feet. Most of the columns are 50 feet tall, but two rows of 6 columns flanking the central aisle are 80 feet tall and 30 feet in circumference. (!)
The hall was built around the 13th century BCE, an addition to the existing temple. Originally, a roof covered the hall, but it is long since open to the sky. (In architectural terms, a hypostyle indicates a space covered by a roof supported by columns.)

 

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 128

A remote valley on the west of the Nile river shelters the burial grounds of ancient kings and courtiers. To elude robbers, tombs were hidden deep in the folds of the desert mountains. Most were looted anyway, leaving only the exquisite wall paintings for posterity. To date, 63 tombs have been discovered in the Valley of the Kings, ranging in size from a single chamber to sprawling networks of passageways with over 100 chambers.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 118

The ceremonial solar boat pictured above is one of several found buried at Giza, near three of the largest and most famous royal tombs ever known. The boat may have been used to carry the body of the deceased king down river to his burial. Or, the boat may have been meant for use in the afterlife, to carry the king across the sky with the sun. The ancient people of our mystery country believed the afterlife mirrored life as they knew it before death. They were buried with items from their lives that would ensure them a comfortable and successful existence in eternity.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 109

A great way to see our mystery country is to cruise its legendary river. Weekly 3 and 4 night cruises travel between Luxor and Aswan in the south of the country. Cruises spend the better part of each day in port to allow passengers to see the sites. These cruises are not destinations in and of themselves but floating hotels moving passengers between the centers of touring along the river. Daily group tours are included in the cruise fare. Tour highlights include some of the most awesome cultural/historical remains anywhere. Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings top that list. Traditional life, little changed through the millennia, continues on the river banks, and is as impressed on my memory as any of the country’s grand monuments.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 100!

The funerary temple of Djoser at Saqqara (Sakkara) pictured here was built nearly 5,000 years ago for one of the earliest kings of our mystery country.The area served as the burial grounds for the national capital at Memphis. Djoser’s nearby tomb was an architectural prototype of the world-famous royal tombs at Giza, some 15 miles to the north.

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