Let me begin this account with my plans for this Easter. Yes, I am already counting down to Easter, and I am going to spend this one in Egypt, I can’t wait to stroll those Egyptian neighbourhoods mentioned in the Bible. I understand there are some security worries about Egypt some years back, but essentially peace has now returned to the country, at least my friends who visited recently have verified this fact.

Anyway, my tour guide/friend knows Egypt like the back of his palm, so I am definitely in good hands. If you intend to visit Egypt too, you can join me or make your own reservation below.

It’s going to be my second trip to Egypt in two years. On my last trip, I visited Thebes—I prefer the name Thebes to Luxor though the former is merely a part of the later. As a historian and writer, Thebes, was for me, a journey back in time. I loved the place!

The picturesque and incredible monuments at the site speak of man’s infinite capabilities and—unfortunately though, unabashed craving for immortality. The temples, monument and valleys justify Luxor’s appellation as the home of the world’s largest open-air museum.

From the moment I joined the train at Cairo, the pictures of Karnak Temple kept playing in my mind. “Can we go to Karnak”? I asked as we left the train. “That’s exactly where we are going,” my guide replied with a smile. 

luxor_station1

The Karnak is a legendary complex, it must have been the biggest religious complex in the world at a time. Its nearly one mile by half a mile (1.5 kilometres by 800 metres) space will conveniently accommodate about ten cathedrals.

Equally massive are the monuments there at Karnak. Take the Hatshepsut’s obelisk towers for instance; it stands 90 feet (27.5 meters) tall – something quite unusual considering the era it was built. The other massive assemblage of structures, columns, and statuary are simply awe-inspiring. They all testify to the belief system of the days of their construction.

Obelisk of Hatshepsut at Karnak

Karnak is built into a series of gates and public spaces. The path leading to the first gate of the temple is flanked on either side by a series of Rams-Headed Sphinxes, with their chins resting on an image of Ramses II which is held between their paws.

The entrance is huge – I used the word “huge” as a euphemism for “oversized”. The cheer size itself suggests that the builders intended that visitors should have a strong feeling of fear or/and respect when they arrive. How that feeling still grips guests till date is something that continues to marvel me.

Hypostyle hall of Amenhotep III (Hall of Appearance) | By Jorge Láscar

The most recognizable monument in Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall. It covers about 5,000sq meters and is filled with 134 gigantic stone columns with 12 larger columns standing 80 feet (24 m) high lining the central aisle. These massive columns dwarfed me while I walked through them despite my 6.1 ft. height. I am sure even people who are taller than myself would feel the same way too.

The hall itself is a different world entirely. Though a remnant of a glorious past, the little paintings left inside the hall suggests how well decorated the site must have been when the Pharaohs used it.

Rams-Headed Sphinxes flanking western entrance to Karnak

My guide told me that the massive assemblage of structures, columns, and statuary were tributes to four different gods. He said it was believed that god in fact lived there.

“The ancient Egyptians must have believed that god was incredibly big and needed massive space and effigies,” I thought, as we exited the site to explore other sites in Eygpt.

 

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Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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