First Pylon of Karnak Temple

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The first pylon (الصرح الاول) is the last to be built at Karnak and is the main entrance into the temple today. It was never completed and is undecorated; even the remains of the mud brick ramps, used to build it, can still be seen inside the great court.


The first pylon, the facade of the Amun-Re precinct with avenue of the sphinxes leading up to the entrance. Construction of the current pylon began in 30th dynasty, but was never totally completed. There are large numbers of mud bricks piled up against the inside of the 113m wide and 15m thick pylon. It was never completed and is undecorated; even the remains of the mud brick ramps, used to build, can still be seen inside the great court behind the north tower.


circa 360 BCE

It was built by Nectanebo I (380-362 BCE) who also built the huge enclosure wall surrounding Karnak and some scholars believe that an earlier pylon may have stood on this same spot. Originally a monumental central gate would have fronted the western court, later destroyed by Nectanebo I’s construction of the huge first pylon. The central stone gate (left unfinished) probably was reused in Nectanebo’s later construction.

circa 360 BCE

North Tower
The north tower (right) is about 71 feet (21.70m), and the south tower (left) 103 feet (31.65m). If the structure had been completed it would probably reached a height of between 124 feet (38m) to 131 feet (40m). The barque Shrine of Seti II is located along inner side of the northern tower.


Points of Interest


First Pylon · Second Pylon · Third Pylon · Fourth Pylon · Fifth Pylon · Sixth Pylon · Seventh Pylon · Eighth Pylon · Ninth Pylon · Tenth Pylon

Boat/Barque Shrines

Barque Shrine of Seti II · Barque Shrine of Hatshepsut · Central Barque Shrine · Calcite Shrine · Thutmose III Shrine


Temple of Rameses III · Akhmenu Temple · Temple of Ptah · Contra Temple · Opet Temple · Khonsu Temple ·


Obelisk of Hatshepsut · Unique Obelisk ·


Hypostyle Hall · Wadjet Hall ·


Karnak Open Air Museum · Bab el Amara Gate (Gate of Nectanebo) · Bubastis Portal · Kiosk of Taharqo · Taharqo Edifice · Avenue of Sphinxes (Processional Ways) · Taharqa Nilometer · Court of Shoshenq I · Shabaka House of Gold · White Chapel of Senusret I ·