Great Hypostyle Hall

Great hypostyle hall was begun by Seti I, and completed by Ramesses II. The hall covers an area of 50,000 sq ft (5,000 sq meters) and filled with 134 gigantic stone columns with 12 larger columns standing 80 feet (24 m) high lining the central aisle.

circa 1260 BCE

The Second Pylon forms the huge “front door”of the Hypostyle Hall (illustration). During the first millennium BCE, disaster struck when part of the roof of the Second Pylon gateway collapsed. It was constructed but only partly inscribed when Horemheb died, (ca. 1304 BCE). His successor Ramesses I, who founded the 19th Dynasty, then completed the decoration of the Pylon during his brief reign. Ramesses I also built two small shrines which abutted the east face of the pylon on either side of the central passageway.

circa 1260 BCE

The main east-west axis of the Hypostyle Hall is dominated by a double row of 12 giant columns. These twelve great columns in its central nave surpass 20 meters (70 ft.) in height and are capped by huge open papyrus blossom capitals. The structural purpose of the twelve great columns was to support the higher roof of the clerestory in the central nave (illustration). The diameters of the giant bell-shaped capitals are 5.4 meters (18 ft), wide enough to support 100 men. Every inch of these columns has been inscribed by Ramesses II. Ramesses II also decorated each of the twelve columns with two scenes depicting him offering to the gods.

circa 1260 BCE

The 122 columns which comprise the bulk of this vast stone forest 12 meters (40 ft) high. They are only "small" in comparison to the 12 great columns in the nave. The smaller columns have closed-bud papyrus capitals imitating stalks which have not bloomed. As originally envisaged by its builders, the decorative scheme for these columns was much less elaborate than it later became. The scenes on these columns represent typical episodes from the daily cult rituals that took place in the temple sanctuary. In every case the pharaoh acts as chief priest adoring various gods.

circa 1386 BCE

Remains of the third pylon, though much ruined, in antiquity it was quite splendid and parts of it were even plated in gold by pharaoh Amenhotep III. In building the Third Pylon, Amenhotep dismantled a number of older monuments, including a small gateway he himself built earlier in the reign. The Pylon is most famous for the several hundred blocks from earlier buildings (White Chapel of Senwosret I and Red Chapel of Hatshepsut), discovered inside during the early 1900s restorations.

circa 1386 BCE

The southern exterior wall with the entrance (inspect) to the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. The outer walls depict scenes of battle, Seti I on the north and Ramesses II on the south. Adjoining the southern wall of Ramesses II is another wall that contains the text of the peace treaty he signed with the Hittites. Although these reliefs had religious and ideological functions, they are important records of the wars of these kings.

circa 1260 BCE

The northern exterior wall of the Karnak Hypostyle Hall is filled with a panorama of war scenes celebrating the military achievements of Seti I. The war scenes are our main source for Egypt's foreign relations during Seti's reign. The scenes are laid out in a symmetrical form on either side of the north gateway. The eastern half of the north wall is dedicated to Seti I's campaign in his first year as king. The hieroglyphic texts also record speeches by the god praising the king for his actions and gifts.

References

Points of Interest

Pylons

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

Temples

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

Obelisks

Obelisk of Hatshepsut · Unique Obelisk ·

Halls

Hypostyle Hall · Wadjet Hall ·

Other(s)

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 ·

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