Karnak Sacred Lake

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Karnak Temple Sacred Lake is the largest of its kind and was dug by Tuthmosis III (1473-1458 BCE). The lake was used by the priests for ritual washing and ritual navigation. It was also home to the sacred geese of Amun (the goose being another symbol of Amun) and was a symbol of the primeval waters from which life arose in the ancient Egyptian’s idea of creation.


It measures 393 feet (120 meters) by 252 feet (77 meters) and is lined with stone wall and has stairways descending into the water. It was surrounded by storerooms and living quarters for the priests. There was also an aviary for aquatic birds. It is lined with stone and provided with stairways descending into the water. It was symbolically important in the ancient Egyptian's concept of creation, representing the primeval waters from which life arose.

Notable Archaeological Remains

circa 1450 BCE

Priestly Homes
On the sacred lake is also the remains of the priests' homes, these ruins are located on the eastern side of the lake, and have been the subject of excavations since the 1970s.

circa 1450 BCE

Granite Scarab of Amenhotep III
At the northern corner of the lake between it and the Osirian Temple of Taharqa was located a huge granite statue of a scarab dedicated by Amenhotep III and, according to A. Varille, brought from his West Bank mortuary temple. However, others believe that it actually came from Kom el-Heitan, where another funerary temple of Amenhotep III was built. The front face of the cylindrical pedestal on which the scarab rests has been flattened to form a stela, and is carved entirely in sunk relief.


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