Customer Story: 60 Acres, 3300 Years, Four Religions At Karnak
Allison Carter, an Atlas Travel® Insurance customer, recently fulfilled a long-time desire to visit Egypt. She shared with us this blog post, the sixth in a series, detailing her experience visiting the Temple of Karnak.
The largest religious complex in the world is not a European cathedral or an Indian ashram. It’s the massive, 3,300 year old Temple of Karnak which covers more than 60 acres of land. It was once the state temple of all of Egypt, near to the ancient capital so the pharaoh himself could make his prayers here. It is a potent symbol of power, strength, and faith.
You approach the temple by strolling along an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, depicting the god Amun. This once stretched for nearly two miles from Karnak to nearby Luxor Temple. It is hard to imagine how splendid it once was, since the damaged and battered sphinxes still make an impressive sight.
Once inside the temple gates, you are confronted with the immense size of the temple. Everywhere you turn there are soaring obelisks, hundreds of flowery columns, and giant statues in various states of gentle decay.
We later made our way to the other end of the former avenue of sphinxes, to Luxor temple. Unlike Karnak, Luxor was only ever a small, regional temple. What makes it amazing is its religious heritage. Over the past 3,000 years, synagogues, churches, and mosques have all made their home over the remains of the temple. One wall of the temple is still covered in plaster saints, and a mosque sits perched right in the middle of the temple. It’s a vivid reminder that Egypt is not dead: it is a changing, vibrant home to millions of people, not just ancient pharaohs.
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