Karnak Temple Tours

Visit the Karnak Temple Complex

Today's Luxor, located on the Nile in Upper Egypt, flourished on the site of ancient Thebes, one of the most important cities in the country's history. Historians estimate that it was the largest city in the world twice in its history - the first time around 1980 BC, when it overtook the city of Ur, the capital of ancient Mesopotamia, and again around 1400 BC. when it overtook Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt.

Almost in the very center of the city, on the banks of the Nile, is the Luxor Temple, often also called the Temple of the Birth of Amon. As important as Luxor Temple is, the most important monument of Luxor is the Karnak temple complex (both monuments are connected by a 3 km long Avenue of Sphinxes), where there are temples dedicated to Theban gods. The largest and most important of them is the one dedicated to the god, Amon.

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A Karnak temple visit is, of course, a must-see on the list of every tourist visiting Egypt. Inside Egypt organizes a Karnak temple tour as part of our Nile cruise. With an experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate guide, our guests visit the Karnak open air museum. Inside Egypt purchases the Karnak temple tickets in advance for the convenience of its customers. This allows you to skip the queues and save time when visiting the Karnak temple complex. The Karnak tours lasts about 2h 30min, because the Karnak temple complex occupies a huge area with temple complexes erected by several Egyptian rulers. Our Karnak tours in Egypt are the most convenient and easy way to visit this famous site in Upper Egypt.

The Karnak open air museum impresses everyone who comes here on our Karnak temple tour. Participants of our Karnak temple tour will surely feel the power of ancient civilization that existed here at a time when people inhabited forests and caves on other continents.

You can join our Karnak temple tour by booking one of our luxury Egypt tours!

Karnak Temple Tours FAQ

Karnak Temple History & Architecture

The temple district of Karnak has been expanded over 15 centuries. Today it intimidates you with its panache. The size of the pylons and columns makes you feel as small as an ant. During our 8-day Egypt Tour we will be able to visit this wonder of ancient times. 

The temple complex in Karnak has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. It was erected as a place of worship for the Theban triad: the god Amun, his wife Mut, and the son of Khonsu. The oldest part is the temple called the Seat of Amun. It was established during the reign of Antefa II (2103-2054 BC). The rest of the temple district was built during the New Kingdom (16th-11th century BC), but changes in the entire layout were made in the Roman period (1st century BC - 4th century AD).

The plan of the complex is based on two axes intersecting at right angles: the main east-west axis and the north-south axis. The complex consists of three parts, which are called districts: the central one dedicated to Amon (the Seat of Amun), the southern one, where Mut was worshiped, and the northern one, where Montu was worshiped. Only the district of Amun, also known as the Great Temple of Amun, remains in very good condition.

The entrance to the temple area of Amun leads from the west through the first pylon, i.e. the monumental entrance gate. The main avenue is flanked by statues of sphinxes. It's worth taking a look at them. They have ram heads, which means they were consecrated to the god Amon, whose cult animal was a ram. Just behind the pylon, built only in the 4th century BC, on the right, there is a mud-brick rubble that always surprises tourists. These are the remains of the ramp used to build the pylon. Behind the courtyard and the colossal statues of Ramses II the Great, there is a second pylon. On its side wall, a black line marks the height of the Nile waters that flooded the temple every year before the High Aswan Dam was built.

The Great Hypostyle Hall, the largest room of ancient Egypt, is breathtaking. Its area is 0.5 hectares. The number of columns that make it up is a staggering 146. The hall was built during the times of Pharaoh Seti I (1290-1279 / 78 BC) and his successor Ramesses II the Great (1279-1213 BC). It has a basilica layout, meaning it consists of three aisles. In the middle one, there are two rows of 22m high columns with capitals in the shape of an unfolded papyrus plume.

The columns in the aisles are lower, and measure 15m; their, capitals are shaped like a papyrus bundle. The entire room was covered and dark. Due to the difference in the height of the nave and aisles, gaps appeared between their ceilings - windows with stone grates. Unfortunately, only fragments of the bars and only one window have survived to this day. On the columns you can see a reminder of the times with lots of graffiti, which travelers carved. 

It is worth taking a closer look at the inner walls of the Great Hypostyle Hall, which are covered with interesting reliefs. They depict processions, scenes of sacrifice and worship in the temple. The outer walls are decorated with the favorite motif of Ramses II the Great - war scenes from the Battle of Kadesh.

Just behind the third pylon, the two axes of the temple intersect. The main axis (east-west) leads to two obelisks: the first belonged to Tuthmosis I (1504-1492 BC), and the second to Hatshepsut (1479-1458 / 57 BC), this is the highest standing obelisk in Egypt at 30m. It was built of pink granite, and its tip was once crowned with an electron, an alloy of gold and silver. Behind the sixth pylon, there is a barge hall, which was rebuilt many times and in which the statue of the god Amon once stood. This is where the processions began as part of the celebration of the Feast of Opet and the Beautiful Feast of the Valley.

The North-South minor axis leads to the circle of Amun's wife, Mut. On the way, you pass the holy lake on the left - a symbol of the pre-ocean. It also served priests in ritual ablution. A sculpture of a large scarab stands near the lake. Tourists circle the stone insect, this activity is to ensure their happiness in love.

Between the seventh pylon and the Great Hypostyle Hall there is the locker courtyard. During works on the temple grounds in 1903-1906, a deep pit was excavated, with 17,000 artifacts in it, including over 700 statues. This cache was believed to be built in the Ptolemaic Period (4th-1st century BC) when it was decided to clean up the temple area. The statues were not destroyed but were deposited in one place.

Visit the incredible temple on our Egypt tour! Book your luxury Egypt tour! 

 

Which tours include a visit to this site?

Luxor was known as Thebes in ancient times, and this is the place where our guests will start or end their cruise on the River Nile. The magnificent Karnak temple complex in Luxor is always visited with one of our knowledgeable guides during the Karnak tours.

Each of our luxury small group Egypt tours below allows you to visit the Karnak open air museum as part of our Karnak temple tour.

Around Egypt in 14 days (14 days in Egypt tour) - a two-week trip around Egypt, including a comprehensive tour of all the most important Egyptian monuments. The main attractions of which are: a 6-day Nile cruise on a 5-star cruise ship, visiting the Fayoum oasis and a private tour of the Plateau in Giza including the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx.

Exploring Egypt tour (10 Day tour of Egypt) - a 10-day trip around Egypt, including a visit to the ancient and modern attractions of Egypt. The highlights of which are: a three-day cruise on the Nile on a luxury ship, a private tour of the Abdeen Palace in Cairo and the Montazah Palace in Alexandria.

Golden Highlights of Egypt (8 day Egypt tour) - a one-week trip around Egypt visiting the iconic Egyptian monuments. The highlights of which are: a three-day cruise on the Nile on board a deluxe ship and a private tour of the Giza Plateau with the Pyramid of Khufu and The Great Sphinx of Giza.

Book your luxury Egypt tour today and visit Karnak temple complex with us as part of our Karnak temple tour!

How much do the Karnak Temple tickets cost? Are they included?

Our Egypt travel packages already cover the cost of Karnak temple tickets, so there's no need to worry about this. For the convenience of our guests, we purchase the Karnak temple tickets in advance to avoid standing in long lines and wasting time unnecessarily during the Karnak temple tour. Karnak temple tickets cost 300 LE (Egyptian Pounds) per person and 150 LE for children under 12. The Karnak temple tickets are purchased at the entrance to the Karnak temple. 

The Karnak temple complex in Luxor, which was known in antiquity as Thebes, is open to the public daily from 6.00 a.m. to 05.30 pm. (October through April) and from 6 a.m to 6.30 p.m. (May through September). 

Our Karnak tours in Egypt packages include a visit to the Karnak temple complex. However, they do not include tickets to the Karnak Sound and Light Show. Those interested in the evening show can buy tickets for the Karnak temple Sound and Light Show individually for $20 per person.

How long does a tour of Karnak Temple typically last?

The Karnak temple complex was one of the most important places of worship in Thebes, Upper Egypt, and all of Egypt during ancient times. Built on several dozen hectares, subsequent rulers left their mark here, which was to please the gods. In Karnak temple the main gods were: Amon, Mut and Khonsu. The Karnak temple visit with our knowledgeable guide takes around 2h 30min on average and takes in the highlights of the Karnak open air museum.

The Karnak temple tour starts from the entrance closest to the Nile. We are greeted here by sphinxes with the body of a lion and the head of a ram. Between the front paws of each of them stands a small statue of Ramesses II. The ram is the animal of the god Amon, and the sphinxes represent the god Amon himself. Then we will walk under a magnificent pylon to a large courtyard. The most beautiful, however, is yet to come.
Just beyond this courtyard, the largest hall of ancient Egypt awaits us - the hypostyle hall. A huge space with a length of 102 meters by 53. Inside, the former vault was based on 134 columns, the highest of which is 23 meters. The capitals of the columns are shaped like papyrus flowers. This shows you the power of ancient Egypt in all its glory. Today there is no uniform ceiling here, but the reliefs on the columns and walls still delight. The amazing colors and decorations on some blocks connecting individual columns need to be seen to be believed.

Further on, on our Karnak temple tour, there are more courtyards that are less spectacular. Although it must be mentioned that the obelisk, which was created at the request of Queen Hatshepsut, has survived to this day. The obelisk is 30 meters high. There used to be two of these obelisks in the Karnak temple complex. However, only one has survived to this day. Walking around the old temples, we will see an artificial lake where the priests performed ritual ablutions. There is also a large and sacred scarab, circled by tourists, and many more nooks and crannies to be explored, where you will see more reliefs on the walls, and remnants of decoration and colors on the ceiling. The Karnak Temple statues are a must-see and one of the more impressive statues is the statue of Ramses II with his wife/daughter. The figure of a woman just reaches the Pharaoh's knees.
 
Book one of our luxury tours and visit the Karnak temple for yourself, seeing the magnificent Karnak temple architecture with your own eyes!

Is it possible to take a private tour of Karnak Temple?

Karnak temple is usually crowded with thousands of tourists every day. However, with Inside Egypt you have the opportunity to see the Karnak open air museum in private without any crowds and other visitors, therefore, avoiding long lines. Private tours of the Karnak temple complex are available before and after public opening hours. So, before 6 am and after 6.30 pm. A private Karnak temple tour offers a personalized experience for visitors, allowing them to learn about the ancient Egyptian monument at their own pace and with the full attention of our guide.
Our private Karnak temple tour will give you the flexibility, personalization, and exclusivity you want. You can then be sure that you will get exactly what you expect from your trip, and see the Karnak temple complex at its very best!

If you are interested in the private Egypt tour contact us today!

What is the guided tour experience like for the Karnak Temple visit?

Our Karnak Temple tour takes place with the best and most knowledgeable guide. Our guides are passionate about the history of their country and are fluent in English. Thanks to this, they are able to share with our guests almost everything about the Karnak temple complex. The guide on our Karnak temple tour will provide you with information about the history of the Karnak temple complex, telling the story in detail, giving many interesting facts and answering all questions. The guide is a perfect companion for a Karnak temple tour, especially if you like to talk about the history and gain new, previously unknown knowledge. In addition to the history of the Karnak temple complex, the guide will pay attention to details that travelers would not notice. With our guide you will gain beyond-the-guidebook insight into the wonders of ancient Egypt and the Karnak open air museum.

Having an English-speaking guide on a Karnak Temple tour offers numerous benefits, including improved communication and a deeper understanding of the history and cultural significance of the Karnak Temple architecture.

What should I dress while visiting this site?

When joining our Karnak temple tour and visiting the Karnak temple complex you should think about what you will wear. As the Karnak temple is open air and very large - visiting it takes at least 2.5 hours, it is necessary to be comfortable and protect yourself from the Egyptian sun.

On the Karnak temple tour, make sure that you wear airy clothes made of natural breathable materials, such as linen or cotton, in light colors that do not attract the heat - white, shades of beige and pastels. The clothes that you wear should cover the body - choose shirts with sleeves that cover your arms and long pants or skirts that cover your legs.

Also, don't forget about comfortable footwear when visiting the Karnak temple complex. Comfortable shoes are recommended for ease of movement during the Karnak temple tour. It's best to take shoes with you that you've already worn - new and unworn ones can be painfully disappointing. Be sure to have a summer hat with a large brim, or a scarf that will also cover your neck and ears as this will protect you from overheating during the Karnak temple tour.

Wear sunglasses that have UV filters to protect against the sun while on the Karnak temple tour, and apply sunscreen with SPF 50+ to the face and the parts of the body that are not covered by clothing.

If you follow our advice, your Karnak temple visit will be more enjoyable and you will have great memories of the Karnak temple tour.

Which other sites do your tours include?

The Karnak temple architecture never fails to impress, often regarded as a must-see highlight on our luxury Egypt tour and a key part of the things you need to do while in Luxor. However, after visiting Karnak you will be able to experience lots more of the rich history of Ancient Egypt by visiting other monumental sites in Luxor, Upper Egypt. You will get to visit other beautiful temples after the Karnak temple tour: Luxor Temple is located a short distance from the Karnak temple, as well as the temple of Queen Hatshepsut located on the west bank of the Nile. Following the Karnak temple tour, we will also go to the famous Valley of the Kings, where the tombs of the pharaohs are located, including the popular tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun. We will take a close look at the two Colossi of Memnon depicting pharaoh Amenhotep III from the 18th dynasty, almost 18 meters high. For an additional fee, you can visit the Valley of the Queens with the famous tomb of Nefertari and the temple of Ramses III in Medinet Habu.

Inside Egypt organizes the best Karnak tours in Egypt. Join one of our tours and see the impressive Karnak temple complex on our Karnak temple tour with your own eyes. It's a sight not to be missed!

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