May 10, 2012

Karnak, 1813 | Luxor - Walking Through Egypt

Karnak, 1813
Captain Henry Light

KarnaK
My visit to Karnak, the ancient Diopolis, a ruined temple farther from the banks of the river, on the same side as Luxor, was equally gratifying. It was impossible to look on such an extent of building without being lost in admiration; no description will be able to give an adequate idea of the enormous masses still defying the ravages of time. Enclosure within enclosure, propylae in front of propylae; to these, avenues of sphinxes, each of fourteen or fifteen feet in length, lead from a distance of several hundred yards. The common Egyptian sphinx is found in the avenue to the south; but, to the west; the crio sphinx, with the ram’s head, from one or two that have been uncovered, seems to have composed its corresponding avenue. Those of the south and east are still buried. Headless statues of grey and blue granite, of gigantic size, lay prostrate in different parts of the ruins. In the western court, in front of the great portico, and at the entrance to this portico, is an upright headless statue of one block of granite, whose size may be imagined from finding that a man of six foot just reaches the patella of the knee.

The entrance to the great portico is through a mass of masonry, partly in ruins; through which the eye rests on an avenue of fourteen columns, whose diameter is more than eleven feet, and whose height is upwards of sixty. On each side of this are seven rows, of seven columns in each, whose diameter is eight feet, and about forty feet high, of an architecture which wants the elegance of Greek models, yet suits the immense majesty of the Egyptian temple.

Though it does not enter into my plan to continue a description which has been ably done by others before me, yet, when I say, that the whole extent of this temple cannot be less than a mile and a half in circumference, and that the smallest blocks of masonry are five feet by four feet in depth and breadth, that there are obelisks of eighty feet high on a base of eighteen feet, of one block of granite; it can be easily imagined that Thebes was the vast city history describes it to be.

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