Karnak Temple Egypt – The Ancient Temple Of Amun In Luxor
The Karnak Temple complex in Luxor is one of Egypt’s biggest and most famous ancient buildings (especially the temple of Amun).
Karnak was a huge religious monument built by many pharaohs over the course of 1,500 years of history, and even today you can still see a lot of the original statues, columns, and hieroglyphs in amazing condition.This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
History Of Karnak Temple
Construction of the Karnak Temple complex started more than 4,000 years ago (around 2,055 BC) and continued for almost a millennium until the Romans took over Egypt in the late years BC.
Karnak was a place of worship built to honor Egyptian gods like Amun and Osiris. Off and on, Egyptian rulers kept adding new buildings over the centuries, making it even bigger and more impressive as time went on.
It became an important temple city and one of the biggest religious buildings anywhere in the world (although Angkor Wat beats it out for total size).
Karnak began to decline after the city of Thebes (now Luxor) was sacked by the Romans in the 1st century AD.
Today, Karnak is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Egypt, after the pyramids of Giza.
Visiting The Karnak Temple Complex
Karnak is a huge temple complex covering more than 200 acres, so there’s lots to see here.
Fake guides will insist on showing you ‘photo spots’ or inscriptions to look at, but then demand a tip (baksheesh). Just ignore them or politely say you’re not interested. It’s all part of the Egypt experience.
All in all, if you’re an Egyptian history lover you could spend hours exploring Karnak, but because of the Luxor heat I whisked through in about 1 hour.
Come early in the day if you want to avoid the worst of the heat!
Best Things To See
Some of the best statues and sphinxes can be found near the entrance, in the Great Court between the first and second pylons. There’s a towering figure of Ramesses II and rows of small ram-headed sphinxes.
Don’t miss the hieroglyphs and giant obelisks either. One of these is the tallest obelisk still standing anywhere in the world.
But the highlight of the whole temple for me was the Hypostyle Hall, which is the biggest room of its kind on Earth. Dozens of these huge columns are still standing, and walking through the hall makes you feel like a dwarf.
Hours & Entrance Fees
- Hours: 6 AM – 5:30 PM
- Entrance Fee:* 200 EGP
- Students: 100 EGP with ID
*If you buy the Luxor Pass, this is one of the temples included in the pass.
How To Get There
Karnak Temple is located on the east bank of the Nile River, in the city of Luxor, Egypt.
The Cairo International Airport (CAI) has 1 hour direct flights to the Luxor airport (LXR) for around $90 USD or less, or you can take a 9 hour day train for around $10 or so.
Once you’re in Luxor, it’s easy to find a driver to take you to Karnak and back for about 50 EGP (~$3 USD) or so.
It’s a bit far to walk from the town center, especially with the Luxor heat and rabid touts.
Best Luxor/Karnak Temple Tours
Viator has a private guided tour of Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple starting from $25 USD, including entrance fees.
This is a great option if you're wanting to visit the temples with a vetted tour company! We've done lots of tours with Viator over the years.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at Luxor Palace hotel on the west bank for 200 EGP ($13 USD) per night.
For this price, I got a clean triple bed room with cold A/C, good WiFi, a pool, kitchen and washer/dryer, and a big rooftop area with a nice sunset view.
The owner was friendly, and it was in a handy location near the Nile, ferry, and restaurants. All in all, this apartment was one of my favorite places I stayed in Egypt.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal!