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Temple of Karnak, Luxor

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Egypt, Africa + Middle East: A view of the lake in Karnak
East Bank
Egypt's insider take:

Far larger than Luxor Temple, this vast complex of stone sanctuaries, obelisks, sphinxes, and hefty pharaonic statues took more than 1,300 years to build, reaching its greatest heights during the 19th Dynasty (13th century B.C.) when the Pharaohs Seti I and Ramses II built the immense Hypostyle Hall and its forest of 76-foot tall Papyriform columns. The complex sits one and a half miles north of downtown Luxor, and with 62 acres open to the public it will require a full afternoon of your time just to cover the highlights. These include the Colossus of Ramses II, and the great Festival Hall of Thutmosis III, whose painted and decorated ceiling contains bas-reliefs depicting plants and animals captured during his Asiatic campaigns. The sound-and-light show each evening is widely hailed as being the finest of its kind in the world.

Open daily May through September from 6 am to 6 pm, and October through April from 6 am to 5 pm.

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