Avenue of SphinxKarnak Temple - Theban Temples
Ipet Sut, “Most Select of Places”
Avenue of Sphinx
My Plan of Karnak Temple
The Avenue of Sphinx at Karnak Temple had several Corridors as can be seen from my Plan of Karnak Temple to the right. Every Sphinx comissioned and then put in to use at Karnak Temple would have had images of the Pharaohs between the paws – see Image below. Many of these were usurped by their fellow Pharaohs for their own offerings to the Deities.
The current entrance to Karnak Temple through Pylon 1 is lined with Ram Headed Sphinx which can be seen in the images above and below. These led from the Nile Canal across the Ancient Cult Terrace and right up to the First Pylon and many remain in situ today.
The First Court
The Sphinx in the First Court have now been moved from their original position to the far sides of the Court next to the Columns. Originally these Avenue of Sphinx lined up as a continuous pathway with the Sphinx in the Entrance way to the Temple on to the Nile Canal on the Ancient Cult Terrace. These Sphinx were moved back when the current First Pylon was erected during the 30th Dynasty.
Avenue of Sphinx from Pylon 10 to the Precinct of Mut
This Precinct is 325 meters south of the main Temple structures in Karnak Temple, known as the Precinct of Amun, and approx. 250 meters south of the 10th Pylon itself. It can be accessed via a Pathway which is flanked on either side by Sphinx.
Avenue of Sphinx between Karnak and Luxor Temples
This Avenue is probaby the best known. It caters for the movement of the Theban Triad between the 2 Temples during the Opet Festival.
The Egyptian Government have been restoring the Avenue for people to view and walk along and the photos shown here reflect their progress.
You can almost imagine the Sacred Barques, the Deity inside, with their entourages which would often have included the Pharaoh, stopping to rest at all of the 6 Chapels that the Pharaoh Hatshepsut had built which intersected the Avenue of Sphinx on their journey.
Each Chapel was dedicated to the God Amun and each had an exacting purpose: “to cool the oar of Amun” or “to receive the beauty of Amun”. Each one was filled with food and drink for the God and the Priests carrying the Sacred Barques to partake.
Sistrum rattles were played while the Priests would sing songs (the lyrics are inscribed at Luxor Temple) making the procession a wonderful affair.