of Amun at Karnak.
The enormous ruin field of Karnak consists of several connected enclosures,
each containing a number of temples. In the center is the great Amun temple
complex, with its intersecting avenues of courts and pylons. This view
of the Temple of Amun looks westward from the entrance of the fourth pylon
through the central aisle of the great Hypostyle Hall, whose roof slabs
were supported by 136 columns. The obelisk in the foreground is that of
Thutmosis I. The tips of obelisks, and at times even portions of their
sides, were originally sheathed in polished metal, reflecting the rays
of the sun. Erected by pharaohs of the New Kingdom (c. 1560-1085 B.C.),
this monumental processional avenue witnessed numerous alterations and
renovations down through the Roman period— as well as the disastrous sack
of Karnak by plundering Assyrian armies in 663 B.C.
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