The first pylon
￼First pylon – main entrance to Karnak temple￼Remains of the mud brick ramps, used to build the pylon.
Karnak Temple First Pylon
The first pylon is the last to be built at Karnak and is the main entrance into the temple today. It was never completed and is undecorated; even the remains of the mud brick ramps, used to build, it can still be seen inside the great court.
The north tower is about 71 feet (21.70m), and the south tower 103 feet (31.65m). If the structure had been completed it would probably reached a height of between 124 feet (38m) to 131 feet (40m).
It was built by Nectanebo I (380-362 BC) who also built the huge enclosure wall surrounding Karnak and some scholars believe that an earlier pylon may have stood on this same spot.
An avenue of sphinxes leads to the pylon. These sphinxes are ram-headed, symbolizing the god Amun and a small effigy of Ramesses II, in the form of Osiris, stands between their front paws.
In ancient Egyptian religion, the pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for ‘horizon’ or akhet, which was a depiction of two hills “between which the sun rose and set.”Consequently, it played a critical role in the symbolic architecture of a cult building which was associated with the place of recreation and rebirth.
Pylons were often decorated with scenes emphasizing a king’s authority since it was the public face of a cult building. On the first pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies while Isis, Horus and Hathor look on. Other examples of pylons can be seen in Karnak, Luxor, and Edfu.
Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were often carried out on the top of temple pylons. In addition to standard vertical grooves on the exterior face of a pylon wall which were designed to hold flag poles, some pylons also contained internal stairways and rooms. The oldest intact pylons belong to mortuary temples from the 13th and 12th century BCE Ramessside period. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon.