The site of the Karnak Temples is an open natural museum of Ancient Egyptian history. It contains a mixture of the different architectural styles built by the kings who ruled the country from the Twelfth Dynasty until the Greco-Roman times.
The temple of Medinet Habu is one of the most impressive structures west of Thebes. It was built for Ramesses the Third as a mortuary temple. The work was done under the direction of the treasurer, Amun Amonmose.
The relief on both long walls of the colonnade of Amenhotep the Third at the Luxor Temple shows the Opet feast, which celebrates the journey of the small ships that carry the statues of the Theban Triad from the Temple at Karnak to the Luxor Temple and back again.
The Avenue of Sphinxes at the Luxor Temple was a double line of human-headed sphinxes. On feast days, priests paraded along this avenue, carrying the wooden barks, or small ships, that held shrines containing the statues of the deities Amun-Re, Mut, and Khonsu.
Inside the sanctuary of Amenhotep the Third, the sacred bark of Amun-Re was kept after it had been brought from Karnak. During the time of Alexander the Great, the present chapel was built and decorated with depictions of Alexander worshiping various Egyptian deities.
Scenes in relief on the walls of the Great Court of Ramesses the Second portray the festivals celebrated by the royal family and officials. The court is surrounded by a double row of columns and the southern end has huge standing statues of Ramesses the Second.
The hall of Amenhotep the Third is a hypostyle hall, in which the roof rests on rows of columns. It contains 32 clustered papyrus columns arranged in fours and the walls are decorated with scenes of the king making offerings to Amun-Re.
The northeastern portion of the Great Court of Ramesses the Second contains the mosque of the Muslim saint Sidi Abul Haggag. It has a view of the back of the east tower of the pylon, or temple gateway, which is inscribed with two important scenes.
The northwestern part of the Great Court of Ramesses the Second contains the triple shrine that housed the wooden bark, or small ship, that held the statues of the three deities Amun-Re, Mut, and Khonsu.
The colonnade, which now forms the entrance to the temple of Amenhotep the Third, consists of seven pairs of columns. The colonnade was left undecorated after the death of Amenhotep the Third until the time of Tutankhamun and Horemheb.
The southwestern wall of the Great Court of Ramesses the Second shows the pylon, or temple gateway, being approached by princes and high officials bringing ornamented bulls for sacrifice. From the horns of the bulls emerge the king's enemies, identified by their ethnic features.