Precinct of Amun-Re
The Precinct of Amun-Re, located near Luxor, Egypt, is one of the four main temple enclosures that make up the immense Karnak Temple Complex. The precinct is by far the largest of these and the only one that is open to the general public. The temple complex is dedicated to the principal god of the Theban Triad, Amun, in the form of Amun-Re. The site occupies roughly 250 000 m², containing many structures and monuments. The main temple itself, Temple of Amun, covers roughly 61 acres and would have been able to hold 10 average European cathedrals. Some parts of the complex are closed or semi-closed, partially large parts of the North/South Axis (VIII, IX, and X Pylon), as they are under active excavation or restoration. The whole southeast corner is semi-closed. The northwest corner is a museum that requires an additional ticket to visit.
Most of the southwest is an open-air-assembling area with millions of stone fragments, from small to huge, laid out in long rows, awaiting reassembly into their respective monuments. The area is not closed, as the temples of Khons and Opet both lie in this corner and are open to the public, though both are rarely visited considering the immense number of tourists coming to Karnak. Also in this area can be found the housing of the Akhenaten Temple Project, a sealed-up long building, which contains all the remains found of the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten).
The history of the Karnak complex is largely the history of Thebes. The city does not appear to have been of any significance before the Eleventh Dynasty, and any temple building here would have been relatively small and unimportant, with any shrines being dedicated to the early god of Thebes, Montu. The earliest artifact found in the area of the temple is a small, eight-sided column from the Eleventh Dynasty, which mentions Amun-Ra. The tomb of Intef II mentions a ‘house of Amun’, which implies some structure, whether a shrine or a small temple is unknown. The ancient name for Karnak, Ipet-Sut (usually translated as ‘most select of places’) only really refers to the central core structures of the Precinct of Amun-Ra, and was in use as early as the 11th Dynasty, again implying the presence of some form of temple before the Middle Kingdom expansion.