Temple of Ptah (Karnak)

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Doorway of Thutmose III Karnak Ptah 07.jpg
Doorway of Thutmose III

The Temple of Ptah is a shrine located within the large Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak, in Luxor, Egypt. It lies to the north of the main Amun temple, just within the boundary wall. The building was erected by the Pharaoh Thutmose III on the site of an earlier Middle Kingdom temple. The edifice was later enlarged by the Ptolemaic Kingdom.

Precinct of Amun-Re building in Egypt

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.

Karnak Ancient Egyptian temple complex

The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings near Luxor, in Egypt. Construction at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex gives its name to the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of El-Karnak, 2.5 kilometres north of Luxor.

Luxor City in Egypt

Luxor is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 506,588, with an area of approximately 417 square kilometres (161 sq mi).



This temple is a shrine located within the large Precinct of Amun-Re at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt. This temple is dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Ptah, his wife Sekhmet the goddess of war, and his son Nefertum. The god’s cult started in Memphis, which explains why he also has a temple dedicated to him there. The temple was built approximated around the Middle Kingdom, 18th century B.C. and located in Karnak complex in Luxor upper Egypt. The temple’s reconstruction were restored by king Shabaka during the 25th Dynasty and by the Romans as well as the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies repaired damages but did not replace the original builder’s names with theirs but rather fix the missing areas on the cartouches and in some cases enlarged things. Later building ware erected by the Pharaoh Thutmose III on the site of earlier Middle Kingdom temple. The temple was later on enlarged as well throughout the reign of Emperor Tiberius. The Temple of Ptah serves as the city’s former power and was associated with the Egyptian town of Memphis. Notably, two very important statues reside in this temple. The first one is a statue of the god Ptah with his head missing and the second one is Sekhmet.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Ptah Egyptian deity

In Egyptian mythology, Ptah is the demiurge of Memphis, god of craftsmen and architects. In the triad of Memphis, he is the husband of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum. He was also regarded as the father of the sage Imhotep.

Memphis, Egypt Ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, Egypt

Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza.


The temple consists of six small gateways built closely together. The first, to the west, was constructed by the Ptolemies. The gates date from the Eighteenth Dynasty with the first erected by Hatshepsut and the rest by Thutmose III. To enter the Temple of Ptah, you must enter through the first gateway that leads up to the other five gateways. The first gateway can be viewed from the exterior as well as the interior. Once you have entered the Temple of Ptah through the first gateway, the second gateway is a replica of the first gateway but much more enclosed. The third gateway consist of Ptolemy XIII cartouche with two engaged columns that connects with the fourth gateway. The fifth gateway serves as the entrance to the portico of four composite columns. The sixth gateway crosses through the pylons and runs through directly into the central sanctuary where the statue of Ptah is situated. Once you have passed through the altar, this is the most sacred part of the temple. The sanctuary of Ptah and Sekhmet are situated here. Inside the pylons the two sanctuaries are divided into sections, with the sanctuary of Ptah situated in the center and the sanctuary of Sekhmet situated on the far left.

Hatshepsut Egyptian Pharaoh

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the second historically-confirmed female pharaoh, the first being Sobekneferu.

Sekhmet Egyptian deity

In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet, also spelled Sakhmet, Sekhet, or Sakhet, among other spellings, is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.

Inscriptions and artworks

The first gateway crosses an enclosed cartouche of Ptolemy VI. On the interior façade of the first gateway are passages of Ptolemy XI and Ptolemy XIII. The jambs next to the first gateway depict Nefertum bearing a lotus feather topped.

The second and fourth gateways contain cartouches in the name of Shabaka. The third gateway cartouche is in the name of Ptolemy XIII. The fifth gateway leading to the portico columns of Ptolemy III contains the title of Tuthmosis III and on the gate contains the name of Ptolemy III.

Shabaka Egyptian pharaoh

Neferkare Shabaka was the third Kushite pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, who reigned from 705–690 BC.

The sixth gateway is the entrance to the sanctuary. This is where the doorpost of the pylon extends beyond the doors. There is a scene of the king wearing the white crown as he gestures for you to enter the sanctuary of Ptah and Sekhmet, only after being purified as much as four times. On the north side the king wears the red crown. On the south wall of the main central chamber scenes in sunk relief can be seen. On the right is a scene of the scepter of Amun with four vertical lines and more inscriptions.

Amun is a major ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. Amun was attested from the Old Kingdom together with his wife Amaunet. With the 11th dynasty, Amun rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Montu.

Inside the sanctuary stands two statues. The sanctuary is the most sacred place of the temple, which is why statues of Ptah and another of Sekhmet stand here. Sekhmet's statue in the chapel is dedicated to the goddess Hathor. Below the statue of Sekhmet is a guide holding a burning piece of cardboard to illuminate the statue.

Behind the statue of Ptah, Khonsu in Thebes Neferhotep wears the crown prince braid. He holds scepters in his hand: the djed pillar, "was" scepter, ankh, heka scepter, and nekhakha scepter. With the addition of, the menat necklace. There are numerous painting of scenes of the king, showing offering with the sign of Ma'at to the god Amun Re. And last but not least the back outside walls also contains reliefs. "The back, outside wall of the temple is also noteworthy. Here, at two different levels going from left to right, are a representation of Ptah in light relief, whose head must have been sculpted on a stone that is now missing, and also one of Hathor, followed by two deified scribes from the Old and New Kingdom. [1]

Transformation today

Majority of the transformations were done under the reigns of Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV who were generally concerned with the changes on the courtyard. Ptolemy VI built on the westward way between the Temple of Amun and Northern precincts of Karnak. Later constructions were done under the reign of Ptolemy XIII, who added a door between the two twenty-fifth dynasty gates, which was in turn decorated by King Shabaka, may explain why his name were on doors two and four.

Excavations have found figurines of Osiris, statuettes of baboons, Mut, Bastet, and more stele marked with the name of the god Ptah. The size and quality of the objects gave us a stepping stone into reconstructing the pieces through technologies. This shed light on surroundings of the Temple of Ptah. The Temple of Ptah is used more for tourist purposes. Since October 2008 an interdisciplinary program has been dedicated to the temple, located on the northern end of the temple of Amun-Re. In addition, "Hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic graffiti are currently being studied to complete the global approach to researches on the Ptah temple." [2]

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  1. Thiers, Christophe. "The Temple of Ptah at Karnak". academia.edu. Egyptian Archaeology. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  2. Dunn, Jimmy. "Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt; The Temple of Ptah at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt". touregypt.net. Tour Egypt. Retrieved 30 May 2017.

Coordinates: 25°43′11″N32°39′35″E / 25.7196°N 32.6597°E / 25.7196; 32.6597