I visited countless temples on my brief visit to Egypt, but my favorite, by far, was the Karnak Temple complex, the largest ancient religious site in the world.
A visit to the complex begins with a walk lined on both sides by ram statues, leading to a great gate. Once inside the complex, you enter the Precinct of Amun-Re, where you can visit a series of temples dedicated to the god. Each temple seems more ornately carved than the last.
In some of the better-preserved areas, you can even see traces of the colorful paint that once decorated the entire complex. It’s impossible to imagine the stately carved columns covered in gaudy hues, but that was indeed the case. Even more difficult to imagine is how these ancient Egyptians moved the 122 10-meter-tall columns into place, not to mention the additional 12 columns that reach 21 meters tall. Looking up at these great structures can easily give you a sense of vertigo—and wonder.
Alison Cornford-Matheson traveled to Egypt courtesy of the Egypt Tourism Authority and Abercrombie & Kent. Her highlights are part of AFAR's partnership with The United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value, and freedom to enjoy destinations across the entire globe. See more about Alison's trip at the USTOA blog.