The ancient temple ruins at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt, are the second most popular tourist attraction in Egypt after the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. Karnak was built starting more than 4,000 years ago and was constructed, destroyed, and reconstructed numerous times over the centuries. One of its most well-known and impressive features is the enormous hypostyle hall (meaning the roof rests on rows of columns) that sits between the second and third pylons (monumental gateways). Most people are in such a rush to see the great columns that fill this hall, they rush by the second pylon and as result, miss out seeing some of the most beautiful bas relief work in all of Karnak.
The second pylon serves as the western wall of the hypostyle hall and was designed by Horemheb but only partially inscribed when he died in 1304 BC. The bas relief depicts scenes of Horemheb in the company of the gods. As was practice in those days, his successor Ramses I later took credit for Horemheb's work by placing his own name in Horemheb's cartouches. If you look closely, you can see where attempts to scratch over Horemheb’s cartouches were made.
The statue of Ramses II stands in front of the second pylon, so when you see the statue, you know you’ve arrived. Linger a bit before you enter the hypostyle hall to admire the beautiful bas relief and as you look at it, remind yourself that was artwork done nearly 3,500 years ago!