The great temple of Karnak had existed since the XIth Dynasty or earlier, but the existing structure was begun under Tethmosis (Tahutmes) I., and two of the great pylons and one obelisk of his remain in place.
Harmahib (Horemheb) resumed the work at Karnak, erecting two great pylons and a long avenue of sphinxes.
His son Amenophis III., C. 1400 u.c., was a mighty builder, especially at Thebes, where his reign marks a new epoch in the history of the great temples, Luxor being his creation, while avenues of rams, pylons, &c., were added on a vast scale to Karnak.
A small gateway between two massive towers or pylons gave admittance to a spacious forecourt open to the sky, into which the people were allowed to enter at least on feast days.
Farther on, separated from the forecourt by smaller though still massive pylons, lay a hypostyle hall, so called from its covered colonnades; this hall was used for all kinds of processions.