Karnak Temple of Mut
Beyond the south gate of the Karnak precinct a ruined avenue of sphinxes leads the visitor through Karnak village to the Temple of Mut, the consort of Amun, which has for some time been undergoing restoration. The Mut Temple was built by Amenhotep III but has had other New Kingdom, Late Period and Ptolemaic additions. Before entering the temple precinct, on the western side of the avenue of sphinxes is a ruined temple of Amun-kamutef, an ithyphallic god whose name means ‘Bull of his Mother’, and on the eastern side was a barque shrine built by Tuthmose III and Hatshepsut.
Today the temple precinct is a wilderness of long grass and cracked paving, but there are many interesting remains to be seen, including a great number of beautiful statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet scattered around its courts, thought perhaps to have been brought from the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III on the West Bank. Near the northern wall of the precinct was a small temple of Khonsu, the son of Amun and Mut. The remains of birth scenes and a fragment of an unusual circumcision scene can be seen on the north wall. In the remains of the entrance pylon to the Mut Temple, built by Seti II, there is a relief of the dwarf-god Bes and Ptolemaic texts of a Hymn to Mut.
To the south of the temple there are remains of a crescent-shaped sacred lake, now overgrown, and to the west of this a small temple of Rameses III still has two ruined colossal statues of the king with his queen at its entrance.
From the Temple of Mut, if the visitor walks west towards Luxor, a secondary avenue of sphinxes has been restored and is still under excavation. This would have been part of the processional way from Karnak to Luxor Temple, although part of the avenue is still under the modern town buildings of Luxor. You can get a good view of this restored avenue from the bridge over the canal leading to Karnak village (Sharia Maabad el-Karnak or Karnak Temple Street).
How to get there
From the Corniche walk (or take a taxi) up to the end of Karnak Temple Street. Turn left at the bridge over the canal and carry on through Karnak village. The Temple of Mut is to the east of the village. The site is not officially open to tourists, but the guards will often allow visitors a quick tour of the temple if there is no excavation taking place at the time. Alternatively you may get special permission from the Antiquities Service in Luxor.