Carving of Ramesses, Hypostyle Hall, Main Temple
Hypostyle Hall Information
A hypostyle is an ancient architectural invention consisting of a dense grid of columns. It was used in Egypt to build large spaces in temples and palaces where people could gather. However, in the Ramesseum, only high priests and pharaohs were allowed into the hypostyle hall and sanctuary of the sacred temple. The pillars are carved with stories that glorified Ramesses as the god Amen and depicted Ramesses making offerings to the gods. The lotus bud pillars are stone translations of pillars made from papyrus-reed and clay which were the earliest building materials in the Nile Valley. The hypostyle hall contains clerestory openings, another Egyptian architectural invention, to let in light from the top of the outer walls. However, no light entered the most sacred sanctuary space of the temple. Three smaller halls behind the hypostyle hall lead the way to the temple's sacred shrine. Today, about thirty-four out of the original forty-eight columns remain.