The ancient Egyptians knew Karnak as Ipet-Swt, “most select of places”. Originally a local shrine dedicated to Amun, during continuous building from early Middle Kingdom to Roman times successive kings added to the complex, each attempting to outdo their predecessors. Some demolished earlier monuments absorbing the stone blocks I their own construction.
An example is pylon three built by, 18th dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III c. 1390-1353 BCE, where the rubble fill contained blocks of carved limestone from a chapel constructed by Senwosret I of the. Idle kingdom c.1956-1911 BCE. Today this chapel is known as the White Chapel.
The Red Chapel constructed of red quartzite by pharaoh Hatshepsut c.1453-1458, which has been dismantled and reassembled. It had been covered over probably due to Hatsheosut being a female pharaoh.
Construction of The Hypostyle Hall began by Rameses I and continued by his son Seti I.
Karnak has a series of granite obelisks erected by 18th dynasty Pharaohs. They are cut from one piece of stone, tapering to the top inscribed with royal and religious texts and some entirely covered with gold foil. Quarried from riverside quarries at Aswan, to cut, transport and erect an obelisk was an achievement and mark of powerful kingship. One that had a flaw exposed during cutting can be seen today still lying I the quarry.