By the banks of the Nile, across the river from Thebes, a three-tiered temple was found beneath hundreds of tons of sand tens of centuries after its construction. The temple is a reflection of the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, and was constructed alongside that eleventh-dynasty structure. However, the temple of Hatshepsut is far larger than that of Mentuhotep. The architect was Senmut, Hatshepsut’s lover and a member of her court with more than 20 titles. Senmut designed the temple Continue reading Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple Deir El Bahri
Hatshepsut (1479 – 1457 BC)
Queen Hatshepsut (left) was the first great woman in recorded history: the forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra, Catherine the Great and Elizabeth I. Continue reading Life of Hatshepsut (1479-1457BC)
When you think of a mummy what comes to mind? Most of us usually picture an Egyptian mummy wrapped in bandages and buried deep inside a pyramid. While the Egyptian ones are the most famous, mummies have been found in many places throughout the world, from Greenland to China to the Andes Mountains of South America. Continue reading Ancient Egypt Mummies 1
The temples of Luxor and Karnak are separated by about three kilometers with the sacred lake between them. The Temple of Karnak is as splendid at that of Luxor, perhaps even more so, and offers visitors some rare glimpses into the ancient past of Egypt. There are many wonderful things to see and enjoy here. Karnak is divided into three areas separated by rough brick walls. The largest area measures approximately 30 hectares and is the best restored area. This temple, dedicated to the god Amon, and is believed to be the oldest of the four temples at Thebes. To its left is the sanctuary of Manatee, the god of war and across from it is the sanctuary to the goddess Mut, Amon’s wife, who, interestingly enough, was symbolically represented as a vulture.
The size of the temple of Amon is amazing. It is the largest temple supported by columns in the world. The most imposing structure is the hypostyle hall which measures over 300 feet long and 159 feet wide. Within its area stands 34 columns, each almost 70 feet high, with open papyrus shaped capitals. Stones resting on top of these columns offer some of the best views of what the temple was like in ancient times. Protected from the Sun the hieroglyphics on their underside are still the brilliant colors they were thousands of years ago. The temple was built by various pharaohs over a long period of time. Amon-Ofis III built the twelve columns architraves, Ramses I began the decoration of this and it was continued by Seti I and Ramses the II. There are a number of obelisks on the temple grounds. Only one remains from Tutmose I and it measures almost 70 feet high and is estimated to weigh 143 tons. Another, higher still, was erected by Hatshepsut, daughter of Tutmose I, and it is said that she provided “bushels of gold as if they were sacks of grain” to build it.
The Temple of Karnak was very elaborately carved with hieroglyphics honoring many different gods. One could spends months just gazing upon these inscriptions and imagining the people who carved them. Continue to the next page to see more of the Temple of Karnak.
Between Aswan and Luxor is located the major Ptolemaic temple of Edfu – the best preserved major temple in Egypt. The temple is dedicated to the falcon god Horus and was built over a 180-year period from 237 BC to 57 BC.
|The front of the temple of Horus at Edfu. Visitors approach from the rear
of the temple and around the left side of the pylons or through the
small corridor visible at ground level in the pylon on the left.
Most visitors to the temple arrive by cruise boat and then take a horse-drawn carriage to the temple where vendors are ready to sell you all manner of souvenirs.
|The pylons of Efdu Temple behind some of Edfu’s buildings.
Seen from a cruise boat heading north to Luxor.
Inside the temple’s pylons is a large courtyard. Just before the entrance to the first of two hypostyle halls is a welcoming statue of Horus. Inside the hypostyle halls are dominated by a forest of towering columns.
|Statue of Horus, the falcon god,
in the courtyard of the temple.
|Horus depicted on inside of
the rear surrounding wall.
The temple was excavated last century by Auguste Mariette. Its courtyard and surrounds were buried beneath sand and also houses built by local villagers. Deep within the temple is the sanctuary where a statue of Horus would have been cared for by priests.
|The Sanctuary at Edfu Temple. The
pedestal would have supported a
barque, while the shrine or naos
at the rear would have housed
a statue of Horus. The naos dates
from an earlier temple.
|An early 20th century replica of a barque
of Horus that would have sat in the
Sanctuary. The barque would
have been joined briefly each year by
the barque of the goddess Hathor
brought from Dendara Temple.
Kom Ombo is located on a bend in the river Nile about 50 km north of Aswan. Located on the east bank, Kom Ombo is home to an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder). Despite being badly damaged, the temple is a beautiful sight as one approaches from either direction on the river, particularly as sunset nears and the colours change.
Approaching the temple of Kom Ombo from the south with cruise boats moored in front.
Sometimes, one has to pass through the reception area of another boat to get to shore.The temple was excavated last century, although part of it has been lost into the Nile and an earthquake in 1992 caused some further damage.
The colour of the temple changes as the sun sets. Markets are just outside
the entrance to the temple – have your money ready for those items of
clothing you’ll be tempted with as you approach or leave the temple.Long ago, crocodiles probably sunned themselves on an island nearby. Today, there are no crocodiles to be seen – except for some mummified ones on display at the temple complex.
Floodlights play upon the temple of Kom Ombo.If departing Kom Ombo by boat at night, it is lovely to watch as the flood-lit temple fades into the distance. Perhaps have some insect repellant just in case you are not the only lifeform on the deck.