The Temple of Horus at Edfu is widely considered to be the most impressive of all the temples on the Nile side along the journey between Luxor and Aswan.
This attraction of ancient Egypt is a must-stop on all cruise ships making the trip on the southern side of the country, which also calls at other locations such as Esna and Kom Ombo.
Like Esna, the temple at Edfu is a late build. It was built during the Greco-Roman period by Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV; other additions were made later.
Still, the builders meticulously preserved the form of the true pharaohs of Egypt. As a result, a visit to Edfu allows you to see what all the other ruined temples around Egypt would
look like if they had been built 2000 years later.
Temple of Edfu
The Temple of Edfu, built above the vast river valley and spared from damage by Nile floods, is the most entirely preserved Egyptian temple.
The temple, which dominates this west-bank village 53 kilometers south of Esna, is one of the last ancient efforts at large-scale construction.
The well-preserved reliefs of the temple have supplied archaeologists with a wealth of information regarding temple rites and the authority of the priests.
Walking through the enormous dismal halls, tourists are sometimes overcome with amazement by the secrets of ancient Egypt.
Edfu, a sugar and pottery town, is a cheerful, busy provincial center. Even though it is an agricultural town, tourism is the primary source of income.
Practically everyone seems to be interested in the tourist mart, which all tourists must fight to reach the temple.
As in other Egyptian towns, the main street is lined with mobile phone stores, and the town’s nerve center, the central plaza, is lined with popular café-restaurants.
The post office is behind the enormous, modern telephone center on the square’s southern side, right down the first street off to the left.
On the waterfront where the cruise ships land, several charming café-restaurants have lately opened. The bus, minibus, and service taxi station are located near the town’s entrance, adjacent to the Nile bridge.
Who was Horus?
Horus is an ancient Egyptian god who has had various roles throughout history. Initially, he was considered the god of the sky and is best known as this with his depiction as a falcon.
His eyes embodied the sun and moon and bestowed blessings and hope on the inhabitants of his kingdom, the second Upper Egyptian district.
Since Horus showed himself as the emblem of a victorious people, his importance as a war-bringing leader was carried further, and finally; he was regarded as a king-god.
He was considered the head of the ruling kings and was therefore used symbolically in the name of the kings.
Where is the Temple of Horus located?
The picturesque Temple of Horus is located in the center of Edfu, on the western side of the River Nile between Esna and Aswan.
The temple was built strategically so that it was away from the desert but also not affected by the floods of the Nile River in Egypt. In the 19th century, the village of the locals extended to the temple,
with some houses at the foot of the roof of the temple when it was still covered with sand, the buildings have been removed, but you can still see that the excavation is still very evident.
What is the Temple of Horus famous for?
The temple had preserved its beautiful scenery and architectural and decorative elements despite being buried under sand for several years before 1860 AD,
when French archaeologist Auguste Mariette discovered it, cleaned it, and restored some of its parts. This allowed the temple to retain its original appearance.
The massive structure that serves as the temple for the worship of the god Horus is made up of two towers, and it is preceded by two granite statues of Horus in the form of a falcon.
While the front of the building is embellished with depictions of King Ptolemy XII prevailing over his foes and other scenes showing him with gods, the inside of the building is left plain.
The construction that composes the temple is known as the Entrance Pylon, and both the inside and outside of it are covered with inscriptions and reliefs.
The Great Court is a large enclosure that is enclosed on three sides by a gallery that’s also supported by thirty-two columns. Historically, sacrifices were made to Horus on a large altar located within the Great Court.
The Hypostyle Hall is made up of twelve columns that are arranged in three rows. In addition to having ornamental capitals, they are pretty slim. We locate two antechambers and the Sanctuary at the back of the temple.
In the Sanctuary, the sacred barge of Horus stood on a modest altar. The reliefs in the temple’s outside passage show Horus triumphing over the evil empire, represented by either a crocodile or a hippopotamus.
In addition to being decorated on the inside, the outside of the Temple includes reliefs.
Horus’ Temple Facts
On the west side, 242 stairs lead up to the rooftop, where there is a spectacular view of the Nile and adjacent fields. If you want to get up here, you may have to give the guard some baksheesh.
The second antechamber leads to the sanctuary of Horus, which still has the polished-granite shrine that previously contained Horus’ gold worship figure. This statue was created during the reign of Nectanebo II (360–343 BC) and was reused by the Ptolemies in their larger temple.
Smaller shrines to other gods, including as Hathor, Ra, and Osiris, may be seen everywhere around Horus’ sanctuary, as well as a contemporary replica of the wooden barque in which Horus’ statue would be transported out of the temple in procession during joyous occasions.
Look for the ruins of the Nilometer on the eastern enclosure wall, which monitored the level of the river and helped anticipate the next crop.