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Egypt: Historical Pharaonic Egyptian Sites - Pharaonic Temples


Historical Egyptian Sites - Pharaonic Temples

For additional information on ancient Egyptian temples, see our special section on temples. Note, however, that mortuary and valley temples associated with pyramids are found in our special pyramids section and our article list on pyramids. Thee is also a list of tombs as well as other monuments not specific to temples, tombs or pyramids. For additional comprehensive information see Monuments in Egypt


Abu Simbel by Marie Parsons

Perhaps after the Giza pyramids, or coincident with them, the great temple of Abu Simbel presents the most familiar image of ancient Egypt to the modern traveler and reader. When the conservation efforts to preserve the temple from the soon-to be built High Aswan Dam and its rising waters were begun in the 1960s, images of the colossal statues filled newspapers and books. The temples were dismantled and relocated in 1968 on the desert plateau, 200 feet above and 600 feet west of their original location.

Abydos by Marie Parsons

Abydos, or Abjdu, lies in the eight nome of Upper Egypt, about 300 miles south of Cairo, on the western side of the Nile and about 9.5 miles from the river. It spreads over 5 square miles and contains archaeological remains from all periods of ancient Egyptian history. It was significant in historical times as the main cult center of Osiris, the lord of the netherworld. At the mouth of the canyon at Abydos, which the Egyptians believed to be the entrance to the underworld, one of the tombs of the 1st dynasty kings was mistaken for the tomb of Osiris, a thousand years later, and pilgrims would leave offerings to the god for another thousand years. The area is thus now called Umm el Qaab, "Mother of Pots."

The Temple of Ain el-Muftella in the Bahariya Oasis Jimmy Dunn writing as Brian Rosewood

The Temple of Ain el-Muftella may have once served as the city center of El Qasr which is today the modern town of Bawiti in the Bahariya Oasis. It was most likely built around the time of the 26th Dynasty, though some sections of the temple may date from earlier in the New Kingdom. The temple was probably added to by both the Greeks, and later the Romans. We know that parts of the temple were built by a high priest named Zed-Khonsu-efankh who's brother, Sheben-Khonsu was governor of the district during the reign of Ahmose II. After the death of Sheben-Khonsu, Zed-Khonsu-efankh also took on his brother's role as governor. Fakhry investigated the site in 1939 leading to his mistaken opinion that the structures were four separate chapels.

Akhmim (Ipu) Jimmy Dunn writing as Alan Winston

Akhmim, is an area on the east bank of the Nile opposite modern Sohag. The ancient Egyptians called it Ipu or Khent-min. To the Coptics it was Khmin or Shmin, and so the Greeks called it Khemmis. It was once a great center in Egypt, and the capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian nome. Regrettably, very little of its monuments remain today, as most building material was dismantled and used in nearby villages during the Middle Ages. Its ancient necropolis has never been systematically excavated. Northeast of Akmin there is a rock chapel at el-Salamuni that was dedicated to the local god Min. The Greek god Pan was associated with Min, so the town was also called Panopolis.

The Temple of Alexander the Great in the Bahariya Oasis Jimmy Dunn writing as Brian Rosewood

The temple of Alexander the Great located in the Bahariya Oasis has the distinction of being the Macedonian ruler's only known temple in Egypt. The temple was built during Alexander's lifetime and dedicated to Amun and Horus. Ahmed Fakhry never found the stela of Tuthmose II that he was searching for when he stumbled across the temple in 1938, but this discovery, very near the (then unknown) Valley of the Golden Mummies, most certainly made up for that failure. It was to be Fakhry's last day in the Bahariya Oasis and he was exploring a spring called Ain el-Tabinieh, about three miles west of El Qasr (Bawiti), that had been mentioned by Sir Gardner Wilkinson in 1837. Here, he discovered a mound surrounded by stones that he thought might be a New Kingdom temple.

Alexandria, Egypt's Submerged Monuments by the Egyptian Government

Within the last few years, more and more relics are being discovered in Egypt's Alexandria's harbor. Take a look at some of the discoveries.

The Temple of Amada in Nubia by Craig Hildreth

The Amada Temple in Nubia, though small, nevertheless contains some important historical inscriptions and is also significant as the oldest of the Lake Nasser temples. For example, one carved on a stela on the rear wall of the sanctuary in the third year of Amenhotep II describes an Egyptian military campaign into Asia, and his bringing back the bodies of rebel chieftains to hang on the walls of Thebes and one on the prow of his ship sailing through Nubia as a warning.

The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III on the West Bank at Luxor Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Amenhotep III built not only the largest temple at Thebes (on the West Bank at Luxor), but in Egypt, measuring 700 by 550 meters. It covered 385,000 square meters (4,200,000 square feet). It was even larger than the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. The temple's architect was also named Amenhotep, but was the son of Hapu. Unfortunately, it seem that the temple began to decay rapidly, and during the reign of Merenptah, it was actively used as a source of limestone blocks for the temple of that ruler. The reason for this was perhaps a brilliant, but regrettable religious concept. The temple was apparently uniquely built on the flood plain. The temple was purposely built so low that the inundation of the Nile would flood its outer courts and halls, probably leaving only the inner sanctuary, built on a knoll above water level, dry. Thus, when the water receded, the whole temple symbolized the emergence of the world from the primeval waters of creation.

An Overview of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

Karnak is one of the premier sites in all of Egypt and one of the most visited. In fact, it is perhaps one of, if not the largest religious complex ever constructed anywhere in the world. This vast complex demonstrates the religious significance of the area in ancient times. Though this complex is very complex, by far the largest system of temples is that of Amun, a local god of Thebes (modern Luxor) who rose to national importance during Egypt's New Kingdom. The Temple of Amun, unusually, is built along two axis running both east-west and north-south. It's construction took place over many centuries, and at the command of many different Egyptian kings.

Bani Hasan al Shurruq by Dr. Susan Wilson

A really neat, off the beaten track, site to visit is Bani Hasan (also spelled Beni Hasan). Located in Middle Egypt near to Al-Minya, Bani Hasan is one of the few Middle Kingdom sites (ca. 2040 1782 BCE, Dynasties XI and XII) that survived the massive reconstruction of the New Kingdom. It is a full days excursion from Cairo (about 4 hours by train then a short drive to the site). Another great option, is to stop for a night in Al-Minya when traveling by train between Cairo and Luxor. Spend the night and enjoy the beauty of Al-Minya, the closest city to Bani Hasan.

Tell Basta (Bubastis, or Per-Bastet) Jimmy Dunn writing as John Warren

Tell Basta (Bubastis or Per-Bastet, meaning "The Domain of Bastet) is the site of an ancient city about 80 km to the northeast of Cairo in the eastern Nile Delta. The ancient mound sets just to the southeastern side of modern Zagazig. It was an important city from about the 4th Dynasty until the end of the Roman Period (2613 BC through 395 AD), and was the capital of the 18th Lower Egyptian nome during the Late Period. However, we also know that even as early as the 2nd Dynasty, a number of kings built up close ties with the city and the Temple of Bastet. Besides the important Temple of Bastet, the city also occupied key ground along the routs from Memphis to the Sinai (Wadi Tumilat) and to Asia.

The Temple of Beit el-Wali in Nubia by Craig Hildreth

Beit (Beyt) el-Wali, today, is located just south of the Aswan High Dam, very close to the Kalabsha Temple, making it easily a part of any tour that explores Nubia's monuments. Of the cluster of moments that were moved to New Kalabsha during the construction of the High Dam in order to avoid their burial beneath this great lake, this temple is the oldest, and for a long time, was by far the oldest though now the Temple of Gerf Hussein also dating to the reign of Ramesses II resides on the island.

The Temple of Bes at Bawiti in the Bahariya Oasis by Brain Rosewood

This temple was discovered by a resident of El Bawiti in 1988, so as discoveries go in Egypt, it is fairly recent. This individual discovered an inscribed piece of basalt within the old section of El Bawiti, which prompted the local antiquity authorities to investigate the site. Interestingly, this artifact was carved with the cartouche of Akhenaten, and is the only evidence of this heretic pharaoh that has been found in the oasis. This temple dates from the Greek period, but there is evidence that the cult and temple operated into the 4th century AD.

Buto (Modern Tell el-Farein) Jimmy Dunn writing as John Warren

Nekhen was the capital of southern Egypt during the predynastic period. In the North, Nekhen's counterpart was Buto, which we believe is the area known as Tell el-Farain today (though there is some uncertainty regarding this). Buto probably came about as the merger of two different centers. The Pyramid Text refers to the "kings of Lower Egypt who were in Pe. In some of the references, Pe is associated with Horus, the Falcon god, so early on Horus was probably worshipped in both Lower and Upper Egypt. The text also references a place called Dep where the god Wadjet was worshipped. Pe and Dep were apparently neighboring cities. Eventually, these two cities together were called Per-Wadjet reflecting their two gods and from this came the Greek name of Buto.

The Temple of Dakka in Nubia by Craig Hildreth

The temple of Dakka, dedicated to Thoth of the Sycamore Fig, was originally located about 100 kilometers south of the Aswan High Dam in what we refer to today as Nubia, though much of that ancient land is covered by Lake Nasser. El-Dakka was known to the Egyptians as Pselqet and to the Greeks as Pselchis. Because of the impending flooding of the region as a result of the High Dam, it was moved to the site of el-Sebua, about 40 kilometers upstream, between 1962 and 1968.

Deir el-Bahri by Marie Parsons

Lying directly across the Nile from the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak, the rock amphitheater of Deir el-Bahri provides a natural focal point of the west bank terrain and an inviting site for the temples of many rulers. The natural rock amphitheater, a deep bay in the cliffs, was an important religious and funerary site in the Theban area. The remains of the temples of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, Hatshepsut, and Tuthmosis III, as well as private tombs dating to those reigns and through to the Ptolemaic period can be found here.

Deir al-Hagar Temple in the Dakhla Oasis of Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

Deir al-Hagar (Deir el-Hagar, Deir el-Haggar) can be translated as "Monastery of Stone", and in ancient times this was a lone Roman Period temple located south of the cultivated area of the Dakhla Oasis in Egypt about ten kilometers from el-Qasr in the desert. Its ancient name was Setweh, Place of Coming Home. This is a sandstone temple erected during the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-67 AD), and decorated during the time of Vespasian (69-79 AD), Titus (79-81 AD) and Domitian (81-96 AD), who decorated he monumental gateway. Other Roman rulers made small contributions to the decorations, with the latest inscriptions dating to the 3rd century AD.

The Dendera Temple Complex Jimmy Dunn writing as Alan Winston

Dotted about the landscape of modern Egypt are many ancient temples from the Mediterranean coast all the way to the southern border with the Sudan, most located in the Nile Valley but scattered elsewhere as well. Some of these temples are famous and stand out from the others, such the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, Philae, Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu and others. Among these most important temples may also be counted Dendera, which provides examples of a particularly rich variety of later temple features. Dendera is located about 60 kilometers north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile River opposite the provincial modern town of Qena. Dendera is located in an area that in ancient times was known as Iunet, or Tantere (Greek Tentyris), which was a provincial capital and and important religious site during several periods of Egyptian history.

The Temple of Dendur in New York by Jimmy Dunn

Not all Ancient Egyptian Temples today are located in Egypt. The Temple of Dendur, now in New York, is one of the finest examples.

The Temple of Derr in Nubia by Craig Hildreth

The Temple of Derr, like many others in Nubia, was dismantled in 1964 in order to save it from the waters of Lake Nasser. It was moved to a new location close to that of the temple of Amada from its original site on the Nile's east bank a few miles to the south. This is another example of Ramesses II's rock hewn temples, built during about the 30th year of his reign to celebrate his Sed festival. This temple is similar in many respects to his other speos style monuments in Nubia, including Abu Simbel. The ancient Egyptians named it "Temple of Ramses-in-the-House-of-Re".

Dush, the Temple, Fortress and Ancient Town of Kysis near the Kharga Oasis of Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

What we refer to today as Dush, some 125 kilometers south of Kharga deep in the Sahara Desert of Egypt was, in ancient times, Kysis, a border town that held a garrisoned fortress to protect a small community with a cultivated area. Few of Egypt's ruins are more remote, but this was a major military installation during the Roman Period of Egyptian history at its location where five ancient desert tracks met. Today, the area is strewn with thousands upon thousands of potsherds mixed in among two ancient temples and several cemeteries including about 150 Ottoman tombs, attesting to the continued use of the site. The area was excavated by the Institut Francais d'Archeologie Orientale, whose dig house is at the base of the hill.

Edfu by Marie Parsons

The town of Edfu is located on the west back of the Nile River, some sixty miles south of Luxor, with Aswan further south. Its ancient name was Wetjeset-Hrw, or "The Place Where Horus is Extolled."

The Temple of Gerf Hussein in Nubia by Craig Hildreth

Gerf Hussein, or more correctly, Per Ptah, the "House of Ptah", so named by the ancient Egyptians, was actually the work of a high ranking official named Setaw (Setau) during the reign of Ramesses II. Other temples built in Nubia during the reign of Ramesses II include Beit el-Wali, el-Sabua, el-Derr, Aksha and of course, Abu Simbel (and some small additions to the Amada). Setaw was the viceroy of Nubia, and he supervised the temple's construction on the same plan as Ramesses II's temple at Wadi al-Sabua.

Grandfather, Father, Son: A Comparison of Mortuary Temples on the West Bank at Luxor (Ancient Thebes) by Jane Akshar

On the West Bank in Luxor (ancient Thebes) many of the New Kingdom pharaohs built their mortuary temples. These would be vehicles both for the worship of the King after he died and became a God, as well as other cult purposes. They were used for events like the Feast of the Valley. Thus, the king assured the continuity of worship at his temple for many hundreds of years. It is interesting to contrast the styles of the pharaohs and the condition of the temples today. For this very personal analysis I have chosen the mortuary temples of Seti I, Ramesses II and Merenptah. The nice thing about these three temples is that they have few visitors.

The Great Aten Temple at Amarna by Jimmy Dunn

The Great Temple at Amarna, ancient Akhetaten, occupies the largest, northernmost area in the oldest section of the area known as Central City. In fact, in this earliest of Amarna's divisions, it appears to perhaps be the oldest structure, and three different periods of building can be differentiated from the remains. The temple complex, known as Per-Aten-em-Akhetaten (The House of the Sun Disc in Akhetaten), was also probably the most important facility at Amarna during the reign of Akhenaten. The temple was unlike all other orthodox Egyptian temples built before it in almost every way. The reconstructed plan of the great enclosure appears relatively empty due to its largely open-air design, yet is contained a number of discrete temple structures.

Hathor Temple at Deir el-Medina by Jane Akshar

The Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor at Deir el-Medina is a gem that is frequently missed by tourists to the West Bank at Luxor.

Heliopolis, Egypt's Iunu by Marie Parsons

Heliopolis, or On in Coptic, was the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome. By the time of the Old Kingdom, the city was a center of astronomy as reflected in the title of its high priest, wr-m3w, "Chief of Observers" or "Greatest of Seers. This title was held by Imhotep during the 3rd Dynasty reign of King Djoser Netjerikhet, and dates earlier to the reign of Khasekhemwy in the second dynasty.

Heracleum: The Legendary Submerged City by The Egyptian Government

Following years of archeological and sonar surveys in the Gulf of Abu-Qeer, an Egyptian-French expedition recently discovered important antiquities in two sites; the first is Minotis, the eastern suburb of Canup lying 2km off-shore and the second is the city of Heracleum, 6.5km off- shore. Thousands of artifacts, including bronze coins mostly belonging to the Ptolemic era, two gold coins, three colossal statues, two paintings with Greek inscriptions, some jewelry, several day-to-day utensils, earthenware and some amulets were found. Experts have described this find, in economic and tourist terms, as next in importance to the discoveries of Tutankhamun's tomb and the solar boats. The finds were sent to the Roman Museum in Alexandria for restoration and treatment for salty contents.

The Temple of Hercules in the Bahariya Oasis by Brain Rosewood

The Temple of Hercules was discovered only recently in October 1996 by Faraq Allah Abdeen, and Antiquities Inspector at Bahariya. Initially, it was investigated by that local office, and was later excavated by a team led by Dr. Zahi Hawass. We know believe that it was probably constructed in about the year 21 BC, during the reign of Octavian Augustus. However, there may be some question regarding this date, given the many Greek inscriptions found about the various ruins. The temple cult probably functioned until the second century AD.

The Temple of Hibis in the Kharga Oasis Jimmy Dunn writing as Brian Rosewood

The largest and best preserved temple in the Kharga Oasis is the Temple of Hibis, probably because it was buried in sand until the excavators dug it out early during the twentieth century. In fact, it is one of the finest temples anywhere in Egypt from the Persian period. Hibis, from the Egyptian Hebet, meaning "the plough", is located just over two kilometers north of the modern city of Kharga. The town associated with the temple, known as the Town of the Plough, was in ancient times the garrisoned (known as the fortress of Qasr el-Ghuieta) capital of the Oasis, easily covering a square kilometer. It lay in the valley between the foothills of Gebels al-Teir and Nadura.

Karnak by Marie Parsons

Karnak describes a vast conglomerate of ruined temples, chapels and other buildings of various dates. The name Karnak comes from the nearby village of el-Karnak. Whereas Luxor to the south was Ipet-rsyt, Karnak was ancient Ipet-isut, perhaps the most select of Places. Theban kings and the god Amun came to prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. From that time, the temples of Karnak were built, enlarged, torn down, added to, and restored for more than 2000 years.

Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

We have spent a number of months and considerable effort to bring to our readers a complete guide to the Karnak Complex and the Temple of Amun at Luxor (ancient Thebes). This is one of Egypt's supersites, visited by just about every tourist interested in Egypt's antiquities, and for good reason. The ancient Egyptian kings lavished fortunes on this complex over more than a thousand years, creating the largest temple complex ever built by man. Join us in exploring this greatest of all ancient temples and explore the wonders of ancient Egypt's Empire Period.

Karnak, The Approach to the Temple of Amun Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

The Temple of Amun at Karnak, which actually houses a number of integrated temples and chapels, is both the central and principal construct at Karnak. It's primary modern entrance is on the west, some 600 meters from the Nile, and consists of a number of structures and statues leading up and through the first Pylon. Here, a quay built by Ramesses II gave access to the temple from a canal linked to the Nile in ancient times. A small barque chapel of Hakoris (393-380 BC) stands to the right of the quay which once acted as a resting station on the gods' processional journeys to and from the river.

The First Courtyard at the Temple of Amun, Karnak Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

In the first courtyard of the Temple of Amun at Karnak, on the inside of the courtyard abutted up against the inside of he first pylon is a construction platform built of brick caissons enclosing packed earth between retaining walls perpendicular to the pylon, which is evidence that the first pylon was still under construction when the work was abandoned. The first, western pylon of the Temple of Amun at Karnak (in modern Luxor, ancient Thebes) forms the facade to a large, somewhat square courtyard measuring some 84.12 by 99.4 meters. It is bordered on two sides by a portico with columns built during the 22nd Dynasty rule of Sheshonk I (Shoshenq I) , though he left the columns here undecorated except for the five standard bands indicating constriction that separate the column shafts from the capitals. The capitals themselves or in the form of closed buds.

The Great Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Amun, Karnak, Part I An Overview and the Exterior Walls Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

It is difficult for one to think of Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), much less the section known as the Temple of Amun, without picturing the Great Hypostyle Hall. This is the large area just behind the second pylon in the Temple of Amun, which is a veritable forest in stone, and measures some 99.4 by 51.82 meters.. At one point, it was called "The Temple of Seti Merneptah is Lumininous in the House of Amun" and was described by the ancient Egyptians as "the resting place of the Lord of gods, beautiful sojourn of the Ennead" and "the beautiful sojourn of the Ennead, where Amun rests, the place of appearance of the Lord of the gods at his annual feast"

The Great Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Amun, Karnak, Part 2: The Columns Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

Within the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in what was ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), there are four groups of columns, separated by the central aisle which is oriented to the longitudinal axis of the temple, and by a transverse path perpendicular to this axis with access by the doors in the northern and southern walls. As we peer through the second, western pylon of the temple we see an aisle bordered by twelve huge columns with open papyrus capitals.

The Great Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Amun, Karnak, Part 3 The Interior Walls Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

In examining the interior walls of the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, beginning on the inside of the north wing of the second pylon, it would be almost impossible to describe every scene, so we must here limit our narration to specific examples. Almost all of the interior walls of the Hypostyle Hall are dedicated to Seti I, and his more famous son, Ramesses II. who dominate the northern and southern sections respectively.

The Hypostyle Hall between the 4th and 5th Pylons in the Temple of Amun at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

As we pass through the ruins of the fourth pylon at Karnak (the Temple of Amun in Modern Luxor, ancient Thebes), we enter the vast complex of the Temple of Ipet-Sut of Amun proper. This was the original gate of the temple. Here, between the fourth and fifth pylons is what has been termed the "Hypostyle Hall" of the temple of Ipet-Sut, not to be confused with the Great Hypostyle Hall which precedes it. The wall that surrounds the whole of this element of the temple was erected by Tuthmosis III, but decorated at certain places on the inside by Ramesses II. Just within the gate to either side of the interior of the fourth pylon are Osirian Pillars.

The Colonnade of Tuthmosis I and the Vestibule and Antechamber of Tuthmosis III Between the Fifth and Sixth Pylons at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

In the Temple of Amun proper at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), eyond the small Hypostyle Hall situated between the fourth and fifth Pylons is a vestibule and antechamber that lies between the fifth and sixth pylons. This is a relatively narrow, symmetrical space divided by a doorway in the name of Tuthmosis III that divides a colonnade of Tuthmosis I.

The Obelisk Court of Amenhotep III In The Temple of Amun at Karnak Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

The small area between the Third Pylon and the Fourth Pylon, which was during the time of Tuthmosis I the front of the the Temple of Amun at Karnak, is sometimes referred to as the Obelisk Court or the Court of Amenhotep III. During the course of the Great Feast of Opet and the Feast of the Valley at Thebes which occurred each year, the sacred barques of Amun, Mut and Khonsu were led in a procession to the Temple of Luxor, Opet of the South, and the funerary temples of on the West Bank. Their boats departed Karnak and were towed by other boats that were propelled by oarsman. Covering almost the entire width of the eastern face (rear) of the north wing of the third pylon are depicted the two boats of Amun and the king.

The Peristyle Court of Tuthmosis III, The Naos of Philip Arrhidaeu and the Sanctuary of Hateshpsut Beyond the Sixth Pylon in the Temple of Amun At Karnak in Luxor, Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

Beyond the Sixth Pylon in the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes (modern Luxor) is an inverted T-shaped area where the top of the T is made up of the peristyle court of Tuthmosis III, and the leg of the T is a barque sanctuary filled by the granite naos of Philip Arrhidaeu, who was Alexander the Great's immediate successor for a brief period of time.

The "Central Courtyard" and the Festival Hall of Tuthmosis III in the Temple of Amun at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

Beyond the 6th Pylon and past the peristyle courtyard of Tuthmosis III, the Chapels of Hatshepsut and the Naos of Philip Arrhidaeus in the Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor), is the sanctuaries of the Middle Kingdom and beyond those, the sed festival buildings of Tuthmosis III. To the north of the Middle Kingdom sanctuaries, which are at the heart of the temple, are the continuation of Tuthmosis III's north chapels.

The Temple of the "Hearing Ear" on the Eastern Wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

In the middle of the outer east wall of the third enclosure that surrounded the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor) is located the eastern sanctuary of Amun-Re, which is known as a Chapel of the "Hearing Hear". It is a small sanctuary which contained no entrance to the inner temple because it was built for common Egyptians, who were not generally allowed into much if any of the temple proper, in order to allow them to worship and partition the all important god, Amun.

The Courtyard of the Cachette in the Temple of Amun at Karnak by Jimmy Dunn

The Great Temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (ancient Thebes) is built on two axis. The main axis is usually referred to as being oriented east-west, though the temple is not really aligned on these precise coordinates at all. Rather, it is aligned to the Nile River, that in general runs north south and the main axis is perpendicular to it. The north-south axis of the temple is the secondary axis which branches off from the main axis between the 3rd and 4th Pylons of the main axis. Traditionally, Egyptologists think of the entrance to the main axis of the temple as the first pylon at Karnak and working in through that to successively numbered pylons.

The Courtyard of the Cachette in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Part II by Jimmy Dunn

The statues unearthed in the Karnak Cachette provide a remarkable compendium of Egyptian statuary, and form a sort of art history of sculpture throughout Egypt's history. Objects in the cachette date from the Old Kingdom through the late Ptolemaic Period, covering the spectrum of ancient Egyptian history. Prominent are statues and objects from the New Kingdom, the Third Intermediate Period and the 25th Dynasty, periods when Thebes was most active, while fewer objects are found from the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Also in the 26th Dynasty, the kings transferred central power to the north once more, and this is reflected in a noticeable decline in the number of statues from that period.

The Courtyard Between the Seventh and Eighth Pylons In the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

Beyond the Courtyard of the Cachette in the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (ancient Thebes) is the second court defined between the Seventh and Eighth Pylons of Karnak's secondary north-south axis. Walking through the Seventh Pylon, the interior doorpost west of the passage includes a stylobate with niches surmounted by cartouches of Tuthmosis III and the winged disk.

After the Eighth Pylon in the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (Ancient Thebes), Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

The north-south secondary axis of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor) consists of four courtyards divided and terminated by four pylons. In reality, the first two courtyards fall along a straight axis, while the second two (southernmost) are expanded in size and take a somewhat more easterly axis, with the third courtyard larger than the second and the last being largest of all.

The Osirian Temple of Taharqa at Karnak in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

South of the main east-west axis of the temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (ancient Thebes), and east of the secondary north-south axis is the Sacred Lake of the temple. A number of structures surround the lake, including a small building on its northwest corner that is known as the Osirian Temple of Taharqa. Though this structure is not specifically attached to the main temple complex, it is in alignment with the main axis and attached to the Sacred Lake, and should probably be considered as a part of the temple of Amun.

The Sacred Lake and the Monumental Scarab at The Temple of Amun at Karnak in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

To the south of the girdle wall of Ramesses II at the Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Thebes (modern Luxor) is a rectangular Sacred Lake, dug by Tuthmosis III. It is the largest of its kind, that we know of, and is lined with stone and provided with stairways descending into the water. It measures some 120 meters (393 feet) by 77 meters (252 feet). We believe that most temple precincts included a sacred lake. Water from the lake was used by the priests for ritual ablutions and other temple needs, and was also home to the sacred geese of Amun.

Khnum, The Temple of at Esna Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The modern Egyptian village of Esna, which was ancient Iunyt or Ta-senet (from which the Coptic Sne and Arabic Isna derive), was built in the area of ancient Latopolis and is the site of a major temple dedicated to the god Khnum. Under the Greeks and Romans, the city became the capital of the Third Nome of Upper Egypt. Besides Khnum, the temple was dedicated to several other deities, the most prominent of whom were Neith and Heka. This was the ram god that was worshipped through out this area and who fashioned mankind from mud of the Nile on his potter's wheel. Esna is located about fifty kilometers south of Luxor. The temple now stands in the middle of the modern town at a level about nine meters below that of the surrounding grounds. However, texts mentions that it was built on the site of a temple that may have been constructed as early as the reign of Tuthmosis III.

The Khonsu Temple at Karnak Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

The Temple of Khonsu at Karnak is located in the southwest corner of the precinct of Amun in Luxor (ancient Thebes). It provides an excellent example of a small but complete New Kingdom temple. This temple, located in one of Egypt's most frequently visited tourist areas, is well worth a visit. Notably, the roof with its sun chapel provides an excellent panorama of Karnak which was captured in a well-known drawing by the 19th century artist, David Roberts. Begun under Ramesses III, the temple continued to be renewed up into the Roman era.

Kom Ombo by the Egyptian Government

While the stone differs from that of all the other temples perhaps because it was covered with sand for so long, the outstanding feature of the Kom Ombo Temple is the unusual, even unique, ground plan, the result of the unification of two adjacent temples, each dedicated to a distinct divinity: the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world, and Haroeris or the ancient falcon-headed Horus, the solar war god. This was why the temple was called both "House of the Crocodile" and "Castle of the Falcon". An imaginary line divides the temple longitudinally into two parts, each with its entrance, hypostyle halls, chapels, etc.

Kom Ombo, Temple of Sobek & Haroeris Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Kom Ombo is a very special Ancient Egyptian Temple, really two in fact, equally dedicated to Sobek and Horus the Edler

Karnak's Open Air Museum by Jane Akshar

The Open Air Museum at Karnak in Luxor is often missed by tourists, but it contains many fine and noteworthy chapels.

The Lost Temples of Nubia by Craig Hildreth

Any fan of ancient Egypt is familiar with the rescue work performed by Egypt and the world community in Nubia in order to save monuments located there from the rising waters of Lake Nasser created by the High Aswan Dam. More than 22 missions from all over the world were actively excavating for the buried treasures over which the Nubians were living. Many, many monuments were saved, some re-erected near their original locations on high ground, a number of others moved to Khartoum in the Sudan, while still other small temples were actually given away to foreign governments who assisted in the rescue operation.

Luxor Temple by Marie Parsons

The name Luxor represents both the present-day metropolis that was ancient Thebes, and the temple on the eastern bank which adjoins the town. "Luxor" derives from the Arabic al-uksur, meaning "fortifications". That name in addition was adapted from the Latin castrum which referred to the Roman fort built around the temple in the later third century ACE.

Luxor Temple, Part I: An Introduction Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Luxor Temple is one of Egypt's most major Tourist sites, and has been throughout the ages and even today, a sacred site.

Luxor Temple, Part II: Exterior Structures Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Situated outside of the Luxor Temple proper is the Avenue of Sphinxes, colossal statues and various interesting Roman structures.

Luxor Temple, Part III: The First Pylon and the Peristyle Courtyard of Ramesses II Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Within the Temple of Luxor, the First Pylon and courtyard are the newest sections, and are the work of Ramesses the Great

Luxor Temple, Part IV: The Great Colonnade of Amenhotep III Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

It is from the colonnade of Amenhotep III, one of the older sections of the Temple of Luxor, that we learn about the Opet Festival.

Luxor Temple, Part V: The Sun Court and Hypostyle Hall of Amenhotep III Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Sun Court and the Hypostyle Hall of Amenhotep III are two of the finest and best preserved areas within the Temple of Luxor.

Luxor Temple, Part VI: Beyond the Hypostyle Hall and the Southern Opet Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

In our final section on the Temple of Luxor, we explore some of the most sacred spaces, including a shrine of Alexander the Great.

Maru-Aten Cult Complex at South Amarna, The by Jimmy Dunn

The complex known as the Maru-Aten is well to the south of the main residential areas of Amarna (ancient A located near the river and the village of el-Hawata. Though now lost beneath modern fields, it was excavated by Leonard Woolley in 1921 and later by others, so we know that it once consisted of two contiguous enclosures oriented on an east-west axis. The larger of these enclosures contained a symbolic complex of temples, a lake and a palace. Within the southern enclosure is what has been called the entrance hall, a large court with four rows of nine columns each. The limestone capitals of these columns were palmiform and filled in with colored pastes.

Medinet Habu by Marie Parsons

The ancient Egyptian name for Medinet Habu, in Arabic the "City of Habu" was Djamet, meaning "males and mothers." Its holy ground was believed to be where the Ogdoad, the four pairs of first primeval gods, were buried. Medinet Habu was both a temple and a complex of temples dating from the New Kingdom.

Medinet Madi (in the Fayoum) by Joerg Reid

It is likely that the typical tourist to Egypt will not, on their first visit, tour the Fayoum region, though for those interested in nature, or fossils, perhaps they should. However, for the antiquities enthusiast, there is simply too many other, perhaps somewhat more convenient sights to see. Yet, the Fayoum does offer many important historical monuments. Many of these date from the Graeco-Roman Period, though others are older, including Medinet Madi, which many consider to be one of the most important temples in the Fayoum.

The Temple of Montu at Karnak in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

Toward the end of the Middle Kingdom, before the rise of Amun as a truly national god, Montu-Re, a falcon headed god, was the supreme deity of Upper Egypt, where his four bulls were worshiped in sanctuaries at Karnak (modern Luxor, ancient Thebes), Medamud, Tod and Armant. Just outside of the enclosure wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak, to the north, are the remains of another quadrangular wall that enclosed the temple dedicated to the Montu triad at Karnak.

Montu, Rattawy and Harpocrates at Medamud, Temple of Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Egyptian god, Montu was an important falcon headed god early in the history of the Thebean region. Not only was a temple dedicated to him at Thebes, but also nearby in ancient Madu, today's Medamud about eight kilometers northeast of Luxor. In addition, had cult centers at Armant, and Tod. While there was a Middle Kingdom temple built to the god, and possibly even an earlier structure, it was destroyed.

Montu, Temple of at Tod in Egypt Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Tod, ancient Djerty, and during the Graeco-Roman Period, Tuphium, is a small village built around an ancient mound (Kom) on the eastern bank of the Nile about 20 kilometers south of Luxor (ancient Thebes). It sits just across the Nile from Armant (ancient Hermonthis). Jean-Francois Champollion was one of the first investigators of the ancient ruins. He visited what was left of a high crypt that emerged from the temple that remained buried beneath the village. Then, in 1934, Fernand Bisson de la Roque cleared the ruins of the first two halls, both of which could be dated to the Ptolemaic period.

The Mortuary Temple of Mentuhotep II on the West Bank at Luxor Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The 11th Dynasty terraced tomb of Mentuhotep II, the ruler who united Egypt at the end of the First Intermediate Period, on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) is an anomaly. It was built deep within Egypt's pyramid age, and incorporates many of the elements of pyramids. It may have even had a pyramidal superstructure. The name of this temple was "Mentuhotep's (cult) sites shine blissfully". In many respects, Mentuhotep II's mortuary temple complex had important historical overtures, so it is not surprising that various teams have investigated the site. It was the first temple in Western Thebes to house a cult to the goddess Hathor, and foreshadowed a new theological concept of the "Temples of Millions of Years" that would gain popularity during the New Kingdom.

The Recently Opened Mortuary Temple of Merenptah on the West Bank at Luxor Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The mortuary temple of Merenptah (Merneptah), Ramesses II's thirteenth son and successor, was mostly destroyed long ago, but recently has been restored to a large degree and is one of the newest of the sites on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) available for sightseeing. The restoration work was completed by the Swiss Institute of Archaeology in collaboration with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). In addition, a modern museum has been built near the temple complex in order to display items unearthed during the excavations.

Minor Temple and Other Ruins of the Nile Delta, Part I Jimmy Dunn writing as Monroe Edgar

Minor Temple and Other Ruins of the Nile Delta, Part II Jimmy Dunn writing as Monroe Edgar

Minor Temple and Other Ruins of the Nile Delta, Part III Jimmy Dunn writing as Monroe Edgar

Minor Temple and Other Ruins of the Nile Delta, Part IV Jimmy Dunn writing as Monroe Edgar

It is very easy to think that most building activity occurred in southern Egypt, but this is because the conditions in the Egyptian delta are not conducive to surviving structures. For all of the period prior to the building of the High Dam just south of Aswan, it was flooded yearly, burying any buildings remains which are often even underneath the water table! Often, our best source of information on these temples and other remains are not archaeological digs, but ancient documentation.

The Temple Precinct of Mut at Karnak Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

Mut was the consort of Amun-Re, King of the Gods, and mother of Khonsu, who was associated with the moon. Like many other goddesses, Mut had a human and a feline form. In her human guise, she was a protective mother. As the lioness-headed Sekhmet, she was a fierce defender of Egypt who could turn against humankind if angered. Many of the rituals in Muts temples were aimed at keeping the goddess content. One of Mut's primary temples was located at Karnak. This temple for many years laid in ruins beyond the south gate (200 meters south of the 10th pylon of the Amun Temple) of the Karnak precinct. For some time now it has been undergoing restoration work. However, it remains today a wilderness of grass and cracking pavement.

Nekhen, Greek Hierakonpolis by Marie Parsons

The ancient site of this city, called Nekhen by the Egyptians, its Greek name Hierakonpolis meaning city of the falcon, was long venerated by the ancient Egyptians as the early capital of the Kingdom of Upper Egypt.

Nikratj (Greek Naukratis, modern Kom Gi'eif) by Jimmy Dunn

Nikratj (Greek Naukratis, modern Kom Gi'eif) was a Milesian Greek settlement on the Canopic branch of the Nile in the Western Delta. However, scholars believe that Corinthians may have early on inhabited the city, with the Milesian Greeks arriving later. The City is located about 16 km from Sais, the capital of the 26th Dynasty. Nearby, there is a modern village that seems to have preserved the ancient name as el-Niqrash. Herodotus tells us that Ahmose II gave the site to the Greeks, along with a monopoly on sea trade to Egypt. He also tells us that it was the first and only city in which the early Greek merchants were allowed to settle and so from that standpoint along the city has considerable historical importance.

The Temple of Opet (Ipet, Apet) Jimmy Dunn writing as Jim Fox

The small, but apparently important temple dedicated to the hippopotamus goddess, Opet (Apet, Ipet, Ipy) is located immediately to the west of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak on the east bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). Opet was venerated as a helper of women in Childbirth, and her rather odd temple was primarily built during the Greek Period by Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, and represents one of the last cult buildings erected at Karnak during this period. Decorations were added by several later rulers including the first Roman emperor of Egypt, Augustus. The decorations, though blackened by ancient fires, are quite well preserved. Though nominally dedicated to Opet, the temple really was used in the service of the important god, Amun.

The Temple of the Oracle (Temple of Amun) at the Siwa Oasis in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

In the mostly abandoned village of Aghurmi in the Siwa Oasis in Egypt is a most famous temple of Amun, now more known as the Temple of the Oracle because of Alexander's visit when he conquered Egypt. It sits atop a flat rock, and is a spectacular sight. Built during the 26th Dynasty (though the Oracle's origin is reputed to be much, much older), this temple and its Oracle flourished well into the Greek and Roman periods. There are a number of myths about the founding of this temple. One of them tells of two black priestesses from the Temple of Amun at Thebes who were banished to the desert.

The Temple of Osiris and the Other Temples of Abydos Jimmy Dunn writing as Peter Rome

Abydos was perhaps the principal region for the worship of the god Osiris, who gained popularity to such an extent that, from the Middle Kingdom on, a ritual journey to Abydos was often depicted in private tombs from other parts of Egypt. In fact, Osiris continued to gain popularity throughout most of Egypt's ancient history. Hence, it is no surprise that a number of kings built temple in this location. While we have already covered many of the major temples of Abydos, here we will explore others.

The Temple of Osiris Hek-Djet at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt by Jimmy Dunn

There are approximately twenty minor temples and chapels at Karnak. Some of these must escape our immediate attention, but we will nevertheless highlight one of the smaller temples. Near the northeast corner of the enclosure wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Luxor (ancient Thebes), is a small temple dedicated to Osiris Hek-Djet (Heqadjet, "Ruler of Eternity"). In his book, the Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, Egyptologist Richard H. Wilkinson attributes this crumbling temple to the 22nd Dynasty reign of Osorkon IV, though judging from the scenes within the temple this seems somewhat problematic.

The Other Nubian Temples by Jimmy Dunn

Most every Egyptian enthusiast is familiar with the ancient temples at the north of Lake Nasser, specifically at Philae. And they are equally familiar with Abu Simble far to the south. Far more obscure are the temples that lie in between, south of the High Dam and North of Abu Simbel along Lake Nasser. The land in between these monuments was once known a part of Nubia. When the High Dam was being built, many of these temples were moved during the salvage operation between 1964 and 1968. Just south of the High Dam is New Kalabsha, which can be reached by bus or taxi from Aswan with just a 30 minute drive. Therefore, the main Temple of Kalabsha will also be familiar to many readers.

The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes, Part I Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes, Part II Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes, Part III Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes, Part IV Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

Mention the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) and most people who have any knowledge of ancient Egypt may think of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Ramesseum and the Temple of Hatshepsut, as well as a few other monuments. But this vast necropolis is almost unimaginatively complex, and beyond the many thousands of tombs, obscure temples and chapels ruins dot this landscape. In this short series of articles, we will examine "the other temples" of the West Bank. It should be noted that the reason most of these temples are fairly unknown is that nothing much physically remains of them for the most part. Major temples that we have already documented include.

An Overview of the West Bank at Luxor (Ancient Thebes) Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

The west bank at Luxor is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. It is much more than what we refer to as the Valley of the Kings, though many have called the whole of the area by that name. In fact, many good books on the west bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes) are titled, "Valley of the Kings", even though they cover the entire area. It can be a bit confusing for the novice, particularly considering the actual conceptual scope of the religious concept. If one looks at just the Valley of the Kings, one only sees tombs, but the tombs were an integral part of larger mortuary complexes. Indeed, the whole west bank is honeycombed with tombs, not just of the ancient Egyptian Kings, but of their families and the noblemen who served them.

Palace of the Sun Kingby Dr. Joann Fletcher

Although the ancient Egyptians are best known for the monumental tombs and temples they built profusely, far less is known about the actual homes in which they lived their lives.This is mainly due to the fact that they built their housing close to the banks of the river Nile, whereas their tombs and temples were situated away from the limited arable land on the desert edge. And since these temples and tombs were regarded as houses of eternity, designed to last 'millions of years', they were built from hard stone, in contrast to the houses of the living which were made of easily available mud brick. Take a look at the ancient palaces with Dr. Joann Fletcher.

Philae Temple by Marie Parsons

The island of Philae, measuring 500 yards from north to south and 160 yards from east to west was the center of the cult of the goddess Isis and her connection with Osiris, Horus, and the Kingship, during the Ptolemaic p

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