Temple of the god Horus in the city of Edfu in Egypt
Many call this temple simply "the temple of Edfu," and many tourists have the false impression that Edfu is one of many ancient Egyptian gods. However, this is not so, the temple is located near the city of Edfu, and he is dedicated to the God of the Mountain, who played various roles in different periods of the history of Egypt.
This temple can be called one of the most not ancient Egyptian, however strange it may sound. The fact is that it was built already in the Hellenistic period, when Egypt was ruled by the descendants of the Macedonian commander, a close friend and companion of Alexander (Great) Macedon, Ptolemy.
Construction began around 250 BC, which by the standards of ancient Egypt "very recently." This is the reason for its excellent preservation, especially the inscriptions, which are the most valuable source of knowledge about the ancient writing for Egyptologists.
In the temple you can see not only the classical Egyptian writing, but also the ancient Greek features, which, again, is due to the mixture of cultures that occurred after the conquest of Egypt in 332. To make the reader understand better why this happened, we will dip quite a bit into this part of the history of the country.
In 332, Alexander entered Alexander, who was not given any resistance, since he arranged local nobility and priesthood much more than the Persians. The most battle-worthy part of the Egyptian army was already killed at the Battle of Issus, fighting on the side of Persia. In connection with these circumstances, Alexander was proclaimed the son of the god Amon-Ra and the pharaoh.
Alexander no longer appeared in Egypt, he spent his entire life in campaigns and died in Babylon in 323 BC, by this time he had an heir, but he was not even born yet, without strong power the empire collapsed.
It began to divide the commanders of Alexander, the most successful of which was Ptolemy, who served with the king in the units of heavy cavalry, who were called "hetaira." Above you see a shot from the movie "Alexander", Ptolemy on this frame the far left.
More than 20 years after the death of the great general, his associates, nicknamed "dyadokhi", fought each other. This series of wars was also called "the war of the diadochs", few of those who fought together with Alexander at Issus and Gaugamellah survived them.
Ptolemy declared himself to be the Egyptian pharaoh, and in these wars he achieved considerable success by annexing to Syria Syria and part of Palestine, the island of Cyprus and even some of the territories of the peninsula of Asia Minor. In the photo on the left is the most famous bust depicting Ptolemy I Sator.
This hurt his descendants enough to rule over 300 years, all the subsequent pharaohs, descendants of Ptolemy, traditionally bore his name, the last was Ptolemy XIV, his fate is not enviable, he was poisoned, although it was still Ptolemy XV, it is difficult to call him a full-fledged member of the dynasty , he was the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.
In this dynasty all the queens were called Cleopatra, and the famous Cleopatra was already counted VII. She too was a pharaoh, regent with young brothers and their wife, but only formal.
The history of the fall of the Ptolemaic dynasty is long, bloody and sad. None of the last representatives of the clan died by their death.
The temple of the god Horus in Edfu began to be built by Ptolemy III, and finished building by Ptolemy XII, and the temple for worship at Ptolemy X was opened. We understand that you are already tired of this name and we will not mention it more, let's say that the temple was built almost 200 years.
After the Greeks began to rule Egypt, they did not interfere with the local religion or impose their beliefs on the Egyptians. The Greeks found a lot of parallels between the gods, for example, the god Amon-Ra was considered one entity with the Greek Zeus, and the God of the Horus, to whom our temple is dedicated, was considered the incarnation of the god Apollo, commanding the sun.
In the city of Edfu, usually, tourists arrive by ship on the Nile, the city is 100 kilometers upstream. From the river bank, the Gora temple is not so far away, only about one kilometer away, one could walk on foot. But, for tourists, they arrange a little entertainment and drive on horse-drawn carts.
It does not do without visiting a small market with very intrusive traders. After all these small adventures, you will get to the temple, to which you will have to walk a little.
The temple can not be confused with anything, massive stone gates, often called "pylons", well preserved ancient inscriptions and drawings, which you will not see on the gates (pylons) neither in the Karnak temple , nor in the Luxor temple .
Even before the gate you can see the features of Greek architecture.
It is believed that the temple is very well preserved, although your own impression may be slightly different. In the 4th century already during the Roman Empire worship services to the ancient gods here were banned by law, and the temple fell into decay.
It was at this time that many frescoes were damaged, the ardent Christians tried to destroy the faces of the gods, but the inscriptions in the ancient language did not touch, and the inscriptions were preserved almost completely. The results of religious zeal have been well documented in the photo below.
More photos of wall inscriptions and drawings, see in our gallery a photo from the temple of Horus in Edfu , there is no sense to publish them inside the article itself.
Immediately after entering, you will enter the square with a colonnade, in which you will also see many Greek "notes".
An important place inside the central sanctuary is a ceremonial boat, symbolizing the boat on which Gore moved along the Nile. There are many sanctuaries here, each dedicated to either its god or parts of the famous legend of the hostility of Horus and Seth. According to legend, Seth was the brother of the supreme god Osiris. Seth deceived Osiris and killed him to occupy the throne. Gore, who was miraculously conceived as a dead Osiris, took revenge on Seth, and after the victory he founded the city of Edfu.
We can not say exactly about the meaning of each sanctuary in the temple, since even Egyptologists have different opinions on this.
This place was inhabited by people for a long time, the temple itself was built on the site of another temple built by Pharaoh Ramses III, on the territory of the temple you will see the ruins of the gate of the temple of Ramses, you can easily distinguish them by the bad (in comparison with other elements) degree of preservation.
And the temple of Ramses, in turn, was built on the site of an older temple, dating from the 3rd dynasty. Excavations are still under way, and the elements of buildings of all periods have not yet been fully excavated. One can say for sure that the services at this place have been held for more than 4,500 years.
The God of the Mountains is revered in Egypt from very ancient times, it is precisely established that he was worshiped already in the pre-dynastic period, when Egypt was not yet a centralized state, but consisted of independent provinces called "nomas".
The God of Horus is depicted either as a person with a falcon head or simply in the form of a falcon. The most famous statue of God in the whole world is right here, on the square of the temple, a statue of 3 meters in height, it is very popular for photographing from tourists. Two statues stand at the entrance to the temple near the gate.
At different times he was responsible for different aspects of life. Traditionally, he is the patron of the pharaohs and the royal power, and the rulers themselves are the embodiment of it on earth. In different periods he was considered a god of power and war, it was believed that he bestows the power of the army, the Greeks even associated him with God Ares, and at some times he wore the Sun, the Greeks associated him with Apollo.
The temple is not very large, if compared with the Karnak, only 140 to 80 meters, the whole tour and free time for the survey takes about 2.5-3 hours, the time just will be enough to look at everything closer.
In the city of Edfu, besides the temple, there are other sights that tourists do not show, they are just not so significant, and they do not enter the excursion program. 5 kilometers from the city there are ancient pyramids.
At first glance, the pyramid is not even very similar, but it is a royal tomb, its height is not more than 5 meters, and now it is specified who is buried in it. According to the main hypothesis, it is the tomb of Huni, the pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty.
See more photos in our gallery , and read the following article about sightseeing tours along the Nile, the temple of Kom Ombo.
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