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Tourist countries \ Egypt \ Temple of Sebek and Horus in Kom Ombo in Egypt

Temple of Sebek and Horus in Kom Ombo in Egypt

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This temple is considered one of the most interesting in Egypt, first, half of it is dedicated to the god Sebek, who commanded fertility and the flood of the Nile; in other temples popular with tourists, its sanctuaries are rare. Secondly, it is a double temple dedicated to two gods at the same time, the second god is Gore, which we described in detail in the article about the temple in Edfu . Thirdly, there are mummies of crocodiles, which are the "calling card" of this landmark.

Колонна в храме Себека и Гора в Ком Омбо

Just like the temple in the city of Edfu, this complex was built already in the last period of the history of ancient Egypt, when the country was ruled by pharaohs of Greek origin, descendants of Alexander the Great's associate, Ptolemy. Their dynasty was called, and all the pharaohs bore the name of Ptolemy. We described them in detail in an article about the temple in Edfu .

Construction began under Ptolemy VI, and continued until the era of the Roman Empire. The last additions were made under the Roman emperor Troyan, an external courtyard and walls were added to the temple.

As in Edfu, there are perfectly preserved inscriptions and wall paintings that have become priceless sources of knowledge about ancient Egypt for Egyptologists, of course after the Rosetian stone was found and the opportunity to read ancient texts appeared. Many drawings of the temple have preserved different colors, which you will not see in other churches, recall that originally all the pictures were created in many colors, just in the older temples the coloring disappeared with time.

The temple is completely symmetrical, the southern part is dedicated to the god Sebek, and the northern god is the Mountain. Sebek - a very interesting and colorful god, he was portrayed as a man with a crocodile head, or simply in the form of a crocodile.

Изображение бога Себека - человек с головой крокодила

Sebek (or Sobek) Egyptians worship from the time of the ancient kingdom, even in the "songs of the pyramids" it is mentioned that the pharaohs are the epitome of Sobek and are like him.

Sebek was the god of fertility and the flood of the Nile, which for the ancient Egyptians was the same. But at different times he had other functions. In the time of the middle kingdom, he merged with the deity Gore in the image of the god Sebek Gore, being the patron of the power of the Egyptian pharaohs. In the time of the new kingdom in the image of Sebek-Ra, he gained the greatest popularity, embodying the Sun.

In addition, at different times he was considered the patron of military valor and military skill. And at all times in Egypt believed that he controls crocodiles, and prayer protected him from attacks of a predator.

In ancient times, the crocodiles in the Nile were much larger than now, and attacks on people happened all the time. Protection from this reptile from the Egyptians had only two, good attention and prayer to the gods.

It is this place, the bend of the river near the town of Kom Ombo, which was a favorite place for crocodiles, it is not surprising that the temple of Sebek is located in this place. In ancient times, the Nile valley was much richer in fauna, than now, there were not only crocodiles, but also hippos. By the way, according to legend, the hippopotamus was eaten by a pharaoh named Menes. On the one hand, this is complete nonsense, since the hippos are exclusively herbivores, but if you recall the ancient mythology, it becomes clear that this is just a figurative expression, the hippo was the embodiment of the god Set, associated with evil forces.

Kom-Ombo is visited during a cruise sightseeing tour of the Nile, it is 60 kilometers upstream from the city of Edfu, and 50 kilometers downstream from Aswan. Most cruises include a visit to the temple in Edfu and Kom Ombo in one day and one of these temples is visited in the evening, since both sights are highlighted in the dark.

Главные ворота в храме в Ком Омбо - 'ворота Неоса Деониса'

In the photo above you see the main gate of the temple, which is called the "gate of Neos Deionis", which has nothing to do with the Greek god. Of course, the Greeks during the reign of Egypt propagandized their culture and religion, but not enough to call something in the Egyptian temple by the name of the Greek god. Neos Deonis is the name of Ptolemy XII, the ruler of the country that built them.

Pay attention to the lack of traditional large gates, which are also called "pylon", they were originally there, but now destroyed. The temple is not located in the most successful way, during the years of the highest flood of the Nile River, water came here, and some parts of the temple did not survive under the influence of water.

Колонный зал в храме в Ком Омбо

After passing the gate, you will enter the main column hall, note that the upper parts of the columns are made in the form of a lily, which is the symbol of Upper Egypt. There are 15 large columns.

The temple is divided into two symmetrical parts, and one is dedicated to Sebek, the second Mountain, the drawings on the walls are very similar, many depict the same scenes, but with the participation of these two gods. Gore was portrayed with the head of a falcon, and Sebek with the head of a crocodile. Below the photo depicts a scene with the participation of Horus and his wife, the goddess Tasenetnofret. Very interesting name, we recommend it to the speakers for training.

Сцена с участием Гора и его жены Тасенетнофрет, изображенная на стене храма

After the large and small column hall you will enter several not very large rooms serving for religious rituals, you can see the drawings, most often they depict different scenes involving Pharaohs of the Ptolemaic dynasty, offering gifts to the gods and asking for their blessings and help.

Колодец - 'нилометр', он был создан для измерения высоты разлива реки Нил

To the west of the large column hall there is a room that carried a very important function, but not all guides correctly explain its purpose.

Outwardly it resembles a well, although in fact it is, but the main function still was different. This is a "nilometer", a device for measuring the height of the Nile flood. Each year the priests recorded the height of the water.

For a long time, the priests were working to identify the regularities of the spill height in order to be able to predict droughts and floods, data collection was conducted in many temples, for example, in the Karnak temple there was a special wall, where too records were kept about the water's height.

Many guides tell tourists that they bred crocodiles, believing that this way tourists will be more interesting, and you can agree with them, "nilometer" is very interesting to many visitors.

Crocodiles on the territory of the temple really bred, but did it a little elsewhere. A small pond was located near the sanctuary of the goddess Hathor, who was the wife of the god Sebek. It is here that you can see the most interesting thing, mummies of crocodiles.

Мумия нильского крокодила

In total, there are three mummies that were found by chance, during the construction of the road. Mummies were much more, about 300 pieces, but now they have gone to museums and private collections.

Mummies and well-preserved inscriptions are the main "interesting" in the temple, the inscriptions are not only well preserved, but also preserved the coloration, of course, not as bright as it was during the Pharaohs of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Photo inscriptions and mummies you can see in our gallery photo about the temple in Kom Ombo .

The next stop during the sightseeing cruise along the Nile is the city ​​of Aswan, about which read our next review .


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