The Temple of Edfu is halfway between Luxor and Aswan,and 40 miles north of Kom Ombo on the west bank of the Nile. The Temple was dedicated to one of the most significant Gods in ancient Egypt,that of Horus. It was built during the reign of the Ptolemy Pharaohs. There are beautiful reliefs everywhere depicting different acts of the Gods, and tells us much about the building of this magnificent temple. Construction started in the mid – 2000s BC by Ptolemy III and finished around 57BC, as with other temple work continued over the years and new bits wereadded over time, this was temporarily stopped for 20 years during a difficult period between the various Ptolemy’s
This is one of the largest temples in Egypt and the Egyptians believed it was built on a battle ground where Horus and Seth had once fought. The temple that now stands here is one of many that have been built over the years on the same site. You can see this from some of the pylons which are from the time of Ramses II, from an earlier period. There are many fascinating areas of the temple in which to explore including the Birthing House where Egyptians would celebrate the birth of Horus and the current Pharaoh, a Greco Roman idea that would not have been around in earlier pharaohonic time, and paintings of Horus with his Goddess mother Isis. There is also the Court of Offerings where gifts to Horus would be made, behind which are some rather magnificent black granite Horus statues. There is the Chamber of Consecrations where a king would dress for rituals, and a library where texts were kept, and on the walls; reliefs of the Goddess Sheshat, the Goddess of writing.
Inside the Hypostyle Hall on the intact ceiling you will find stunning astronomical paintings representing the sky supported by six columns. In the Festival Hall and older parts of the temple the hall would be decorated with flowers, herbs and incense. Sacrifices would be brought here and offered up to the Gods.
The holiest part of the temple is the Sanctuary of Horus. Here you will find a black granite shrine dedicated to Nectanebo II making it the oldest as well as the holiest part of the Temple. Here you will find an offering table and a ceremonial barge for which Horus would be carried during festivals. Several other rooms are worth exploring and adventuring into, with various Chapels, linen rooms, with more beautiful ceilings and paintings.
You can visit the temple from either Aswan or Luxor, by train, road or taxi. Both the railway and the coaches stop on the east side of the bank. Traveling by taxi will take between an hour to two hours depending on whether you travel from either Luxor or Aswan. Tickets will cost about LE 50. When visiting the temple please bring sensible shoes, protective sun wear, and plenty of water.
To return to our main Egypt Tours page, please click here