Because it was the last big temple to have been built (it was started under Ptolemy III in about 237 B.C. and finished under Ptolemy XII about 140 years later) and because it was built well above the Nile and escaped flood damage, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is one of the best preserved. The temple is actually a reconstruction of an older building on the same site, and was part of the Ptolemaic project to solidify their dynastic hold on Upper Egypt by identifying themselves with the Pharaohs. Not only is the design a copy of the old temple, so are the inscriptions on the walls.
The temple was actually buried, like the Luxor Temple, under the village when excavators started to dig it out in the middle of the 19th century. It took almost 40 years to clear it out entirely. The interior walls are covered in reliefs that tell the story of the birth of Horus and depict the Ptolemaic rulers of the country making offerings to the gods and destroying their enemies. Be sure to pause at the massive statues of Horus as a falcon that stand outside the main entrance and by the entrance to the first hypostyle hall.
About 110km (68 miles) south of Luxor, Edfu is best visited by car either as a day trip or on the way to, or from, Aswan. Though it's a healthy walk from the town to the temple, there are plenty of taxis around. The Upper Egypt bus stops conveniently close to the temple, too.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010
- South of Luxor
- Winter 7am-4pm; summer 7am-5pm
- No Sweat
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