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2023 . Jan . 16

Ancient Egyptian Temples

The ancient Egyptians were very keen on religion, even when they built the Egyptian Temples, their main purpose was religion, but that wasn't their only intention. The Egyptian temples were built to worship Gods, commemorate Pharaohs, and declare the reign under Egypt's control. They were considered the houses of Gods and Pharaohs, and no one could go inside these sacred temples.


Temple meant in ancient Egyptian "Mansion of a God," as the Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of Gods. Still, only some gods had their temples, as some were involved in magical or private religious practices.

These temples were built on the East side of the Nile and were called "Divine Temples."

In the Egyptian Creation Myth, the first temple was built as a shelter for a God and the God in the myth differed from one place to another around Egypt. Rituals made inside the temple were offerings to the Egyptian deities to uphold the maat, the universe's divine order.

Another kind of temple was built on the West side of the Nile and was called the "Mortuary Temple." Egyptian Pharaohs built their mortuary temples often linked to their tombs to sustain their spirits in the afterlife through the offerings made in the temple. The temples were built a different way at the beginning of prehistoric Egypt. In the late fourth millennium BC the first shrine ever known was made; they used wood, reed matting, and mud brick.

By the time the design and construction of the temples evolved as well as their importance, in the Old Kingdom, king Sneferu started linking the pyramidal tomb at the foot of the temple. During the Middle Kingdom, there was expanding use of stone in the construction of buildings. Then in the new Kingdom, the influence of the temples increased, as it was the center of economic activity.

Ramses II was considered one of the greatest builders in ancient Egypt; he built many temples, which are still standing today. God Amen was the most important God then; his cult center was at Karnak Temple, the largest of all temples. Ramses II cared about God Amen a lot as he wanted to restore what King Akhenaten did when he tried to change the worship of other gods and caused some damage to their temples.

As the New Kingdom started to crumble, the building of Egyptian Temples crumbled with it. In the third intermediate period, the foreign rulers started funding and expanding the Egyptian temples hoping that they would get the heart of the Egyptians in that way and claim their Kingship of Egypt.

With the coming of Christianity in Egypt, the temple's cult died out during the fourth century through the sixth century AD. The Egyptian temples were neglected and left behind and even destroyed. A wave of interest in ancient Egypt started in Europe in the nineteenth century. Because of it, dozens of temples have survived and become a major tourist attraction in Egypt.

The most important Egyptians Temples in Egypt today are:

1-Luxor Temple
2-Karnak Temple
3-Edfu Temple
4-Kom Ombo Temple
5-Philae Temple
6-Hatshepsut Temple
7-Abu Simbel Temples
8-Dendera Temple
9-Kalabsha Temple
10-Abydos Temple
11-Dakka Temple
12-Amada Temple
13-Ramesseum Temple
14-Medinet Habu
15-Esna Temple
16-Derr temple
17-Beit El-Wali
18-Wadi El-Seboua

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple is one of Egypt's most significant temples on the East Bank of the Nile River. It was built gradually over the years, starting from the 18th dynasty; Amenophis III was the first Pharaoh who started constructing this temple. Several Kings later added to this massive construction, including the boy King Tut Ankh Amen and the Great Ramses II.
The Luxor temple was built in the famous city of Luxor, named Thebes, in ancient times; it was the capital of Egypt for too long, and it reached its zenith during the New Kingdom. Unlike most temples in ancient Egypt, the Luxor temple wasn't built in dedication to a god but to the rejuvenation of Kingship.

luxor temple

Karnak Temple

Located north of Luxor, you'll find one of the most important ancient Egyptian monuments, Karnak Temple. This temple is magnificent; it was built gradually over 2000 years by many great Kings like Amenophis, Hatshepsut, Tut Ankh Amen, and Ramses II.
Karnak Temple is considered the most significant religious building ever made; they came to it in ancient Egypt for pilgrimage. Karnak in Arabic means "fortified village," the temple was used to worship God Amun, Mut, and Montu. That is a temple you can't miss visiting in Luxor; you'll be amazed by the number of monuments it beholds.

karnak temple

Edfu Temple

Located between Luxor and Aswan, you'll find Edfu Temple, situated in Edfu, a part of Aswan province; you can make this stop during a Nile cruise or drive there. Edfu Temple is a new temple built in the Greco-Roman era in Egypt during the Ptolemy period.
Ptolemaic Kings built Edfu Temple, which took a Pharaonic style for over 180 years. This temple was well preserved and buried under massive sand, so it is one of Egypt's best-preserved temples. Edfu temple is also called Horus temple, as it was dedicated to the God Horus, and the inscriptions on its walls tell his story.

temple edfu

Kom Ombo Temple

Located between Edfu and Aswan, you'll find Kom Ombo Temple in Kom Ombo town, 47 Km north of Aswan. This town used to be called Ombos; its prime time was during the Roman invasion of ancient Egypt. It was excavated in 1893 by De Morgan, and the temple was restored then.
Kom Ombo temple is also a newbie built during the Ptolemaic period in Egypt; it is a unique temple since it has a double dedication. The temple was built with an unusual design, dedicating the left side to the falcon-headed God Haroeris and the right side to the crocodile God Sobek. Kom Ombo has always been a favorite for crocodiles to rest under the sun.

temple kom ombo

Philae Temple

Located on Agilkya Island in Aswan, you'll find Philae Temple in its new location. This temple was the first temple dedicated to the worship Goddess Isis; it was built starting from 280 BCE by Ptolemy II and added to it gradually over the years by Roman Emperors.
Philae Temple was initially located south of Aswan and belonged to Nubia. Still, after constructing the High Dam of Aswan, it was disassembled in the 1970s then rebuilt on Agilkya Island. As a result, the temple of Isis, sometimes called, was saved from being submerged and now has an amazing view that adds more beauty to its magic.

temple philae

Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

Located at the cliff of Deir El Bahri on the West Bank of Luxor city, you'll find the famous mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The temple of Hatshepsut is considered the most significant temple in the area; it was built near the Mentuhotep II temple of the 11th dynasty.
Queen Hatshepsut built the temple during the 18th dynasty, it is considered the Queen's greatest achievement, and it took 15 years to be accomplished. Senmut, the famous architect of Hatshepsut, designed this temple, modeled after Mentuhotep II but on a much larger scale. Senmut was the Queen's chancellor and royal architect; there are some sayings that he was the Queen's lover.

temple of queen hatshepsut

Abu Simbel Temples

Located behind the High Dam of Aswan, 230 Km southwest of Aswan city, you'll find the famous Abu Simbel temples in their new site. You can reach the location of Abu Simbel temples by driving there or by flying, which is easier as it takes only half an hour by plane. The bigger temple belongs to Ramses II, and the small temple is for his wife, Queen Nefertari.
Abu Simbel temples are one of the most known temples with a wide reputation. This is because it's where the famous phenomenon of the sun rays illuminating the face of Ramses II happens. This event occurs twice a year, and the world waits for it. The temples were built in 20 years, starting in the 24th year of Ramses II's reign, in approximately 1264 BC.
This temple is considered divine because King Ramses II was worshiped as a god.

temple abu simbel

Dendera Temple

Located on the West Bank of the Nile River, south of Qena and 60 Km north of Luxor, you'll find Dendara Complex. You'll see the Temple of Hathor, the last remaining sanctuary at Dendara Complex. It was built during the late Ptolemaic period; Ptolemy IX Sotrell started the construction of this temple.
Dendara Temple is built in dedication to Goddess Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and motherhood, beauty, and music; she was believed to be the falcon god Horus's wife. This temple was the center of the worship of the cult of Hathor; that's why it was of great religious importance. the design of this temple is almost the same as Edfu Temple.

temple of dendera

Kalabsha Temple

Located in the South of Aswan High Dam, you'll find the Temple of Kalabsha on its new site. The temple was initially located 50 Km south of Aswan and was relocated after building the High Dam of Aswan. It was named after the village located in "Kalabsha." It is also called the Temple of Mandulis, relating to the Nubian Solar god Mandulis to whom the temple was dedicated.
Kalabsha Temple was probably built during the 18th dynasty by the Egyptian Kings Amenophis III and Thutmose III and completed by the Roman Emperor Augustus. The temple is a combination of Roman and Egyptian styles. It is an interesting stop to make during your Lake Nasser cruise.

temple of kalabsha

Abydos Temple

Located 162 Km north of Luxor, the Temple of Seti I was built in the center of Abydos City, which the temple is named after. The most famous temple in the area is the mortuary temple of Seti I, an Egyptian Pharaoh of the 19th century and the father of Ramses the Great. The temple's construction was completed after the death of Seti I by his son Ramses II and his grandson Mernptah.
The area of Abydos was famous since the 1st and 2nd dynasties; it was used as a cemetery during the late Old Kingdom. It was believed that the God Osiris was buried in this area, so Ancient Egyptians went there for pilgrimage during the early historic period. There are many interesting things about this temple, like the Helicopter illustrations found on its wall.

temple abydos

Dakka Temple

About 100 Km south of the High Dam of Aswan, in the area of Wadi El-Sebua, you'll find Dakka Temple in its new location. The Temple of Dakka is one of the temples moved after the construction of the High Dam to a new site to save it from being submerged. The new location of the temple is about 81 Km away from its original one.
There are various opinions about the time Dakka Temple was built; some scholars suggest it was built during the 18th dynasty. Other scholars suggest it was built in 220 BCE by a Nubian King called Akamai. This temple is built in dedication to the god of wisdom, Thoth, so it is also called the temple of Thoth.

temple dakka

Amada Temple

To about 115 Km south of Aswan City, you'll find Amada Temple in its new location, 2.6 Km away from its original site. It was relocated after building the High Dam of Aswan during UNESCO's campaign to save the temples.
Amada Temple is a small temple built in the New Kingdom during the 18th dynasty by Thutmosis III and his son Amenophis II after him. Amada's temple was built in dedication to the gods Amun-Re and Re-Harakhty. When King Akhenaten tried to destroy the name of Amun, he destroyed some walls of this temple, and King Seti I restored it.

temple amada

Ramesseum Temple

Located in Thebes Necropolis, on the West Bank of Luxor, there is the "Ramesseum," King Ramses II's mortuary temple. It is one of the many temples built by the Great Ramses since he was a great builder. He made the Ramesseum in dedication to the god Amen and King Ramses himself to be worshiped as a god.
The Ramesseum was built during the 13th century BC; there, you'll find a massive statue of the Great Ramses II, the reliefs on the walls describe present the famous Battle of Kadesh, one of Ramses II's greatest victories. Also, you'll find one of the few King lists available from ancient Egypt.

temple ramesseum

Medinet Habu

Located at Western Thebes in Upper Egypt, Medinet Habu is where the memorial temple of Ramses III takes place. This place was called Djanet; in ancient Egypt, they believed that the god Amen first appeared in this place. At this village, Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III also built temples, but that of Ramses III is huge in comparison.
Ramses III built his memorial temple at Medinet Habu between 1186 and 1155 BCE, imitating the temple of Ramesseum. It was built in dedication to the god Amen, and the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius completed the construction. The reliefs on the walls show the battles of Ramses III against the sea people and other foreign attacks.

medinet_habu

Esna Temple

On the West Bank of the Nile River, 55 Km south of Luxor, you'll find Esna town, where Esna Temple lies, or the Temple of Khnum. The ancient Egyptians called this city Senat, and the Greeks called it Latopolis. The temple was built in dedication to the Ram-headed god Khnum the creator.
Esna Temple's construction started during the reign of Thutmosis III and was completed until the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. The inscriptions on the walls of Esna Temples show Roman emperors dressed like Pharaohs and giving sacrifices to the Egyptian God, Khnum.

esna temple

Derr Temple

Located at the side of Lake Nasser, near Amada temple, there is Derr Temple on its new site. Derr temple is one of the temples built by Ramses II in Nubia, taking the rock-cut style. The temple was initially located 208 Km south of Aswan but was relocated after building the High Dam of Aswan.
Derr Temple was built during the 30th year of Ramses II's reign, lasting over 60 years. It was built in dedication to gods Ptah and Amen and Ramses II to be worshiped as a god. When the temple of Derr was moved, it was rebuilt in its same rock-cut style.

derr temple

Beit El-Wali Temple

Located 50 km south of Aswan High Dam is the Temple of Beir El-Wali, on its new location near Kalabsha Temple. This temple was saved along with a series of other temples after building the High dam of Aswan; you can visit it while cruising Lake Nasser. The temple was built in a rock-cut style, and when the Polish archeological team rescued it, it was rebuilt the same way.
Ramses II built the Beit El-Wali temple, "House of the holy man," in dedication to the Egyptian god's Amen, Khnum, and Anuket. Ramses II's real intention for building this Nubian temple and others in Nubia was to maintain Egyptian control.

temple beit el wali

Wadi Al-Seboua Temple

Located 150 Km South of Aswan on the Western Bank of the Nile, you'll find Wadi Al-Seboua temple in its new location, 4 km west of its original site. Wadi Al-Seboua temple means "the Valley of the lions" the Arabs gave it its current name because of the Sphinx-lined that is located before the temple entrance.
Wadi Al-Seboua temple was built during the 18th dynasty by Amenophis III and restored by Ramses II in the 19th dynasty. It is considered the second largest temple in Nubia after Abu Simbel Temple. It was dedicated to God Amen; that's why it's also known as the Temple of Amen.

wadi al seboua temple
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BLOGS

Jan . 23 . 2022

The Great Ramses II was one of the greatest builders in ancient Egypt; he was also famous for his battles to conquer lands. During his reign, he wanted to control Nubia, so he built a series of... [Read More]

Jan . 13 . 2022

Temple of Amada, a small temple yet the oldest monument around Lake Nasser and Nubia. It was one of the temples that were moved during the construction of the High Dam of Aswan. The reliefs of this... [Read More]

Jun . 29 . 2021

Temple of Kalabsha, a Nubian temple named after the village of Kalabsha that was called Bab Al Kalabsha (Kalabsha Gate). That was the temple's original location, about 50 Km south of Aswan; the... [Read More]

Jun . 22 . 2021

In the heart of the ancient city of Thebes, or as the ancient Egyptians called it, Waset, you'll find one of the most impressive temples that the Pharaohs left for us, the Luxor temple. The temple... [Read More]

Mar . 29 . 2021

At Western Thebes in Upper Egypt, you'll find Madinet Habu that was known as Djanet, where, as believed, God Amen first appeared; Ramses III built his magnificent memorial Temple. This place was the... [Read More]

Mar . 28 . 2021

Dendera Complex, where it used to be an important religious center in ancient Egypt, embraces three sanctuaries of Horus, his son Ihy and his wife Hathor; only the last survived till our days.... [Read More]

Mar . 01 . 2021

During the Ptolemaic period in Ancient Egypt, the town of Ombos was very important then, having a prime position along the Nile between the Nubian trade routes and the gold mines in the eastern... [Read More]

Feb . 27 . 2021

Abydos is one of the oldest and most important burial centers in ancient Egypt; it was considered a place for pilgrimage for the ancient Egyptians, as it is associated with the afterlife. The city of... [Read More]

Feb . 20 . 2021

Once upon a time, a powerful God named Horus wanted to avenge his father's death, Osiris, who was killed by his brother, Seth. We all heard the famous story of the god Horus; after killing his uncle,... [Read More]