Temple of Horus in Edfu


Edfu’s main claim to fame in Egyptian history is that in this otherwise unimportant small town there is the best-preserved temple in the whole of Egypt. The ancient capital of the IInd nome of Upper Egypt, it was called Apollinopolis Magna by the Greeks.


The temple, which is dedicated to Horus, was built during the Ptolemaic period on top of an older temple dating from the time of Thutmose III. Because of its imposing dimensions, it is considered the most important after Karnak. It is 137 meters long and the front is 79 meters high. On guard at the entrance to the temple are two very beautiful black granite statues depicting Horus in the form of a falcon. derives from the word <<hr>> which means hawk. Behind the two statues stand the external walls of the temple together with the massive figure of Horus and Hathor. The wide grooves either side of the doorway once housed the flag masts from which fluttered their standards. Inside the sanctuary, still in a perfect state of preservation, is a very beautiful tabernacle carved from a single block of gray granite and which stands about 4 meters high. The inscriptions tell us that it was constructed under Nectanebus II (360 B.C.)


Before entering the temple it is interesting to look at the <<mammisi>> constructed under Evergete II. In the Coptic language <<mammisi>> means << the place of childbirth>> and refers to the spot where symbolically Horus is reborn every day. It is for this reason that it has become sacred to those in childbirth and to all women who want to have a child.

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