Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Travel to Luxor - Part 5

Edfu Temple - Visited on 31.10.09

Edfu temple is located in a small village 110 kms away from Luxor. A taxi typically charges around 400 LEs for round trip from Luxor to Edfu and Komo Ombo.

Edfu's main claim to fram in Egyptian History is that in this other-wise unimportant small town there is the best preserved temple in the whole of Egypt. The ancient capital of the II land 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 Tutmose III. Because of its imposing dimensions it is considered as the most important after Karnak.

It is 137 meters long and the front is 79 meters wide. It has a pylon 36 meters high. On the gaurd at the entrance to the temple are two very beautiful black granite statues depicting horus in the form of a falcon.

The name of the god in fact derives from the word "hr" which means hawk. Behind the two statues stand the external walls of the temple together with massive figure of Horus and Hator. 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 grey granite and which stands about 4 meters high. The inscriptions tell that it was constructed under Nectanebus II (360 B.C.).

Before entering into the temple, it is interesting to look at the "mammisi" means "the place of childbirth" and referes to the spot where symbolically Horus is reborn every day. It is for this reason that it has become sacred to those in child-birth and to all women who want to have a child.

The Holy of Holies

It is the end of the main building of the temple and the most important and holiest place in it, it contains a grey granite shrine shaped out of one piece of granite, it goes to the Egyptian king Nekhtanbo (375 B.C.). The statue of the god was put in the shrine. No one was permitted into this place except for the high priest and the king himself as he was regarded the highest priest of the country. In the holy of the holies, there is still a granite stone which was the base on which the holy ship was put.

The holy of the holies is surrounded by ten rooms, some of which belonged to the god Osiris ( Egyptian god after death). One was knows by the name of Ra's throne. The other rooms were used as stores.

Hieroglyphic Writing

The temple remained neglected and forgotten even after the French Egyptologist August Mariette had discovered it. He drove out those who inhabited it and made its buildings stores and stables. He also removed tons of garbage and sand.

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