Sun Temple - Part 1Abu Gorab - The Places
Ra’s Favourite Place:
The Sun Temple
What: A Temple dedicated to the Sun God Ra. Whilst Pharaoh built his Mortuary Complex at Abusir – click here for further details about his Mortuary Complex
Where: Abu Gorab
When: Pharaoh Nyuserre was the 6th Pharaoh of the 5th Dynasty. The Temple appears to have been constructed towards the end of his approx. 30-year Reign
Excavated by: German Egyptologists, Ludwig Borchardt and Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing, between 1898 and 1901
A Valley Temple would allow Pharaoh and his Priests access to the Sun Temple via the Nile and then a walk along a long Causeway. The Sun Temple itself was entered from the East and was a walled enclosure in a rectangular shape.
The Sun Temple’s Alabaster Offering Table or Altar was in the centre of its Courtyard. It comprised of 5 large blocks and each of these was decorated with a hieroglyph: one for Ra and the other 4 for Hotep, so all would read Ra-hotep or “let Ra be satisfied” if viewed from the compass points. Confirming that the Offering Table was for Food and Drink due directly to the deity. Records have confirmed that this would have included 2 Oxen and 2 Geese per day, most of which would have gone to feeding the Priests who were the caretakers of the Temple.
An Obelisk, a symbol of Sun God Ra, was erected at 36m high at the Temple’s Western end; being built on an 20m high angle sided podium which gave it further prominence. All made from Limestone apart from the very base which was built of Red Granite for strength.
Pharaoh’s Heb Sed Festival and the changing of the Seasons were shown in Reliefs throughout the Temple.
As with all Temples, storage and administrative rooms were included in the plan of the building. The east wall of the Courtyard contains the remains of 9 basins made from Alabaster. The theories for the use of these vary from bloodletting of the offering animals to water drinking vessels. Egyptologists are yet to complete further analysis to be able to provide a clear answer.
A Sun Boat was found buried in a mud brick Chamber to the south of the Temple which had a size of 30m long by 10m wide