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Sun Temple of Pharaoh Userkaf

Abu Sir & Abu Gorab - The Places

The Stronghold of Ra:

The Sun Temple
Pharaoh Userkaf 



What: A Temple dedicated to the Sun God Ra. Whilst Pharaoh built his Mortuary Complex at Saqqara– click here for further details about his Mortuary Complex 

Where: Abu Gorab

When: Pharaoh Userkaf was the Founder of the 5th Dynasty, and it seems to have been erected in year 5 or 6 of Pharaoh’s reign

Discovered by: Egyptologist Karl Lepsius in 1842

Excavated by: Ludwig Borchardt in 1907 and 1913; Herbert Ricke in 1954-1957

The Valley Temple
This allowed Pharaoh and his Priests access to the Sun Temple via the Nile and then a walk along a Causeway. Although the Valley Temple is now destroyed, the evidence suggest that it had an open Courtyard with Pillars and Chapels.


The Sun Temple
It was entered from the East and was a walled enclosure in a rectangular shape. The Temple seems to have been a solid Mastaba ringed by a Wall which included single roomed 2 Chapels for offering purposes.


A Granite Obelisk was added to the top of the Temple but seems to have been added at a later date and probably by another Pharaoh.


It appears as though the Temple was in use to the end of the 5th Dynasty as Seal Impressions and Pottery items were found with the Cartouche’s for Pharaoh’s Userkaf, Sahure, Nyuserre, Djedkare and Unas. This would allow time and provide a motivation for the addition of this Obelisk.

The Pottery also confirms that the Valley Temple was in use until the end of the 6th Dynasty.

Whereas there are strong reports that the Sun Valley Temple’s Obelisk had collapsed by the New Kingdom Period under Pharaoh Thutmoses III and they were interpreting the remains as a Pyramid rather than a full Temple.


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