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Temple of Horus, Edfu

Temples - The Buildings - Builders & Buildings

What: A Temple dedicated to the Falcon God Horus, Edfu is regarded as one of the best-preserved Temples in Egypt, especially due to the roof which remains over its Outer and Inner Hypostyle Halls

Where: West Bank of the Nile in Behdet, or modern day Edfu

When: Built in the Ptolemaic Greek era of Ancient Egypt and taking 200 years to build, it was started in 237BC and completed in 57BC

Who: Commissioned by Pharaoh Ptolemy III and finally finished by Pharaoh Ptolemy XII

Why: Built to replace an earlier Temple from the New Kingdom Period which confirmed the names of the builders as Pharaohs Ramses I, Seti I and Ramses II



The Temple was used as the centre for many Festivals for God Horus and his deity wife, the Goddess Hathor, whose Temple Sanctuary the Ptolemies built at Dendera. The Statue form of the Goddess Hathor would travel south from Dendera Temple on her Sacred Barque and Boat by Nile, to visit her deity husband, the God Horus in Edfu to rejuvenate their marriage and conjugal relations. The Priesthood and the local population would use these Festivals as a time for rejoicing and celebration.

When the Temple was rediscovered in 1798 by a French Expedition, the Temple had been buried by 12 meters of sand and river silt, much like the Temple of Luxor. In the same vein, the local Egyptians had built their home directly over the top of the Temple with only the very top of the huge Pylon being visible. French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette, began the removal of sand and silt from the Temple in 1860.

The remains of the ancient city of Behdet can be still seen to the West of Edfu Temple.

Written on a Door at Edfu Temple

“Everyone who enters by this door, beware of entering in impurity, for God loves purity more than millions of possessions, more than hundreds of thousands of fine gold. His food is Truth, he is satisfied with it. His heart is pleased with great purity. Turn your faces to this temple in which His Majesty has placed you. He sails in the heavens while seeing what is done therein, and he is pleased therewith according to its exactitude.

Do not come in in sin, do not enter in impurity, do not utter falsehood in his house, do not covet things, do not slander, do not accept bribes, do not be partial as between a poor man and a great, do not add to the weight and measure, but (rather) reduce them; do not tamper with the corn-measure; do not harm the requirements of the Eye~of-Re; do not reveal what you have seen in the mysteries of the temples; do not stretch forth the arm to the things of his house, do not venture to seize his property.

Beware, moreover, of saying ‘Fool!’ in the heart, for one lives on the bounty of the gods, and ‘bounty’ one calls what comes forth from the altar after the reversion of the divine offerings upon them. Behold, whether he sails in the heavens, or whether he traverses the Netherworld, his eyes are firmly fixed upon his possessions in their (proper) places.”

Come with me as I guide you round the Layout of this stunning Temple. To do this, simply click on the part of the Temple below you would like to visit:



The Pylon         The Forecourt         Outer Hypostyle Hall         Inner Hypostyle Hall & Corridor

Inner Sanctum         Passage of Victory & Nilometer         Birth House

Image Above: Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Image Above Right: Pharaoh making Offerings to God Horus

Image Right: Priests carrying Sacred Barque of Horus


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