Temples were very important in ancient Egypt and people believed that these were places where gods and goddesses lived. Every god or goddess had a different temple where he or she was worshipped by the priests of the temple and the pharaoh. Temples here were not a place of communal worship and it was just the king and the priests who conducted rituals and that too after rigorous purification. Public was allowed here only during the festivals when the god came out of the temple.
There were two types of temples built during ancient Egyptian period. The first one was a cult temple that was dedicated to a particular god or goddess an example is the Temple of Horus at Edfu and the Temple of Isis at Aswan. Second type of temples were the mortuary temples which were dedicated to the pharaoh after their death and where these were worshipped as a god, an example is the Temples of Ramesses II at Thebes.
The larger temples in Egypt were made out of stone to ensure they last longer. The floors of the temples rose through courts and halls of columns which were shaped in the form of papyrus, palms and lotus that were plants on the island. The ceilings of the temples were decorated with stars and the sanctuary represented the primeval mound by being at the highest point. The east to west orientation of the temples which could be seen in most temples meant that the sun rose between the towers of the monuments lying at the gateway and the sun set over the shrine. The inside of the temples was decorated with the pharaoh performing the cult rituals of the deity and also scenes of the pharaoh fighting in battles, while on the outside the pharaoh was shown repelling the forces of chaos.
The earliest temples of ancient Egypt were constructed around 4th millennium BC and depicted the shape of reed huts. The last of the Egyptian temples was built at Philae which was stopped using after the 6th century AD, so the temples of ancient Egypt covered a large variety of different structures that evolved over a long period of time. When visiting Egypt its mandatory to pay visit to such places to complete the tour.
The temples of Egypt which seem to be the most famous of all have been mentioned below, these are ten in number here
- Medinet Habu
- Temple of Kom Ombo
- Colossi of Memnon
- Philae Temples
- Temple of Edfu
- Temple of Seti I
- Temple of Hatshepsut
- Luxor Temple
- Abu Simbel
Temples in ancient Egypt were placed on a very high value and these played an important role in the economy of the country as well, the temples were endowed with large agricultural lands where a large number of people were employed. . The temple was believed to be the physical location where the Egyptian could connect with the gods.
The Temple of Karnak is the largest Temple in the World! The complex contains a group of Temples such as the Great Temple of Amon Ra, The Temple of Khonso, The Ipt Temple, The Temple of Ptah, the Temple of Montho and the Temple of the God Osiris. Measures 20 m high, mud brick enclosure wall, surrounded all of these buildings.
Temple of Luxor Luxor Temple, or The Temple of Luxor, is among the most beautiful Temples in Egypt. It was known in the New Kingdom period as Ipt-Rsyt, which means the southern shrine. This was to differentiate between this Temple and Karnak Temple, which was the northern house of Amon Ra.
The Temple of Deir El-Bahri is one of the most characteristic temples in the whole of Egypt, due to its design and decorations. It was built of limestone, not sandstone like most of the other funerary temples of the New Kingdom period.
The Temple of Abydos is located to the west of El-Baliana, which is a town in Sohag Governorate. In ancient times it was called Abdu, and the Greeks called it Abydos. Abydos, the 8th province in ancient Egypt, this area is considered to be amongst the most famous archaeological sites.
The Temple is located about 4KM from the River Nile, on its west bank, roughly opposite the city of Qena, the capital of the province and governorate of Qena (population – 2,000,000), which is inhabited by both Coptic and Muslims.
The Temple of Medinat Habu is one of the largest memorial Temples in Egypt. It measures 320 m in length (East to west) and about 200 m in width (North to south)
Temple of the Ramesseum was built as a funerary Temple in 1304-1207 B.C for Ramsis II, and it was dedicated to the God Ra. Most of the Temple is in a very bad condition, or in ruins. The entrance to the Temple once had two pylons that have now collapsed.
The Temple was mainly dedicated to the God Sobek, the crocodile God, together with his wife, in another form of the Goddess Hathor. The Temple is of Greco-Roman structure, dating back to the year 119 BC, when Ptolemy VI, who started the construction, built it out of limestone.
Edfu is located 60Km to the north of Aswan. It was the 2nd Nome of Upper Egypt and the centre of the cult of a triad of Gods, which consisted of Horus of Behdet, Hathor and their son, Hor-Sama-Tawy.
Philae Island was a rocky island in the middle of the River Nile, south of Aswan. It was called in Hieroglyphic “Apo” which means Ivory. It was also known by the Greek “Elephantine”, most probably because it was an important centre of trade, especially for ivory.
Esna is about 485 miles (776 Km) south of Cairo and lies on the west bank of the Nile. It was the ancient city of Senat, called Latopolis by the Greeks. The “city of the fish” where the Nile perch was worshipped.
So called after the village of Kalabsha which is located 65 KM south of Aswan dam. The city was known in ancient times with temples, and later in Greek was called Talames.
The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting Pharaonic Temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 280 km south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC)
it is located 208 KM south of Aswan, the temple is cut out of native rocks during the time of king Ramses II, it was dedicated to god Petah and god Amon as well as Ramses II as a deified person. The temple walls are decorated with scenes representing Ramses II military campaigns against Nubia and scenes of offering to the god of the temple.
Temple of Wadi es-Sebua It s located 150 km south of Aswan, it has a temple built by the famous king Ramses II and it is considered the seconded biggest temple of the Nubian temples after the great temple of Abu- Simbel.
Temple of Dakka The temple was built by the Nubian Agher Amon who ruled at the time of king Ptolemy II, and later additions were added during the Greco-Roman times.
The temple was built at the time of the new kingdom by king Thutmosis III and Amenhotep II, It was dedicated to the god Amon Ra, and RA Hor –Ahkty.
Small temple that goes back the end of the Greco-Roman period, it is very simple since it is consisting of one hall with columns decorated with composite capitals.
The Temple of Quertsi is dedicated to goddess Hathor goddess of love Music and maternity the temple is located to the south of Temple of Kalabsha next to Aswan high dam
The Mortuary Temple of Pharaoh Amenhotep III was built in the West Bank of the River Nile. This area boasts of many tombs which have historical and architectural significance.
The Mortuary Temple of KhentKaus II is the temple of the Queen of Egypt. She was the wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Neferirkare and mother of Nefererfre and Nuiserre.
Montuhotep II is regarded as the first Pharaoh of the middle Kingdom. He is credited for having united Egypt. In fact, he had ruled for a good fifty one years and thus put an end to what is called the intermediary Kingdom of the Egyptian civilization.
The Mortuary Temple of Neferefre is also known as the Pyramid of Raneferef. This pyramid which is located in Abusir has indeed been started during the 5th century but has never been finished.
The pyramid of Neferirkare is located at Abusir, the renowned necropolis in Egypt, which was started by Sahure, the predecessor of Neferirkare. This pyramid was started by Neferirkare himself, who was the 3rd ruler of the famous 5th Dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Building pyramids for the Egyptian Pharaohs so that they could be buried with riches and all that they wished to take with them in their next life was not uncommon. It is a practice which found relevance among the Egyptian civilization since its inception.
The mortuary temple or the Pyramid of Sahure is situated in Abusir, the huge necropolis of ancient Egypt, which is located very near to Cairo, on the bank of River Nile.
The Pyramid of Djedefre is situated at Abu Rawash, a new necropolis chosen by Pharaoh Djedefre, in the western part of the Nile valley and at a distance of 8 Km to the north of Giza.
The Pyramid of Khafre is also known as the Pyramid of Chephren, as Khafre was also called by this name. It is the second highest pyramid, built in ancient Egypt, next to the famous Pyramid of his father Khufu.
The Pyramid of Khufu is also known as the Great Pyramid of Egypt, situated on the Giza Necropolis, over the Giza plateau, just outside Cairo city.
The Pyramid of Menkaure was built in Giza Necropolis, next to the huge pyramids of his ancestors Khufu and Khafre. But this pyramid is visibly the smallest among the three notable pyramids of this necropolis, with a height of only 65.5 meters.