Visitors to Luxor, who have the time, should try and visit the famous Temple of Hathor at Dendera. In a taxi, the trip takes about 1hour from Luxor. The buses, which are always accompanied by a Police convoy, that leaves at 0800 daily . The entrance fee is LE 35.
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. This town is very famous for the manufacture of water pots, called “gula” jars in Arabic.
The Muslim Sheik, Abdel Raheeem El-Kenawi, who spent all of his life in this town and died in 1170 A.D, founded the modern city. The birthday of this saint is celebrated every year, and a great number of pilgrims come from all over Egypt for the festivities. The name of the city goes back to the time of the Pharaohs , and was taken from the ancient Egyptian word Qeny, which means, “to bend”; the River Nile has a huge (and famous) bend here.
The Temple of Hathor was built in the 1st century B.C and it is one of the best-preserved Temples in the whole of Egypt! Ptolemy VIII and Queen Cleopatra II built it, and then later, Roman Emperors continued to decorate it and honour the Goddess Hathor; the Goddess of maternity, love and music. The Greeks identified the Goddess Hathor as Aphrodite.
The first gateway, built by Roman Emperor Domitian in 80 A.D, leads to the great hall of the Temple, which is decorated with Hathoric columns (columns with the face of Hathor on them) and is in a very good condition. The upper, front edge of the cornice is decorated with the winged sun disc, while stone screens between the columns and the scene, which represent the Roman Emperor Tiberius and other Roman rulers who present votive offerings to the Goddess of the Temple, enclose the front portion. Hathor is chiefly represented with the horns of the sacred cow protruding from her head, supporting the solar disc of the sun, and in her hands she is holding an “Ankh”, the symbol of life, and a sceptre. Sometimes she is also represented with the head of a cow.
The interior walls of the great hall have remarkable scenes that mainly depict sacrifices being made to the Goddess of the Temple. The amazing ceiling, with its astronomical representations, is very interesting! The ceiling is divided into 7 divisions, and the best remaining 3 are:
The first division on the eastern side, which depicts the Goddess Nut, the Goddess of the sky, who is bending herself towards the earth, with the sun disc shining on the Temple and the mask of Hathor.
Secondly, and next to the first, is a representation of the sun boat and star Goddess.
The third one is the western ceiling, which shows a perfect representation of the zodiac signs, which is one of the reasons that the Temple is so famous (the original zodiac relief is now in the Louvre museum in Paris, France). The 12 figures of the ram, the bull, the heavenly twins, the crab, the lion, the virgin, the scales, the scorpion, the archer, the goat, the watering pots and fishes with glittering tails. On the inner walls of the screen, the hawk headed God Horus, and the Ibis headed God Thoth, are pouring drops of holy water over the King. This scene is called the baptism scene, symbolising life and happiness.
The second hall has 6 columns adorned with rich capitals and granite pedestals. On both sides of this hall are small rooms that were used as storerooms, used to store the wine jars that came from the Island of Crete, and the fertile Fayoum and Kharga oases.
Next is the central chapel, which has two altars; one for the sacred boat, and the other for the sacrifices offered to the Goddess Hathor. The beautifully sculptured relief’s on the walls of the shrines represent Ptolemy VIII and other rules, whose names were left blank in the oval cartouches, dancing with offerings to the sacred boat of Hathor and her husband Horus. The representatives of the King, the high Priests and noblemen, used to gather in the great hall in preparation for the daily rituals. The ceilings are covered in stars, and black soot from the fires of the later inhabitants of the Temple.The rooms around the sanctuary were used for scientific purposes, the storing of the sacred boat, the sacred wreath, the golden image of the Goddess Hathor and musical instruments
There is a small corridor on the right, which leads to a small room that contains the crypt, highly recommended should you visit here.
The staircases, which lead to the roof of the Temple, are decorated with some beautiful symbols representing the 12 months of the year. On the eastern corner, of the roof, is the chapel of the God Osiris. The scenes on its walls represent Osiris rising from the dead and becoming the God of the underworld. It is from this chapel that the best representation of the zodiac was taken.
The southern exterior wall relief show Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarian, son of JuliusCaesar, making offerings to Hathor and allthe other deities of Dendera. On the same wall, near the cornice, are some stone lion heads, serving as water spouts. Adjoining the Temple building to the west is the sacred lake, which was used for the priests’ ablutions. Next to the lake is a small shaft, discovered in 1917, which contained valuable treasures of Cleopatra’s era, which are now displayed in the Egyptian Museum.
Click on the Picture Thumbnails below to Enlarge
Around the Temple are the remains of the mud brick wall, which surrounded the whole Temple, as well as the ruins of Coptic houses and churches, including a large number of Coptic crosses, which were chiseled into the stones. To the north lies the Mamisi, the birth house of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, which was erected by the Roman Emperor Trajan in 90 A.D. This little Temple is surrounded by a row of columns, with different capitals embellished with relief images of the God Bes, the chief God of childhood who drove evil spirits away from the babies. Bes is a hideous dwarf, with a big stomach and long whiskers.
Other temples in Egypt
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.