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Edfu Temple

 

Egypttraveltips.com considers the Temple of Horus at Edfu one of the most beautiful touristic sites of the whole world.Edfu Temple, which is located about 120 km. south of Luxor, midway between Luxor & Aswan, is a grander affair than Esna Temple.     

Edfu Temple is commonly described as the best preserved & the most perfect of Egyptian temples.Built entirely in the Ptolemaic era, it was clearly designed to a specific plan which was not alerted in the building .It is also unique among Egyptian temples in being virtually complete: this, in spite of the fact that, like Esna, it was situated in the middle of a town & until excavated by Mariette in 1860 was buried up to the level of its capitals.Many of the reliefs of Edfu Temple, sadly, were mutilated in Christian times; but architecturally speaking, it is virtually intact.The Temple of Edfu impresses not only by its design but also by its proportions.Agrand first pylon gives entrance to a great forecourt, surrounded by columns, 12 on each of its long sides, 6 & 8 at the two ends.

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The capitals, of the columns of the forecourt, are of floral type. On the long sides no two capitals are the same but each capital matches its opposite number on the other side. The most prominent object in the forecourt is the famous falcon-headed statue of horus, the god to whom apparently the temple was dedicated, the scenes showing him, mostly, with his wife Hathor.

A second pylon leads to the first Hypostyle Hall. This is an affair of 18 columns, again with good capitals, & of two contrasting decorative styles.On the columns & on the near wall are reliefs of the incised type, while the two end walls are beautifully done with raised reliefs. What impresses one here is that the decorative scheme was planned as a whole & a satisfying sense of symmetry results.The sense of symmetry continues through the remaining sections of the temple, the next one being the second Hypostyle hall of 12 columns. Beyond it, through 2 further halls, one penetrates to the sanctuary where an unexpected object confronts one -- an enormous empty granite shrine -- placed here apparently as an after-thought for it is of the period of Nectanebo, a Pharaoh, from the 30 dynasty, some 50 years anterior to the temple's foundation.

 

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The temple, finally, is interesting in having preserved completely its ambulatory & surrounding wall.An interesting diversion on the eastern side is to dive down the steps to the Nilometer, one of the few surviving in Egypt from ancient times.Unusually attractive is the view & a wide Panorama from far away.

Not the least of the charms of Edfu are the horse-carriages which transport the visitor between the temple & the ship.

Egypttraveltips.com, greatly, recommend the Temple of Edfu for the tour by land or on a cruiser.