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The religion of Ancient Egypt is amazing in itself. Despite the fact that, like many other prehistoric belief systems, it is polytheistic and based on animalistic ideas, the pantheon is not very wide and includes a limited number of deities. And there are practically no special 'spirits' in ancient Egyptian religious concepts.
Perhaps that is why architects in Ancient Egypt did not “spray” on numerous small altars, but immediately erected incredibly monumental and impressive temples. Some of them have survived to this day. They are not afraid of anything – not winds, not sandstorms, not showers, not even time itself.
We have collected the most amazing and amazing temples of Ancient Egypt in this material.
Amazing temples of Ancient Egypt
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||rating|
|Amazing temples of Ancient Egypt||1||Temple of Edfu||5.0|
|4||Khonsu Temple in Thebes||4.7|
|7||Temple complex on Philae Island||4.4|
|8||Memorial temple of Queen Hatshepsut||4.3|
|9||Abu Simbel Temple||4.2|
Temple of Edfu
One of the central deities of the ancient Egyptian pantheon was Horus (Horus), symbolizing the sun and sky. He appeared in the guise of a falcon – or a man with a bird's head. In mythology, Horus was contrasted with Set – the god of rage, war and destruction. In addition, he ruled the kingdom of the living and personified justice. Nothing is hidden from Wadget – the eyes of Horus.
In honor of Horus, the Edfu temple was erected – one of the largest in the territory of modern Egypt. And at the same time – one of the 'youngest'. The Temple of Edfu, judging by measurements and studies, began to be erected in the 230s BC.
Edfu is a trapezoidal building. Outside, the walls depict myths describing the life and history of the god. Inside there is a wide courtyard surrounded by 32 columns. And in its very center is a statue of a falcon – a bird, in the guise of which Horus himself often appeared. The walls are 36 meters high.
The decoration of Edfu also contains images describing the life of the pharaohs. And this is not surprising. The political system of Ancient Egypt was inseparable from the religious one, and the pharaohs were represented as incarnations of deities on earth. Therefore, stories about their lives and achievements were also included in the general mythological picture of the world.
Karnak Temple – the largest religious building that existed from the time of Ancient Egypt to the present day – was erected in honor of three deities at once: Amun, Mut and Khonsu.
In ancient beliefs, Amun was the god of 'heavenly black space' as well as air. And after religious reforms, he took the place of Horus and became the patron saint of the Sun. According to mythology, he was married to Mut, the goddess of motherhood. Khonsu, the third member of the Theban triad, was the son of these two members of the pantheon. He was the god of the moon, as well as a healer and therefore the patron saint of healers.
The temple of Karnax was a place of worship for all three gods. It began to be built about 3.2 thousand years before our era. It has several separate shrines. For example, his own temple is dedicated to the god Amon-ra, which has an area of 30 hectares and consists of 10 pylons (tower-like structures in the form of a truncated pyramid or trapezoid). There is also a hall of caryatids, and several alleys of sphinxes of different 'rocks' at once, and even a sacred lake.
Of course, the pharaohs who took part in the construction of this temple complex were also not particularly modest. A huge statue in one of the courtyards is dedicated to Ramses II. And the walls of the Khonsu sanctuary are decorated with frescoes depicting Ramses III. But most of all, Amenhotep II distinguished himself – he has a whole separate temple, which is even larger than the one dedicated to the god-demiurge and patron of artisans Ptah.
Karnak temple complex is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and was one of the first sites included in this list – its serial number 87.
From the 3rd to the 2nd millennium BC, the political center (and periodically also the capital) of Ancient Egypt was the city of Thebes, located in the eastern part of the country, approximately in the middle, on both banks of the Nile River. The inhabitants of this almost metropolis worshiped the three main deities of the local pantheon – Amon-Ra, Mut and Khonsu. In honor of them, the largest temples were erected, the largest of which is Karnak, the previous one in the ranking.
But the Luxor temple was a little smaller and dedicated to only one deity – Amon-Ra. It got its name from its geographical location. Now this temple complex is located on the territory of the modern city of Luxor.
Luxor Temple has long been called the 'Southern Harem', primarily due to an incorrect translation of the local name. In addition, the researchers were pushed to this name by the bas-reliefs on the walls of the sanctuary depicting the birth of the deity Amon-Ra. From an architectural point of view, the Luxor complex is characterized by religious structures from the times of the so-called New Kingdom – it is distinguished by its grandeur, scale of the plan and many solemn details. For example, a huge number of columns, sculptures, bas-reliefs and other decorative elements are presented here.
The Luxor Sanctuary is connected to Karnaksim by the Sphinx Alley. In addition, thanks to this series of sculptures, the architects managed to correctly orient the pylons of the temple from the southeast to the northwest. On the walls of some elements of the complex, not only mythological subjects are depicted, but also literary treasures, such as the Poem of Pentaura, which modern historians call a propaganda work created to praise Pharaoh Ramses II.
By the way, interesting finds on the territory of this temple are still found. For example, in 2018, archaeologists managed to find a statue of a sphinx in the form of a lion with a human head, which is very similar to the sculpture of the Great Sphinx of Cairo.
Khonsu Temple in Thebes
The Theban temple of Khonsu is one of the examples of the 'ancient Egyptian long-term construction'. Dedicated to one of the three main gods of the kingdom, it was built for several centuries, which influenced its architecture. So, the main pylon looks much less luxurious than the central gate decorated with bas-reliefs.
This temple began to be built at the end of the II millennium BC under the leadership of Pharaoh Ramses II. It was he who erected the very central pylon, which is the main element of the religious building. But he did not have time to finish his work – few of the pharaohs were distinguished by longevity.
Pharaoh Nectaneb I took over the 'baton'. Several centuries have passed since the construction of the temple at that time. Nectaneb I managed to build a hypostyle hall with numerous, often spaced columns. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to him, so now this room looks somewhat sad.
Nectaneb I ruled for 18 years and during this time he managed to make war with the Persians. The cause of death is unknown, but the mournful hour overtook him on the throne. The next pharaohs forgot about the Khonsu temple, and only Ptolemy III continued construction. It was he who erected the luxurious entrance gates, which now welcome tourists and surprise with the complexity of the pattern depicted on them. So, in addition to hieroglyphs demonstrating mythological and historical plots, they are decorated with a voluminous bas-relief with a winged sun and snakes.
Not all ancient Egyptian religious buildings date back to the prehistoric period. During 'our era', when the country was captured by the Roman Empire, temples were also erected on its territory. And one of the biggest of them is Kalabsha.
The Kalabsha Temple, located on the right bank of the Nile River, began to be erected in the 30s of our era under the leadership of the Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus. True, it was never completed. Roman emperors also did not differ in longevity, sometimes becoming too suddenly mortal.
Interestingly, the Kalabsha temple was erected in honor of the Nubian deity – Mandulis, symbolizing the sun. He is not too different from Amon-Ra from ancient Egyptian mythology and is also often depicted as a falcon. The only important 'but' is that Mandulis wears an elaborate atef crown decorated with ram horns. But Amon-Ra such honors are not needed, he is already the god of the sun.
The Kalabsha temple in terms of architecture is similar to other religious buildings of Ancient Egypt, but at the same time a little more 'refined', which is characteristic of the influence of the ancient Roman Empire. It is also made in the form of a truncated pyramid, but the outer walls are not solid, but made up of columns.
By the way, now this building is not in the same place as before. It had to be carefully relocated in the middle of the last century, when the Aswan Dam with a hydroelectric power plant began to block the Nile.
At the end of the 1st millennium BC, Egypt passed into the rule of the dynasty of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. During these times, especially bloody wars were not observed (they will be a little later), so the rulers concentrated on the religious aspect of life. They not only completed the Khonsu temple in Thebes, but also began to build a new structure – even larger, grander and more impressive.
The Kom Ombo temple, located in the ancient Egyptian city of Nubit, was dedicated to two deities – Horus and Sebek.
Horus was the son of Ra, the god of the sun and sky, often the personification of the masculine principle. He was portrayed with the head of a falcon. Even his hieroglyph in the ancient Egyptian language was written in the form of a seated bird. Sebek was the god of water. In addition, it was in his 'merits' that the flood of the Nile was recorded. Sebek was portrayed as a man with the head of a crocodile, but at the same time he was a good god – he protected both people and neighbors in the pantheon.
Kom Ombo is essentially a temple complex and consists of two sanctuaries. Moreover, they were absolutely symmetrical and identical to each other – well, with the exception of bas-reliefs and other decor. Kom Ombo has one entrance, but if you go left to the falcon statue, you can get to the Horus shrine. And if to the right, to the crocodile – then to the hall of Sebek.
Temple complex on Philae Island
Philae (Philae) is an island in the southern part of the Nile, at the first rapids. According to legend, Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of rebirth and the head of the kingdom of the dead, is buried on it. He judged the souls of the dead, determining how godly they were during life. If the dead man was a good person, he was admitted to the fields of Ialu; and if a sinner … In general, Osiris had a personal monster Ammat, which (by the way, this 'girl') loved to feed on wicked souls.
Philae was an impregnable island. No one except the priests had the right to be on it. Even Pharaoh, even if he was the deputy of God on earth. According to the legend, the fauna did not pass through strict “access control”. Even birds and fish, according to the ancient Egyptians, did not visit the island of Philae.
But all this did not prevent the construction of a huge temple complex on the island. And construction began in relatively recent times – at the beginning of the IV century BC. Then Pharaoh Nectaneb I, who had already had a hand in the Thebes sanctuary of Khonsu, began to build on the island the temple of the goddess Hathor (patroness of heaven, love, dancing, drunkenness, motherhood and fertility).
In 'our era', when Ancient Egypt was invaded by the Romans, the construction of temples in Philae did not stop. Emperor Trajan erected the sanctuary of the goddess Isis, personifying femininity and motherhood.
At the end of the 20th century, the Aswan Dam was erected on the Nile River, and the island turned out to be even more inaccessible than before – it completely went under water. Fortunately, UNESCO managed to transfer the temples of Hellenic times to Agilkia. However, for example, the polychromy of the reliefs was irretrievably lost.
Memorial temple of Queen Hatshepsut
In the middle of the II millennium BC, Queen Hatshepsut ruled Ancient Egypt. For about 20 years of power, she did a lot for the country – she rebuilt the state after previous conflicts, started several new ones, rebuilt many cities, 'raised' the economy and established several trade routes.
All this, as well as the effective mechanism of state propaganda, led to the fact that Hatshepsut was very fond of the people. Therefore, after her death – either due to an improperly pulled out tooth, or due to poisoning with poisonous cosmetics – the ancient Egyptian architect Senmut (according to unofficial information, also the favorite and beloved of the queen) erected a memorial temple in her honor.
The funeral temple of Queen Hatshepsut is located in the Deir el-Bahri valley and is carved right into the rock. It consists of three terraces. During the time of Ancient Egypt, this temple was a real architectural wonder. Trees and gardens bloomed on the terraces cut into the rocks, and an artificial lake spilled out in front of the entrance. And it took only 9 years to build this architectural masterpiece.
Now, of course, most of the structure is destroyed. Even the hypostyle hall has lost its roof – and the columns are open. However, a small portico at the entrance remained, and even the statues decorating it are more or less intact. They depict Queen Hatshepsut with the head of Osiris.
Abu Simbel Temple
On the western bank of the Nile there is a mountainous area, the rock in which is both stable and pliable enough for processing. That is why several religious and solemn structures are carved here at once, the largest and most impressive of which is the Abu Simbel temple complex.
Pharaoh Ramses II began to build the Abu Simbel complex, who was 'noted' in both Luxor and Thebes. The first sanctuary in the structure is dedicated to the ruler himself. And it surprises with images. There is a bas-relief in the decor of the temple, demonstrating how Ramses the pharaoh worships the deity Ramses.
In addition, in this temple dedicated to Ramses II, two ancient Egyptian gods were honored – Aton (the visible form of Ra, the solar disk) and Ptah (the demiurge, the patron saint of artisans and architects).
The second temple of the complex is dedicated to Nefertiti. She was not only the queen of Egypt, but also the first wife of Pharaoh Ramses II. In this sanctuary, they worshiped both her and the goddess Hathor, the patroness of heaven, love, fertility, motherhood and even intoxication.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.