Edfu Temple

Edfu Temple
Edfu Temple

Over the centuries the Mediterranean basin has been occupied by various peoples and civilizations, but perhaps it was the Greeks and Romans whose imprint has been most marked throughout the area, so much so that even in one of the largest and most attractive civilizations such as the Egyptian people can appreciate the presence of these peoples. On this occasion we will analyze one of the Egyptian temples that were built in Hellenistic times,the temple of Edfu.


The construction works must have started in the first half of the 3rd century BC around the year 273 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy III, however its construction was greatly delayed in time and it was at the time of Ptolemy Philopator when the works of the first level were finished, in the reign of Ptolemy VII (142 BC) it was decorated but the temple was not completely finished until the year 57 BC. during the reign of Ptolemy XII.

Located on the western bank of the Nile River, the Edfu temple is one of the constructions that has come down to us in the best state of preservation and after the Karnak temple, this was one of the most outstanding temples of its time. The work was dedicated to the god Horus who the Greeks identified with their sun god, Apollo.

With its more than one hundred and thirty-seven meters in length, seventy-nine in width and thirty-six in height, the temple rose on theancient ruins of a previous building that apparently was also dedicated to Horus and of which we can still see some remains today in the eastern part of the building. The remains of a pylon with inscriptions that indicate that its construction must have been carried out during the time of the New Empire are still preserved from this primitive building.

The temple of Edfu presents the most typical structure of the Egyptian temples, that is some access pylons, a patio, hypostyle halls and already in an interior area the central chamber, an offering room and a sanctuary. Special attention deserves the intricate lighting system of the temple, a gradual system that gradually darkens with increasingly darker rooms until reaching total darkness in the central room. The pylons also feature lighting through small slots in the walls that illuminate the interior rooms.

Edfu is not only original for its architectural composition, inside the temple we can find multiple reliefs that offer us information about the Egyptian religion, customs or traditions.

When at the end of the fourth century in the year 391 A.D. Theodosius I forbade the worship of any religion except Christianity, the temple ceased to be used and inside it you can still see some of the damage caused by the bonfires in which multiple statues were burned. Over the years the temple was left under the sands of the desert until in the 19th century it was recoveredgradually.

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