Temple Run Part 1
Although the Pyramids are the most famous constructions in Egypt, there many more incredible buildings that deserve recognition. In ancient Egypt, religion played a big part in everyday life. All over the country, there are many beautiful temples that have been preserved for centuries. Here are some of the incredible temples that we had the chance to visit.
Temple of Edfu
Edfu is a temple dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus. The temple itself actually has eleven names relating to war, as Horus was a very powerful god.
One of the most famous stories in Egyptian mythology is about Horus. Horus was the son of the gods Isis and Osiris. Osiris was the king of Egypt, and was murdered by his brother Seth as he wanted the throne for himself. When Horus grew up, he fought Seth for his rightful place on the throne and eventually won to become ruler of Egypt. The battle between the two gods is shown on the wall of the temple, with Seth in the form of a hippopotamus, which is a symbol for rebellion.
There are 11 reliefs showing this fight to represent the 11 names of the temple.
In the final relief, Seth as a hippo is shown to be chained up but not dead. This is done to show that although evil can be stopped, it can’t be completely killed.
The reason for depicting Seth as a hippo is also symbolic. During the building of the temple, there were many rebellions throughout the country, so the carvings show the pharaoh who was believed to be the human embodiment of Horus, being victorious over the rebels.
Inside the temple, there are many carvings depicting the unification of Egypt. Around 3100 BC, Egypt was divided into two regions or kingdoms: Upper and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt stretches from Cairo to Aswan, and Lower Egypt goes from Cairo to Alexandria. Although geographically the regions should be named the other way around, the ancient Egyptians gave them those names because the Nile runs from south to north.
In the temple, Upper Egypt is represented by the lotus flower and Lower Egypt is represented by the papyrus plant. We now notice these two plants everywhere!
Inside the temple, when you look up, you can see beautiful painted ceilings. One can only imagine what the painted temples looked like in their prime.
To add to the history and mystery, the ceilings are now black. This was caused during the time of Roman rule in Egypt, when Christians took shelter in many Egyptian temples to escape persecution. The smoke from their torches turned the ceilings black, which is how many of them can be seen today.
The temple of Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo is a temple dedicated to two of the ancient Egyptian gods Horus and Sobek. This temple is rare because most temples are dedicated to only one god. The temple was built during the Ptolemaic dynasty under the rule of Ptolemy VI. This pharaoh is shown in carvings all over the temple with various gods blessing and crowning him, and the pharaoh leaving offerings to the gods. Unfortunately, in later years the temple was ruined due to the rising water of the Nile and people taking blocks from the temple to build factories.
The carvings on the walls depict not only gods and pharaohs, but ancient technology as well. Carved into one of the temple walls are various medical instruments used for surgery, such as a scalpel, needle, and a surgical hook. This shows how advanced the medical knowledge was at this time. In fact, the ancient Egyptians performed some of the first successful brain surgeries.
Another impressive carving found in this temple is the festival calendar. The ancient Egyptians used symbols for numbers to determine which day of the year or which month the festival of a certain god would take place.
Outside of the temple is a big hole in the ground which looks like a well. This is actually a Nile Meter, which used to be connected to the Nile. By looking at the level of the water inside, the ancient Egyptians could tell whether there would be a drought or flood. They would also be able to tell the amount of taxes the king would receive based on an increase or decrease in agriculture. When the temple was used as a place of worship by the ancient Egyptians, a sacred crocodile lived in the Nile Meter and was taken care of by the priests.
Since crocodiles were sacred to the Egyptians, they were often mummified and buried in the same way as humans. At Kom Ombo, there was a crocodile museum with various mummified crocodiles that had been discovered. I found it interesting how so much time and effort went into the preservation of the crocodiles’ bodies.
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two giant statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III. They used to be at the entrance to Amenhotep’s funerary temple, but the building was destroyed by the weather and people taking the blocks for construction, so the two statues are all that remain.
During the time of Roman rule, it is said that the statues sung. This was caused by the wind blowing through cracks in the statues, but they were repaired around 199 BC, so they no longer make the singing sound.
Stay tuned for more awesomeness in Temple Run Part 2!