Temple of Edfu is one of the most beautiful and famous temples in Egypt. Before you decide to visit this temple, you have to know some facts about it.
The significance of Edfu temple is that it is one of the most luxurious and complete temples among the Ptolemaic temples.
It is unique among all the ancient Egyptian temples, as it is intact or almost in its original form, whereas most of the ancient Egyptian temples are not in perfect condition.
History of building the temple of Edfu
The inscriptions on the temple of Edfu indicate that it was dedicated to the god Horus Behdty; a sacred hawk usually represented by a hawk-headed man.
The Edfu temple in Aswan contains a statue of this god with that image, in addition to a collection of statues of this god in the shape of a hawk. The day of the election and the coronation of this god is one of the greatest anniversaries of ancient Egypt.
The phases of building temple of Edfu
This temple was built in three phases, which are:
1 – The first phase: it includes the original building, which is the nucleus of the temple, as it is considered a full temple in its self.
This building includes a hall of columns, in addition to two other rooms, a sanctuary, and several side rooms. Ptolemy III began to build this temple in 237 BC.
About 25 years later, the main building of Edfu temple was built on August 14, 212 BC, in the tenth year of Ptolemy IV’s reign.
When the stability returned to the country in this period, the work in the temple continued. In the fifth year of Ptolemy VII’s reign, the doors of the temple were installed, in addition to several objects.
2 – The second phase: the process of decorating the walls and drawing the inscriptions with golden plates. The temple was built in nearly 97 years, including periods of suspension, as a result of revolutions and so on.
3 – The third phase: it includes the construction of the columns hall, the front hall, and gates that were not built. This phase started in 46th of the reign of Ptolemy IX. Auguste Mariette discovered this temple in 1860.
The contents of Edfu temple
The temple contains many architectural elements, which are:
- The Pylon
It consists of two towers; in each tower, there are a number of rectangular niches, which were used for fixing the flags. In front of the pylon, there are two large statues symbolizing god Horus.
- The Great Gate
It is the main entrance to the temple of Edfu and it was made out of cedar wood, which is inlaid with gold and bronze, and topped by a winged sun disk. The winged sun disk represents god Hours Behdty.
- The large courtyard
It is a large courtyard with two rows of columns on its sides. There are 32 columns with their crowns in the form of palm leaves and flowers. The length of this courtyard is forty-six meters and the width is forty-two meters.
- Hall of the Great Columns
The hall of great columns in Edfu temple is accessed through the door that locates in the middle of the large courtyard.
This hall consists of 18 columns with floral crowns, including the pillars of the facade, which are huge ones. These columns are arranged in a number of rows and each row consists of 3 columns.
- The room of consecration
It locates inside the large hall of the temple, specifically on the right, and to the left side of the left gate.
- Hall of the small columns
You can access this hall through the entrance located in the northern wall of the Great Hall of the columns. It is a small hall area, consisting of 12 columns, and is characterized by wonderful carvings and decorations. It has 4 doors, on both its eastern and western sides.
- The first waiting room
It is also called the altar room in the temple of Edfu, which was dedicated to present offerings to the gods to make them satisfied and, therefore, gave them happiness and blessing, according to the ancient Egyptians beliefs.
- The second waiting room
It is also called the complex of the gods, which is basically dedicated to worshiping the gods, but the worship of each god was performed separately.
- The Holy of Holies
It is the most sacred part of the temple of Edfu, as it was not allowed to anyone to enter it, except the king and the grand priest only.
The holy of holies is surrounded by a number of 10 rooms; each room has its own carved name, in addition to a corridor around the temple, specifically around its internal parts.
- The tunnels of the Holy of Holies
It is a group of secret rooms, which were dedicated to the worship of each god individually, performing the rituals, or keeping the different tools that belong to such rituals.
- The Nilometer
It was used for measuring the level Nile water, therefore, predicting the arrival of the flood.
This nilometer locates in Edfu temple inside a large wall surrounding it from all sides except the southern part of it, where the great gate of the temple is located.