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Egyptian Temples

Situated a little over 100km south of Luxor, the Edfu temple dates from the Ptolemaic period. Construction started in 237 BC and was completed 180 years later. The temple is dedicated to the falcon headed god, Horus and remained in use for more than 400 years until the Roman Empire banned non-Christian worship. Like many of the Egyptian temples it was half buried in the sand by the time explorer and artist David Roberts visited it in 1838. 

The blackened interiors are thought to be the result of arson by zealous Christians.

About 50 km to the north is the town of Esna where a similar temple to that at Edfu stood. Unfortunately only the hypostyle hall built in Roman times remains but the capitals of the columns still have traces of the beautiful coloured decoration.

Like at Edfu the temple was largely buried in the sand and the modern town of Esna stands about 10 or 12 metres above the temple floor level.

Travelling further north we come to the then ancient capital of the known world, Thebes, or as we know it Luxor.


 

The temple site dates from as early as 1400 BC. the oldest parts being built by Amenhotep III. The entrance pylon was built by Rameses II and has two giant seated statues of him guarding it. In front of the statues stood two massive monolithic obelisks although the one on the western side was gifted to King Louis Philippe of France by the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Memhet Ali in 1829 and after a very hazardous sea voyage it arrived in Paris in 1833 and was erected in 1836 in the Place de la Concorde where the guillotine had stood during the revolution.

Just to the north of Luxor lies an even more impressive temple at Karnak. This massive complex spans the lives of about 30 pharaohs with construction starting about 1600 BC. An avenue of sphynxes links the Luxor and Karnak temples complexes.

Parts of the roof structure still retain original paint colours and in many parts the carving is as crisp as the day it was carved.