Horus Falcon God Egyptianholiday


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edfu temple


Also known as the Temple at Idfu, it is found 53km south of Esna and 100km away from Luxor. It is the best preserved temple and the largest temple in Egypt after Karnak. The temple was started in 237BC by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and took around 200 years to build or the reign of six Ptolemy Pharaohs. The Temple made of sand­stone, would have been painted in bright clear colours and is a rectangular shape.The temple is dedicated to Horus the falcon headed God. Many believe that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth and that the current temple is the last in a long series of temples built at this site, with the earlist temple being a grass hut housing a Horus statute built in prehistoric times.


There are many carvings inside the temple describing its construction and the culture of ancient Egyptians. These carvings were made by the priests of the temple, hoping to save their ancient customs, ready for adoption by a true born Egyptian Pharaoh following the departure of the foreign Ptolemy rulers. The massive enclosure wall is carved with
Ptolemaic kings offering to various deities and the carvings on the entrance pylon show scenes of the Pharaoh in battle with his enemies Horus.The entrance to the temple is huge, the pylons are 118 feet high; in the photograph on the left compare the size of the entrance to the size of the people to grasp an idea of its size. The pylon gateway leads to an open top courtyard, which is surrounded on its south, east and west sides by colonnades.


edfu temple






edfu columns

On the northern side of the courtyard is Pronaos (first Hypostyle hall), the largest hall in the temple. The roof of the Pronaos is supported by 18 columns but the spaces between the 6 columns on the southern side are filled to roughly half their height by curtain walls. This filling is designed to screen the interior whilst allowing light to shine through.

The curtain walls contain 2 small chambers; the “House of the Morning” and the “House of Books” or temple library. The chief officiant, purified himself in the House of the Morning.In front of the the main temple facade stands the famous colossal black granite statue of Horus as a falcon, wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The front of the Pronaos building has depictions of Horus and his wife Hathor.




The first Hypostyle Hall leads to the second hypostyle hall which is older and smaller than the first. As in the Pronaos the roof is supported by 12 columns. The second Hypostyle hall has a number of chambers, including two 'Chambers of Offerings' and a laboratory. On the laboratory there are recipes for incense, ointments and perfumes which where used daily to anoint the statue of Horus.The hall also leads to a well called the Chamber of the Nile where the Priests would have collected holy water. Beyond the second hypostyle hall is the offering hall, followed by the vestibule and finally the sanctuary. The Sanctuary is believed to contain the oldest object in the temple, a granite naos on which the golden gilded wooden statue of Horus would have been housed. The sanctuary is surrounded by rooms dedicated to various gods including , the chamber of linen (used to store Horus' robes), the chamber of the throne of gods, the tomb of Osiris, the chamber of Osiris, the chamber of the West and the chamber of the victor (Horus), which houses a ceremonial barge (barque).Some of the chambers are hidden within walls or the rooms contain the undecorated crypts.



Horus falcon god


The temple contains many images of Horus including two statues of the Horus falcon which stand before the main gateway. Horus, was first worshipped as a sun god but later became identified as son of Isis and Osiris.There are many releifs in the temple but the majority are located on the inside of the first pylon. As Hathor was believed to be Horus' partner/husband the reliefs spiritually connect Hathor with Horus. The reliefs include a scence shwoing the Feast of the Beautiful Meeting, the annual reunion between Horus and his wife Hathor.

As stated on the Dendera page during the third month of summer, the priests at the Dendera complex would place the statue of Hathor on her barque (a ceremonial barge) and bring her to Edfu Temple. The Ancient Egyptians believed that this ceremonial visiting enabled Horus and Hathor to share a conjugal visit. Each night Hathor and Horus would retire to the mamissi just outside the main temple. The Mamissi consists of a court, antechamber and sanctuary. The reliefs in the mamissi depict the birth of Harsomtus (son of Horus & Hathor), the God Bes, birth scenes and Ihi (Harsomptus), nursed by Hathor..




edfu temple also known as Idfu temple


There are also a number of chapels around the sanctuary including the Chapel of Min, Chapel of the throne of Re, Chapels of Khonsu and Hathor, and a chapel of the spread wings, dedicated to Mehit. The ancient Egyptians believed that Mehit was a lioness who guarded the path the soul passed along on resurrection journey.

There is also the Chapel of the New Year, which is a sun court similar to that located at Dendera. The ceiling of the chapel shows the journey of the solar barque through the Twelve Hours of the day. During the Festival of the New Year, the statue of Horus would be taken from the chapel to the roof terrace so that the sun would recharge it.





  • To the southwest of the Temple of Horus the oldest cemetaries around Edfu can be found.
  • Around 5km from Edfu the last remains of one of seven small pyramids built along the Nile Valley can be found
  • Behind the town there also graves of the ancient Egyptian elite but these have been robbed.

Any buildings/structures that would have supported the functions of the temple such as houses for the priests, kitchens, abattoirs, storehouses or the sacred lake remain buried underneath the modern town.This is because the temple at Edfu itself was buried underneath sand until 1860 Auguste Mariette, the first Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service commissioned excavation of the site at Edfu.




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