April 3, 2012

The Solar Temple of Abu-Gurob | Facts and Secrets

The solar temple of Abu-Gurob
Further south, at Abu-Gurob, Userkaf built the first of the eventual five sun-temples or sanctuaries that were to become a feature of the architecture of the early 5th Dynasty kings. At this remote spot in the desert, the king constructed a sturdy podium of mudbrick and limestone with a smaller podium upon it at the west end, on which stood a stumpy obelisk (the benben) - forerunner of the more lofty obelisks of the New Kingdom. In front of the obelisk podium was a sun altar which was later to become a feature of Akhenaten's apparently innovative temple to the Aten (14th century BC). A causeway led north-west to a valley temple and to the south was a boat of Re constructed of mudbrick. It was from the valley temple that the other fine portrait head of Userkaf was recovered, this time in schist and showing him wearing the Red Crown.

solar temple of Abu-Gurob
Only slightly to the north-west of Userkaf's sun temple his successors proceeded to erect theirs in a row. Little now remains of these, other than mounds with scattered stone blocks on the desert face.

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