July 29, 2013

Edfu

Edfu
Edfu’s main claim to fame in Egyptian history is that in this other-wise unimportant small town there is the best preserved temple in the whole of Egypt. The ancient capital of the Ilnd nome of Upper Egypt, it was called Apollinopolis Magna by the Greeks.

Edfu
The temple, which is dedicated to Horus, was built during the Ptolemaic period on top of an older temple dating from the time of Tutmose III. Because of its imposing dimensions it is considered the most important after Karnak. It is 137 metres long and the front is 79 metres wide. It has a pylon 36 metres high. On guard at the entrance to the temple are two very beautiful black granite statues depicting Horus in the form of a falcon. The name of the god in fact derives from the word «hr» which means hawk. Behind the two statues stand the external walls of the temple together with massive figure of Horus and Hathor. The wide grooves either side of the doorway once housed the flag masts from which fluttered their standards. Inside the sancturary, still in a perfect state of preservation, is a very beautiful tabernacle carved from a single block of grey granite and which stands about 4 metres high. The inscriptions tell us that it was constructed under Nectanebus II (360 B.C.).

Edfu Statue
Before entering the temple it is interesting to look at the «mam- misi» constructed under Evergete II. In the Coptic language «mam- misi» means «the place of childbirth» and refers to the spot where symbolically Horus is reborn every day. It is for this reason that it has become sacred to those in child-birth and to all women who want to have a child.

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