After cruising along the Nile from Kom Ombo, the ship docked in the very early morning hours at Edfu. We got started at 6am by taking a horse-drawn carriage through the city to the Temple of Edfu, where we were attacked by hordes of vendors.
After gallantly fighting them off, Ramis took us through the area past ancient mud brick homes and a small outer section of the temple.
Approaching the Temple of Edfu is a dramatic experience. The wall at the entrance stands 36m high and depicts scenes of Ptolemy XII defeating his enemies. One of the best preserved temples in Egypt, construction started in 237 BC under Ptolemy III. Work continued until the reign of Ptolemy XII in 57 BC. The temple was abandoned over the years and much of it was buried under the sand until excavation began in 1860.
Passing through the gates of the temple, every inch of the wall was covered by incredible reliefs. I looked up and was able to see traces of paint on many of them. I was also able to spot the huge holes used as door hinges.
The entrance leads to an open courtyard lined with columns. When inspecting the details above the gates, Ramis pointed out bullet holes that were left by Napoleon’s army when they camped at the temple. They used certain parts of the temple for target practice.
Ramis took us aside under the columns and gave us a history of the temple and told us of its significance. It was a very important temple dedicated to the god Horus. In Egyptian mythology, the site was the birthplace of Horus. It was also the location of a battle between Horus with his uncle Set, who murdered Horus’ father Osiris.
Ramis then pointed out several reliefs that were destroyed by early Christians after non-Christian worship was banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I in 391. He also pointed out some painted crosses.
From there, Ramis led us through the temple. The whole complex was very impressive with very tall columns on the inside, secret passageways, and well-preserved hieroglyphics.
A section at the very back of the temple was for me one of the most impressive areas. The entire wall from top to bottom was covered in hieroglyphics and reliefs.
The last part of the temple we visited was the inner sanctuary, or the Holy of Holies. A replica relic is kept on display there.
Once our tour of the Temple of Edfu ended, we were escorted back to the cruise by carriage again. The entire group had breakfast together and spent the rest of the day on the sun deck chatting and laying in the sun until arriving in Luxor later that evening.