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The Edfu Temple in Egypt : Temple of Horus

The Edfu Temple in Egypt, also known as Temple of Horus, is one of Egypt's must-see attractions and it is the most well-preserved amongst  all the ancient temples in the country. The religious site is dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus, and on the walls it is told the legend of Horus's victory over the greedy Seth. This is a place that delights everyone who pays it a visits and you should know more about it! Come, we will tell you everything!

What is the Edfu Temple in Egypt?

This is a temple built during the Ptolemaic period, therefore more recent and in the Greco-Roman style. It is dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus, son of the gods Osiris and Isis. However, the legend tells that his uncle Seth, who was envious and wanted to be the most powerful, murdered Osiris and plunged Egypt into a kingdom of terror. Horus promised to avenge his father's death and became a warrior. He defeated Seth and Egypt could be peaceful again.

The Edfu Temple in Egypt is the largest one ever built for Horus and depicts on its walls several scenes of the battle between him and his uncle. The temple also hosted the famous Edfu Festival, which celebrated the marriage of Horus to the goddess of love Hathor.

When was the Edfu Temple built?

The construction of the Temple of Horus began in 237 BC during the reign of Ptolemy III but the works only ended in 57 BC. The Ptolemaic dynasty continued to worship Egyptian gods and many temples were built in that period, such as Kom Ombo, Philae and Dandara. 

What happened to the Edfu Temple in Egypt along the centuries?

Just too much! The temple was built under the Greek domination but the Greeks were defeated and the Roman Empire dominated Egypt after them. In AD 391, Emperor Theodosius I declared that non-Catholic worship was illegal, and unfortunately the Romans destroyed and disfigured many sculptures in Edfu and other temples. The beautiful ceiling of the Hypostyle Hall has never recovered, despite restoration works, and remains darkened to this day.

But no persecution lasts forever. At some point the temple was completely forgotten and, finally, was swallowed up by the desert sand, up to 39 meters deep! As happened to the Luxor Temple, a small village settled on the site, and it was only in 1860 that the local population was relocated and the excavation works could begin. Back to the present days, we can say we are very lucky to be able to appreciate this magnificent temple, one of the main attractions in Egypt.

What are the highlights of the Edfu Temple in Egypt?

The Temple of Horus is 137 meters long and 79 meters wide. When approaching the temple you will notice two beautiful and perfect granite hawks that guard the entrance. The temple has two Hypostyle Halls, one with 18 and the other with 12 columns, and a large pylon 36 meters high. Once inside you will see two vestibules, a dark sanctuary with a small hole from where the light enters, and a small room that is believed to be a library, where manuscripts were kept. The temple also has a roof, where there is a beautiful chapel dedicated to the goddess Hathor.

As we mentioned before, the inscriptions on the walls are also an attraction in itself because tell story of Horus' victory over Seth.

What is the best time of the year to visit the Edfu temple in Egypt?

Visits take place throughout the year, but be aware that during summer peak (June, July, August) temperatures reach above 40 degrees Celsius. High season in from October to April. 

What should I wear to visit the Edfu Temple in Egypt?

We always recommend comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, etc.

How to get to the Edfu Temple?

Many visitors want the opportunity to combine the attractions to a Nile cruise, so they can relax and visit the ancient sites at the same time. In this case, the ship docks in a specific location and visitors take a carriage to the temple. Another option is to reach the location by car or minibus.

Where is the Edfu Temple located?

It is located in Edfu, on the west bank of the Nile, between Aswan and Esna. Its location was considered ideal because it is far from the desert and safe from the floods of the Nile River.

Do I need a guide to visit the Edfu Temple?

An experienced Egyptologist guide will always make your visit more complete and enjoyable.