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The Edfu Temple, also known as the Temple of Horus, is a magnificent ancient structure on the Nile River’s west bank. It’s really old, dating back between 237 and 57 BCE. This temple is one of the best-preserved examples of architecture from the Ptolemaic dynasty’s reign, demonstrating their architectural expertise and devotion to their religion. The temple is well-known for its intricate carvings, ancient Egyptian lettering, and massive entry towers that evoke the majesty of Egypt centuries ago. It is dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed divinity. The Edfu Temple provides an incredible glimpse into the complex customs and religious beliefs of one of the world’s early societies. It’s a remarkable piece of architecture.

About Edfu Temple

A passage in the Edfu Temple comprising Egyptian hieroglyphs

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The Temple of Edfu is an ancient Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu in Upper Egypt. It is one of the best-preserved shrines in Egypt and a remarkable example of an ancient Egyptian temple. The temple was built during the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC and is also known as the Temple of Horus.

The inscriptions on its walls provide valuable information about language, myth, and religion during the Hellenistic period in Egypt. The temple’s architectural features include a pillared hall, transverse halls, and a barque sanctuary surrounded by chapels. Edfu Temple fell into disuse as a religious monument after Theodosius I persecuted pagans in 391 AD. Despite this, it is a well-liked tourist destination in Egypt due to its archaeological significance and excellent preservation.

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Edfu Temple History

The inner courtyard in the Edfu Temple of Horus

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The Hanging Church, formerly Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, is a significant historical and religious landmark in Cairo, Egypt. Although its origins date back to the 3rd or 4th century, the earliest concrete mention of the church is found in the biography of Patriarch Joseph I in the 9th century. The church’s unique name comes from its location above a gatehouse of the Babylon Fortress, giving it the appearance of ‘hanging’.

Historians debate the history of the Babylon Fortress. Some attribute its construction to the 19th century B.C., following Pharaoh Sesostris’s victory over the Babylonians. In contrast, others argue it was built by Nebuchadnezzar II in the late 6th century B.C. after his conquest of Egypt. The Hanging Church in Cairo has a fascinating history. It was built over the southern gate of a Roman fortress and has undergone many repairs over the years. Notable restorations happened during the reigns of Pope Abraham and Caliph Haroun El Rasid. Unfortunately, it also suffered damage from human actions and natural disasters.

Edfu Temple Architecture and Design

Edfu Temple Architecture and Design

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The Temple of Edfu adheres to a traditional Egyptian design, comprising a spacious courtyard, a hypostyle hall, and smaller chambers. It follows an east-to-west orientation along an axial plane, each section serving a specific purpose.

Key Elements:

Pylons and Entrance: The temple’s main entrance boasts an impressive first tower—a massive gateway with sloping walls. Beyond the tower lies the courtyard, where religious ceremonies and processions occur.

Hypostyle Hall: This grand hall features rows of colossal columns supporting the roof. Intricate carvings and hieroglyphs narrate the temple’s construction and the mythology of Horus.

Sanctuaries and Chapels: Within the temple is a barque sanctuary surrounded by nine chapels. Additionally, the inner sanctuary houses the naos of Nectanebo II, a relic from an earlier structure.

Mythical Interpretation: Inscriptions on the temple walls delve into its construction and the symbolic interpretation of all temples as the “Island of Creation.” Scenes depict the timeless conflict between Horus and Seth, as translated by the Edfu Project.

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Opening Hours And Entrance Fees

The solar boat inside the Edfu Temple

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The Temple of Edfu in Egypt charges a general entrance fee of 60 Egyptian Pounds (EGP) for both adults and students. This fee does not cover the guide service, which I recommend hiring to enhance your visit. The Edfu Temple’s opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October through May and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June through September.

Best Time To Visit Edfu Temple

The solar boat

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The Temple of Horus at Edfu is best visited during late spring, specifically in April and May. During this time, the weather is milder, making it more comfortable for tourists to explore without worrying about extreme heat. Additionally, since April and May coincide with school holidays, fewer students are on field trips, resulting in a less crowded experience.

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How To Reach

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There are several ways to reach Edfu Temple. You can come by road. It will offer a scenic trip that immerses you in passing charming villages and towns along the way. Those opting for the train should start with a taxi or public transportation ride to Cairo’s Martyrs Train Station, approximately 19 minutes from Cairo Airport (CAI).

You can take a 10-hour train ride to Luxor for about USD 28. Then, a 2-hour taxi drive, which costs around USD 23, will get you to Edfu Temple. Another option is to fly from Cairo to Aswan, which is quicker and takes about 1½ hours, but costs between USD 90 and USD 150. From Aswan, a 2-hour taxi drive for about USD 25 will take you to Edfu. If you include the time for connections and a possible ride in a horse carriage or tuk-tuk, the journey by plane from Cairo could take around 5 to 6 hours.

Further Read: Things To Do During Summer In Egypt

The Edfu Temple, a magnificent structure dedicated to the falcon god Horus, is a testament to ancient Egypt’s architectural brilliance. Experience the grandeur of Edfu and unlock the secrets of a civilization that has left an indelible mark on human history. Book your trip to Egypt today and set out on a journey throughout time!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Edfu Temple

What is the meaning of Edfu?

The term ‘Edfu’ is also derived from the old Egyptian names ‘Behdet’ or ‘Wetjes-Hor’, which are linked to the veneration of the deity Horus.

Is the Edfu Temple worth visiting?

Yes, Edfu Safe-haven is worth visiting. Travellers exploring ancient Egyptian sites really ought to see it because of its exquisite architecture and extensive history. The extreme security of the haven allows visitors to travel back in time and immerse themselves in the Ptolemaic era's bliss.

Is the Temple of Edfu the same as the Temple of Horus?

Yes, there are many similarities between the Sanctuary of Edfu and the Sanctuary of Horus. The goal of commitment is Horus, the god of the bird of prey, who is associated with assurance, governance, and heavenly equity. The full name of the sanctuary is the Sanctuary of Horus at Edfu.

How long is the Temple of Edfu?

The Sanctuary of Edfu is an impressive ancient Egyptian structure that measures 137 meters in length. It stands as a remarkable example of their architectural skill and ingenuity.

How far is Edfu from Luxor?

Generally, it is 83.7 kilometres on foot from Edfu to Luxor. Depending on traffic and road conditions, the average driving time is one hour and 37 minutes.

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Category: Egypt, Places To Visit, Temples

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