Ancient Egyptian Temples

Ancient Egyptian Temples

The ancient Egyptians built their temples for the official worship of the gods and the commemoration of the pharaohs. They built them in ancient Egypt, and areas under Egyptian control, too. According to the ancient Egyptians, these temples were dwellings of the gods. Based on the ancient Egyptian religion, the king of ancient Egypt was the son of the gods. Thus, we may say that the ancient Egyptian worshipped the pharaoh of Egypt in these temples, too. Within these Ancient Egyptian temples, the priests performed a variety of rituals.

Use of the Ancient Egyptian Temples

The ancient Egyptian cult was focusing on three important elements: offering sacrifices to the gods, celebrating religious festivals, and overcoming the forces of chaos. These rituals were necessary for the ancient Egyptian gods to continue adhering to the “Maat” _ the divine order of the universe. The housing and patronage of the gods were the duties of the pharaohs. For this reason, pharaohs devoted enormous resources to the construction and maintenance of the temple. But, it was optional that Pharaohs do the duties themselves as they delegated most of their ritual duties to a group of priests. While most of the population couldn’t participate directly in these rituals or enter the holiest areas of the temple. However, the temple was an important religious site for all Egyptians, who went there to pray, to give offerings, and to seek guidance from the Gods dwelling within.

Structure of the Ancient Egyptian Temples

The most sacred part of the temple was the sanctuary, which usually contains a cult image and a statue of God. The rooms outside were larger and more elaborate. With temples developing, this sanctuary grew over time from small shrines, in late prehistoric Egypt, to the large stone rocks edifices, in the modern kingdom (1550-1070 BC). This edifice is among the largest and most consistent examples of Egyptian architecture. The ancient Egyptian architectures arranged and decorated the elements of the edifice according to the patterns of complex religious symbols. Its typical design consists of a series of closed halls, open courts and entry columns adjoining the path used in the processions of festivals.

The Egyptians continued to build temples despite the retreat of the nation and the eventual loss of independence during the Roman Empire in 30 BC. With the advent of Christianity, the traditional Egyptian religion faced increasing neglect, and the temple communities disappeared during the fourth to sixth centuries. The buildings they left behind suffered centuries of destruction and neglect.

List of the Ancient Egyptian Temples

The following is a listing of some Ancient Egyptian temples. We ordered them according to their following location from the south of the country to the north:

Temples of Abu Simbel

The Temples of Abu Simbel _ the most famous rock-cut temples in Egypt. These temples exist near the modern village of Abu Simbel, at the Second Nile Cataract. In other words, it lies at the border between Lower Nubia and Upper Nubia. There are two of them: The Great Temple belongs to Ramses II, while he dedicated the Small Temple to his wife, Queen Amun-her-Khepeshef.

Temple of Kalabsha

The Temple of Kalabsha is a Greco-roman one. This temple was originally located at Bab al-Kalabsha, ancient Egyptian Talmis. It lies 56 km south of the city of Aswan, Aswan governorate. The Ancient Egyptians dedicated it to Isis, Osiris and Horus-Mandulis (the Roman aspect of the Nubian solar god, Merul). Kalabsha is the finest example of a freestanding temple in Nubia after the Temples of Abu Simbel. They call it “The Temple of Mandulis”, as well.

Temples of Philae

The Temples of Philae lie on one of the islands in the River Nile. Its original place was on Philae Island in Aswan. The ancient Egyptian name of Philae was Pilak, from which the Greek and Latin Philae were derived. During the Islamic era, it was known to the local people as El-Qasr, the “Castle,” or as Geziret Anas el-Wogud, after the hero of one of the tales in the “Arabian Nights,” who traced his beloved to the island, where she had been locked up by her father.

Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple of Kom Ombo is a double temple in the town of Kom Ombo in Aswan Governorate, Upper Egypt. The building is unique because its design consists of two adjoined sections. In other words, there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods.

Temple of Horus at Edfu

The Temple of Horus in Edfu is one of the most impressive and well-preserved temples in Egypt. This temple is located on the west bank of the Nile in the city of Edfu, Aswan Governorate. It is the largest temple dedicated to Horus and Hathor of Dendera.

Abydos Temple complex

The Abydos Temple Complex is located in Abydos Village, in the modern Egyptian town Al-Balyana, south of Sohag governorate. During ancient Egypt, Abydos was the capital of the eighth Nome. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the River Nile at latitude 26° 10′ N.

Temple of Amenhotep III

The Temple of Amenhotep III is one of the amazing temples located on the west bank of the River Nile, in the Theban Necropolis, Luxor governorate. Amenhotep III, pharaoh of the Dynasty XVIII, built this temple during his rule about 1400 B.C., where he was worshipped as a god.

Temples of Karnak

The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the time over which it was built and developed. It took a long time to arrive at its final shape. Here, we are not talking about a single temple; but, a complex of temples. As an ancient Egyptian temple, the construction started in the Middle Kingdom and continued to Ptolemaic times. Almost all the rulers of Ancient Egypt left their mark in this vast and huge complex. Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings. This process of construction and renovation have led to size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere. Really, It is the largest religious building ever made, covering about 200 acres! Additionally, it was a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2,000 years.

Temple of Hatshepsut

The Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, in Deir El Bahri, is one of the most prominent temples we have in Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the River Nile in Luxor, Luxor governorate. It is a semi-rock-carved temple. This aspect was unusual for that time. Indeed. the temple of Queen Hatshepsut became a real engineering marvel of the ancient builders. Now, we consider it as one of the most famous structures of ancient Egyptian architecture.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple is an Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city Thebes, Luxor governorate. This temple was built by Amenhotep III (1390-52 BC) but completed by Tutankhamun (1336-27 BC) and Horemheb (1323-1295 BC). Finally, it was added to the temples built during Ramses II (1279-13 BC). At the same time, we can see a granite shrine, toward the rear, which is dedicated to Alexander the Great (332-305 BC).

Temples of Dendera

The Complex Temple of Dendera is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and a hefty mud brick enclosed wall surrounds it. This area was used as the sixth Nome of Upper Egypt, south of Abydos.

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