Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple of Kom Ombo is a unique temple with a dual design at Kom Ombo city, Aswan Governorate in Upper Egypt. The building is impressive because its structure consists of two adjoined sections. In other words, the Romans duplicated the courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms for two sets of gods.

Location of the Temple of Kom Ombo

Where is Kom Ombo Temple Located? Kom Ombo Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple located along the Nile River in Kom Ombo – one of the central cities of Aswan Governorate in the upper part of Egypt.

History of the Temple of Sobek

The ancient Egyptians already built a temple of Kom Ombo during the New Kingdom to honour the gods Horus and Sobek. The reused blocks suggest an earlier temple from the Middle Kingdom period. However, little remains of the New Kingdom temple.

Who Built the Temple of Kom Ombo?

The current temple dates to the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC. Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 BC) began building this Temple at the beginning of his reign.

Later, the Roman period witnessed more addition to this complex. Other Ptolemies contributed to its building, most notably Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator (51–47 BC), who built inner and outer hypo-styles. Also, he made significant contributions to the Temple and completed the hypostyle halls (a roof supported by columns). Later, Roman emperors added a few additional elements to the Temple.

In September 2018, the Egyptian antiquities ministry announced that a sandstone sphinx statue had been discovered at this Temple. The figure measures approximately 28 cm wide and 38 cm in height; likely dating to the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

The religious significance of the Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple is unique because the ancient Egyptians dedicated it to two main deities in two halves of the temple building.

God Horus

God Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. He was the God of the Kingdom, the sky, and the God of Living. Horus is the son of Isis and Osiris.

The main deity of the northern half of the Temple is Horus, the ancient Egyptian god of the sky, hunting and war. Ancient Egyptians described Horus in many forms but usually as a man with a ditch head. He was worshipped along with Hathor, the goddess of motherhood and joy, and Khonsu, the god of the moon.

God Sobek

The southern part of Kom Ombo Temple is dedicated to Sobek, the ancient Egyptian god of fertility. Here, Sobek was worshipped with Panebtawy, the Lord of the two lands and the goddess Tasenetnofret. Often depicted as a man with a crocodile head, Sobek is also considered the world’s creator.

The unique architecture of the Temple

The Temple has a unique design in two perfectly symmetrical halves, each dedicated to a set of gods. In each of these halves, the ancients duplicated the interior structures, such as the halls and sanctuaries. The double entrances lead to two connected hypostatic corridors, which lead to other gates that end in the two alters. Archaeologists believe that the current Temple replaced an older temple. The reason is that they discovered some of the reused blocks in the Temple’s structure. The reliefs decorate the front facade of the Temple and the interior walls, which represent royal, mythological and religious events and aspects of the life of the ancient Egyptians.

Things to see and do at Kom Ombo Temple

The Temple is a popular tourist attraction for anyone who wants to know about the history of ancient Egypt. The Temple is also a beautiful aesthetic structure. Tourists can explore the entire Temple and take photos. Tour guides explain the significance of the reliefs on the temple walls, which depict scenes such as the coronation of the Egyptian king, mythological legends and stories, and more. Of particular interest is a scene on the Temple’s back wall, which is believed to be a set of surgical instruments used in antiquity. Old doctors may use these tools to treat patients. However, on the contrary, the scene could also represent instruments used in the daily rituals of the Temple.

The kilometre from Kom Ombo Temple has a canal that leads from the river bank to the fountain. However, the water no longer reaches the well, which exists as a deep cylindrical structure near the entrance to the temple area. Temple visitors can also see an inoperable mile, a system used by the ancient Egyptians to measure the water level in the river to anticipate flooding.

Outside the temple complex is a crocodile museum that houses ancient mummified crocodiles and other historical artefacts from ancient Egypt.

Threats to Kom Ombo’s Temple

Because the Temple is located on a headland on the banks of the Nile, water erosion has degraded parts of the outer sections of the temple complex. However, the tourism ministry works on its preservation due to its high archaeological value.

1 thought on “Temple of Kom Ombo

  1. The most fascinating part of this temple was it being built on a dual plan. In other words, every part of the temple has been dedicated to two gods Horus and Sobek respectively. The existing temple has been dated back to the Ptolemic Dynasty but also has Roman influence was seen in different additions done in the temple. Also, the wonderful discovery of a sandstone Sphinx statue has made this temple a tourist hotspot. Do visit for sure.

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