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 big mud brick enclosed wall surrounds it. This area was the site of the sixth Nome in ancient Egypt, south of Abydos.
Location of Dendera Temples
Dendera Temple complex stands 7 km from Qena and about 2.5 kilometres southeast of Dendera, Qena Governorate, Egypt.
History of the Temples of Dendera
The temple complex displays a scene of the long history of Egypt. This fantastic complex reveals a lot about this history. When studying the history of this complex, we can find the ancient Egyptians developed it throughout different eras. Indeed, the first building dates back to the Ancient Egyptian period; though, the Greek and Roman rulers developed the site. There is evidence of temples and other structures that date back to 2500 BCE—Pharaoh Pepi I (Ca.2250 BC). Also, there is evidence that a temple existed from the Eighteenth Dynasty (ca 1500 BC). However, the earliest extant building in this compound dates back to native pharaohs – the Mammisi, which Nectanebo II (360–343 BC) raised.
Ptolemy XII built the main temple, and nearly Queen Cleopatra VII could complete it around 54 to 20 BCE. Later, the appearance of Christianity in Egypt has its influence on the Temples of Dendera. Undoubtedly, Christianity banned building such temples. Then, Christians started to use the ancient temples as churches. No wonder there also exists a Coptic church on the premises near the Temple of Birth at one point.
Features of the Complex in Dendera
The Dendera Temple complex has many features. These features include the following temples and elements:
- Roman Mammisi.
- Christian Basilica.
- Hathor temple (the main temple).
- Temple of the birth of Isis.
- Sacred Lake.
- Barque shrine.
- Gateways of Domitian and Trajan.
- Besides, the Roman Kiosk.