Edfu | The Temple of Horus

Edfu | Temple of Horus | Aswan Travel Guide

Edfu which can also be written as Idfu and is called Behdet in the  ancient times, It is a small Egyptian town, located on the west bank of the Nile River between Luxor and Aswan, with a population of about sixty thousand people. Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement.

Like at Esna, the temple of Edfu is one of the Must-see stops of all Egypt Nile Cruise and included within most of Egypt Travel PackagesEgypt Day Tours and Aswan day tours. It was built during the Greco-Roman Period, but the builders painstakingly preserved the form of Egypt’s true pharaohs. As a result, a visit to Edfu allows you to see what all of the other ruined temples around Egypt might have looked like had they been built 2000 years later.

The town is known for the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BC and 57 BC, into the reign of Cleopatra VII. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple, oriented east to west, facing towards the river. The later structure faces north to south and leaves the ruined remains of the older temple pylon to be seen on the east side of the first court.

The Temple of Horus is located in the center of the town of Edfu. By the 19th century, the village extended into the temple with some houses actually standing on the roof of the sand-filled temple. Now the buildings have been cleared away, but the excavation is still very evident since the surrounding buildings look down into the temple complex, which is several meters below the modern ground level.

The temple is very complete, including a pylon that was built by Cleopatra’s father in the first century BC, which leads into a peristyle court and then a hypostyle hall that precedes the sanctuary of Horus, the ultimate and most important part of the temple. All of this replicates the standard layout of a New Kingdom pylon temple, the ruins of which can be seen at many other sights around Luxor and along the Nile Valley. The Temple of Horus at Edfu is by far the most complete example of this architectural style.

The Pyramid ruins

The ruins of one of the seven small regional step pyramids built along the Nile Valley, is located about 5 km to the  south of the modern city of Edfu near the west bank village of Naga El-Goneima. The pyramid is made out of the local reddish sandstone and rises to the height of 5.5 m. The pyramid has been built most probabley by King Huni of the Third Dynasty. The main  purpose of those pyramids is mysterious. Further excavations and a detailed survey are carried out by the Oriental Institute in Chicago University since 2010.