The Qasr Qarun temple (Qarun Palace) in Fayoum

Narrow corridors, small rooms, numerous levels and passages, this is the maze of what is the most interesting building in Dionysias, the Stone Temple. After leaving the temple, you can enjoy the view of the pebble desert.

The ancient town of Dionysias, lies near the present-day village of Qarun and was founded in the 3rd century BC. Dionysias was an important communication hub because it was the start of the caravan route to the Bahariya oasis. Few of the old town buildings have survived to this day. Among them, you can see the remains of Roman baths and villas. On the inner walls of some of them there are visible traces of frescoes, which are blurred and badly damaged. Only individual colors can be distinguished.

The biggest attraction of the site is the temple dedicated to the syncretic god Sobek-Ra. He combines the features of the crocodile god Sobek (the reptile was his sacred animal) and the solar deity, Ra. The building was built using large blocks of yellow limestone and is the only building that is almost completely preserved. Devoid of decorations, it looks from the outside like an uninteresting, square box. Inside, however, there is a real labyrinth of chambers, staircases, corridors and tunnels arranged on different levels.

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The main corridor leads to a sanctuary with three chapels. On both sides of the corridor, there are numerous small rooms that were once used by priests for worship. One of the staircases leads to the roof on which several chapels were built. Most likely, the worship of Sobek-Ra was carried out there. This was a common practice with the solar gods. On the walls of one of the chapels there are reliefs showing Sobek with the head of a crocodile, as well as one of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. Unfortunately, his name has not been preserved.

There is a great view from the roof, as the yellow sands of the desert and the stony remains of the old city stretch to the horizon.

On December 21 each year, the sun illuminates the sanctuary Quds el-Aqdas (Holy Saints) inside the Qasr Qarun temple. This is called sun alignment phenomenon. It also occurs in other ancient temples in Egypt, but on different days.

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