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The Temple of Horus in Edfu

Anyone who sees the Temple of Horus in Edfu will understand why the building is appreciated by Egyptologists and is the pride of Egyptians.

The temple complex in Edfu has survived over 2,000 years intact. It was built during the reign of Ptolemy (4th - 1st century BC). A 10-meter high wall runs around the temple buildings and it is the only wall surrounding the Egyptian cult district that has been preserved since antiquity. The perfect axial symmetry of the individual parts of the temple is amazing and its Eastern and Western parts are mirror images.

The monumental pylon enters the courtyard, surrounded on three sides by columns. A real shadow theater takes place here. The sun's rays, depending on the time of day and the angle of incidence, illuminate different parts of the courtyard, revealing more and more new fragments of decorations. In its Northern part there is a statue of the god Horus, depicted as a falcon in the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The falcon was a cult animal of this god, the patron saint of royal power. The entrance to the temple vestibule (pronaos) is flanked by six columns with composite capitals, that is, consisting of bundles of papyrus, lotus leaves and palm trees. Between the columns there are stone barriers that are characteristic of the temple from that period, and block the view of the interior of the building.

 

 

The passage from the first hypostyle hall with 18 columns leads to a smaller pillared hall, known as the Appearance Hall. It was here that, during the procession, the cult statue of the god Horus emerged from the gloom reigning further in the temple. Through successive, narrower and lower entrances located on the axis of the temple, you reach the oldest and most holy hall - the sanctuary. It was carved from a single piece of gray granite. A golden cult statue of Horus used to stand here.

The crafted decoration of the temple in the form of reliefs is unforgettable. On the inner walls of the perimeter wall, scenes from the myth about the fight between Horus and Set and the text describing it are presented. According to one version of the myth, Set was the uncle of Horus. After killing his brother, Osiris wanted to seize power in Egypt that legally belonged to Horus. After many fights and numerous deceptions, Horus won and sat on the Egyptian throne. A description of the cult activities that were performed during the celebration of Horus' victory was also placed on the wall. The highlight of the holiday was a ritual show that took place in the waters of the sacred lake located within the complex. The people of Edfu also took part in the performance and supported their god with shouts. The culmination was the killing of the hippo, Set's iconic animal, with a harpoon, which was a weapon that Horus wielded.