Temple of Horus at Edfu
An early start this morning was necessary as we had a site to see before sailing on later in the morning. The Temple of Horus at Edfu (more commonly known as Edfu Temple) is the second largest in Egypt (Karnak being the first). We were glad that we were not waiting for a group, as there was only one other couple there this morning, which made for some lovely shots and nice moments. To make things easier on proceedings today, our guide, Mohamed, let us know before we left that the way to handle the tipping was to give him E£100 ($7 AUD) and he would disperse it throughout the day. We were happy with that, as no one hit us up for cash, and he made sure all baksheesh was fairly distributed.
This temple, built between 237 and 57 BC is one of Egypt’s best preserved ancient sites, and rare for the intact state of its roof. The reason for its excellent condition is the fact that it was hidden by the sands of time, unused after the pagan cult worshipping Horus was banned in Egypt. Read more about the temple here.
Back on board by 9am for our 9:30am sail on to Kom Ombo, we had some chillaxing time up on the sun deck (in the shade, of course!) just watching Egypt float by in its golden glory. The tiny annoyance of having to wave and pose for the boat’s videographer was sharply put in perspective when I saw the guy on the bank of the river trying to eke out a living in the dirt and living in a palm frond-roofed shelter.
It doesn’t take much to keep your guide happy. We were 15 minutes early for the 3pm call to shore, and Mohamed was glad because that meant we beat the crowds and the light was perfect. Kom Ombo Temple is a double temple. It literally has twin entrances, side by side, and everything about its design is the same on both sides, except, of course, the reliefs. Interestingly, the two temples looked like they were designed for two best buds, when they were in fact for two enemies – Horus (the falcon god, son of Isis and Osiris) and Sobek (the crocodile god). They do appear in each other’s reliefs, though (maybe secret best buds after all).
While the carvings and decorations are spectacular in their design and the skill with which they were rendered, the stories that go along with them were like a soap opera. One carving depicted Ptolemy VIII with Cleopatra II and her daughter Cleopatra III (the Cleo we all know was the last – Cleopatra VII). Ptolemy murdered Cleo 2’s son, then married her. Daughter Cleo 3 was more than a tad disappointed with her mother for marrying the guy who ‘offed’ her brother, so murdered her…and THEN married her brother’s murderer/mother’s widower who was also technically her uncle (!!!) – messed up or what?
There was a crocodile museum as part of the temple complex, which we fast tracked. It was really one room with a bunch of mummified crocs in it of varying sizes, as well as a few other bits and pieces. No photos were allowed inside, which was fine, considering they all looked like a bunch of burnt logs.
Our adventures in Egypt continue on the Nile River…
Read our full Nile River story here:
Part 1 (current): Edfu & Kom Ombo Temples
Part 2: Philae Temple & Nubian Village