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The Temple of Kom Ombo

While the stone differs from that of all the other temples perhaps because it was covered with sand for so long, the outstanding feature of the Kom Ombo Temple is the unusual, even unique, ground plan, the result of the unification of two adjacent temples, each dedicated to a distinct divinity: the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world, and Haroeris or the ancient falcon-headed Horus, the solar war god.

This was why the temple was called both "House of the Crocodile" and "Castle of the Falcon". An imaginary line divides the temple longitudinally into two parts, each with its entrance, hypostyle halls, chapels, etc. The right part of the temple was consecrated to Sobek, the left to Haroeris, whose winged disk that protects from all evils is depicted over all the entrance portals. This temple, too, was the work of the Ptolemies who built it on the site of a much older and smaller sanctuary of which little remains.

The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC. Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone. There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom-Ombo village.

In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank near here. The Temple was used to store mummified crocodiles form the nearby animal necropolis and a few sarcophagi The Temple has scant remains, due first to the changing Nile, then the Copts who once used it as a church, and finally by builders who used the stones for new buildings.

In the southwest corner of the pronaos is the one column that does not echo the duality of the temples. Here, there are scenes depicting purification of the King, his coronation and his consecration of the Temple. The ceiling has astronomical images.

The hypostyle hall has papyrus capitals on the columns.
Here, there is an inventory of the scared places of Egypt, the gods of the main towns and the local and national festivals.
In the anti chamber, there are scenes depicting the goddess Seshat launching the building of the temple, followed by a scene of the completed temple with the king throwing natron in a purification ceremony.

Statues to the gods and the builders of the temple once occupied the net room just before the sanctuaries. The ceiling of the pure place to the north still remains with an image of Nut. There is little left of the sanctuaries
The pervasive presence of Nile, where the feluccas silently glide over the water, and of the deep green fields which accentuate the blue of the sky, accompany your visit to Kom Ombo

 

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