Edfu – Ptolemaic Temple of Horus

It was Wednesday morning, the Nile cruise had properly started, it’s now a few weeks since our Egyptian adventure, I have started a new job, my boss flew over from the U.S. to spend a few days with me and I am excited, things feel great.

The Nile is very familiar, a friend that we have navigated twice before, cruise itineraries follow a gentle rhythm and only change if the lock at Esna is hit by too much traffic or the boat engine fails!

Our agenda took us south towards Aswan, the Nile river flows south to north, originating from two sources joining at Khartoum, the White Nile which starts in South Sudan and Blue Nile which has its origins in Ethiopia, currents can slow things up a bit if you don’t have propeller power! The river is 6,695KM long, arguably the longest in the world, although some support a different view that the Amazon is longer.

The routine at the city of Edfu is to get on a ‘Calèche’ from the boat mooring. Arranged by our guide, the calèche’s appeared from nowhere, he wrote the numbers of each carriage which we had to remember for the return journey. We were instructed not to give any money to our drivers as he had paid the fares and ‘baksheesh’, a tip given for pretty much anything, wages are low in Egypt so anything extra makes a difference.

It’s a lovely ride through the streets, watching the town getting into action first thing in the morning and five minutes or so later we were at our destination, where overhead shades keep the well looked after horses cool in between rides, and stalls and a café, our meeting point after the tour and free time.

The Temple of Edfu is the second largest temple in Egypt. Also known as the Temple of Horus (the falcon-headed God) it is said to be the most beautiful and well-preserved of all the Egyptian temples. A French archaeologist by the name of Auguste Mariette uncovered it from its deep sand burial in the 1860s, positioned between Luxor and Aswan on West Bank of the Nile river.

Perhaps the most striking features of the Temple of Horus are the massive pylons that stand at the entrance to the temple. They are 118 feet high, decorated with battle scenes of King Ptolemy VIII defeating his enemies for Horus. Inside the temple are several rooms, with walls covered in ancient writings.

The holiest place, the sanctuary, is accessed through the ante-chambers where Horus’s priests would have left offerings, sitting proudly is a polished granite shrine (above) where the gold statue of Horus would have stood, in front is a replica of the wooden barque used to carry the gold cult statue during festivals, the original is on display in The Louvre in France. There was definitely a ‘mystic’ feeling in the air.

The first visit was complete, a refreshing mint tea in the café was enjoyed before heading off back to the boat and a few hours cruising before our next stop Nubt, City of Gold. More about that later.

……………………..Until Next Time…………..L8ers………………..