Kom Ombo Temple - Unique Egypt Bolg

Two gods - a fascinating building!
The double temple of Kom Ombo is located on the eastern bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. This ancient Egyptian temple complex is located about 3.5 km southwest of the center of Kom Ombo.

The parts of this imposing building still visible today date from the Ptolemaic and Roman times, from which you can look directly over the Nile! The temple has already been badly affected by forces of nature such as floods and erosion of the masonry. This religious building is called a double temple because the two gods Sobek and Haroeris were worshiped there.

Sobek, also called Sbjk or Sebak, was the crocodile god of Egyptian mythology in ancient Egypt. He was the ruler of the water but was also a fertility god at the same time. His nickname was Djedi, the permanent one. Haroeris was also called Haroëris, Haruaris, Hor-wer, Herwer, or Harwer. Since the Middle Kingdom of Haroeris, the name for a manifestation of the god Horus, who was the main god in the mythology of ancient Egypt. As a local deity in Kom Ombo, Haroeris formed a triad of gods with the gods Ta-sene-nofret and Pa-neb-taui. But in the 18th dynasty, he gained a special meaning as "father of the gods''.

The story of Kom Ombo
The double temple was built at the time when Omboi (also called Ombos) was next to Elephantine and the administrative center of Ta-seti, a district in Upper Egypt. More precisely, it originated in the Ptolemaic epoch, which ran from 304 to 31 BC. Lasted. The crocodile god Sobek and the falcon-headed god Haroeris were worshiped in this temple.

Like many other monumental structures in Egypt, large parts of the double temple of Kom Ombo were buried by the sand for a long time. Jacques de Morgan finally uncovered them in 1893 and restored everything. Until the 19th century. Right in front of the temple was the great birth house, also called Mammisi, of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. However, it was torn down during a flood of the Nile, and the western parts of the surrounding wall also came loose. However, given that the temple is 20 meters above the level of the Nile, it is difficult to imagine the extent of this catastrophe.


Especially in the recent history of Egypt, Kom Ombo has become more and more a tourist magnet, as visiting the double temple is a fixed program on many Nile cruises. There are 150 km between Luxor and Kom Ombo in the north and Aswan is 40 km south. Especially handy when it comes to Nile cruises is the fact that the ship dock is just 70 meters from the temple. Kom Ombo is part of the Aswan Governorate. Kom Ombo is also connected to Aswan and Luxor by a railway line that runs along the Nile. Aswan is the closest international airport, Aswan International, although the main artery is the Nile.

The story of Kom Ombo
The double temple was built at the time when Omboi (also called Ombos) was next to Elephantine and the administrative center of Ta-seti, a district in Upper Egypt. More precisely, it originated in the Ptolemaic epoch, which ran from 304 to 31 BC. Lasted. The crocodile god Sobek and the falcon-headed god Haroeris were worshiped in this temple.

Like many other monumental structures in Egypt, large parts of the double temple of Kom Ombo were buried by the sand for a long time. Jacques de Morgan finally uncovered them in 1893 and restored everything. Until the 19th century. Right in front of the temple was the great birth house, also called Mammisi, of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. However, it was torn down during a flood of the Nile, and the western parts of the surrounding wall also came loose. However, given that the temple is 20 meters above the level of the Nile, it is difficult to imagine the extent of this catastrophe.

Especially in the recent history of Egypt, Kom Ombo has become more and more a tourist magnet, as visiting the double temple is a fixed program on many Nile cruises. There are 150 km between Luxor and Kom Ombo in the north and Aswan is 40 km south. Especially handy when it comes to Nile cruises is the fact that the ship dock is just 70 meters from the temple. Kom Ombo is part of the Aswan Governorate. Kom Ombo is also connected to Aswan and Luxor by a railway line that runs along the Nile. Aswan is the closest international airport, Aswan International, although the main artery is the Nile.

The structure of the temple complex
In contrast to many other temples in Egypt, the temple of Kom Ombo is dedicated to two deities and thus represents a special feature. The deities are worshiped separately from one another, which means that the right, southeastern side facing away from the Nile is the crocodile-headed god Sobek, which was consecrated to the god for water and fertility, later to the creator god. On the left, north-western side of the temple, homage was paid to the falcon-headed god Haroeris, the god of light, heaven, and war. Thus the temple was called "House of the Crocodile", but also "Falcon Castle".

Haroeris, who is a manifestation of the god Horus, corresponding to "Horus the Great", formed a triad of gods with Ta-senet-nofret and Pa-neb-taui in Kom Ombo. But Sobek also formed a triad with Hathor and Chons.

Archaeologists and Egyptologists believe that the part of the temple that is still visible today was built on previous buildings from the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. The temple was 51 m wide and 96 m long and was surrounded by an enclosure wall. The decoration of the temple was until the 3rd century. worked after Chr., but it was never completed. Thus, in the rear section of the temple, where the chapel is located, only prepared reliefs can be seen. Other parts of the temple, such as the western section of the access pylon with the adjoining wall and the Mammisi attached to it, fell victim to the Nile floods.

The southeast section of the temple, where the tower of the great pylon representing the Roman Emperor Domitian is located, is a 52-line hieroglyphic script that pays homage to Sobek, Hathor, and Chons. Behind the two central entrances in the surrounding wall of the temple, there was once a courtyard with 16 columns on both sides. Today only the lower column sections can be seen, also called the base. They are also richly decorated with hieroglyphics and reliefs. On the pillars, one can see depictions of Tiberius offering gifts to the gods. In the middle of the courtyard are the remains of an altar. This is where the holy barge was placed during the processions.

In the interior of the second columned hall there is the “room of the offerings”. Here you can see the representations of Pharaoh Ptolemaios VIII. Euergetes II. And his wife Cleopatra III. and Pharaoh Ptolemy XI. See Neos Dionysus. This room is followed by 3 transversely arranged front rooms, which were designed by Pharaoh Ptolemy VI. Philomentor and which can also be seen in the reliefs. Behind it, there are 2 sanctuaries, which were dedicated to the two gods. However, only a fragment of decoration and a dedication inscription remains of the sanctuaries.

The interior of the temple was surrounded by 2 corridors, one of which led into the courtyard with the 16 columns. The second led directly to the center of the temple. The rooms in the center show depictions of gods and pharaohs, some of which, however, remained unfinished. In the inner corridor, you can see a relief that shows surgical instruments and is called a special feature. The reliefs in Kom Ombo are among the most important of Ptolemaic architecture.

Outbuildings and ancillary facilities
Like the temple complexes of Luxor or Karnak, there are also some outbuildings in Kom Ombo.

The Mammisi - a birthplace
West of the forecourt was until the 19th century. the Mammisi, a birth house, has the shape of a small temple and is always at right angles to the main temple. The Mammisi can be found in many temples, such as that of Luxor. In Kom Ombo, the Mammisi was destroyed by a flood of the Nile. It was built by Pharaoh Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II. In Kom Ombo, a relief of the Pharaoh and two gods has been preserved.

The Hathor Chapel
A small chapel is to the right in the southern corner of the courtyard. The chapel was once built by Emperor Domitian in honor of the goddess Hathor but unfortunately remained unfinished. In Greek mythology of the eastern Mediterranean, Hathor was equated with the goddess Aphrodite, who was also the goddess of fertility. The crocodile mummies and sarcophagi were kept in this small chapel and can now be admired in a small museum that was set up in this chapel. The mummies are evidence of the former cult around the crocodile-headed god Sobek.

The Nilometer
The nilometer is a water level meter located in the northwest part of the temple complex. Other miles were in Elephantine, Memphis, or Edfu. The Nilometer in Kom Ombo was built in the form of a round well shaft that you can walk through. In it, one could read the level of the Nile from the markings. These results were of great importance to ancient Egypt as they set the level of taxes for citizens. It was primarily about agriculture's need for water to irrigate the soil. The more water was available, the better the harvest and the higher the taxes that the citizens of Kom Ombo, Edfu, etc. could pay.


Conclusion
On a hill above the Nile lies the Greek-style double temple, which is dedicated to the gods Sobek and Haroeris (Horus the Old). It consists of two interconnected system parts that share the first pylon, the courtyard, and the portico. Only from the columned hall does the expression of two symmetrical halves start to form up to the sanctuary. The complex was built under the rule of the Ptolemies in the 2nd century BC. Chr.

Particularly worth seeing: In the Hathor Chapel, embalmed 2,000-year-old, sacred crocodiles are on display. So if you get in the mood for a change on your Egypt vacation, then you know where to find it!

On Nile cruises, you have the opportunity to go ashore in Edfu and visit Kom Ombo. Since the pier in Edfu is only 70 m away from the temple, this fascinating journey into the past of Egypt is really worthwhile! Kom Ombo is a really historic and exciting place.

To find out more about the Nile cruise or the process, follow the link here!

Have fun in Kom Ombo!

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Kom Ombo Temple

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