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Denderah temple facade
Denderah temple plan
Denderah temple plan
Location Upper Egypt - 60 km north of Thebes
West bank of Nile
Nome6th nome of Upper Egypt The crocodile - the 6th Nome of Upper Egypt
Type of SettlementReligious Center
Necropolis Remains of Old Kingdom tombs scattered in the desert
On the west end of the necropolis are brick-vaulted catacombs of Late Kingdom animal burials, primarily birds, dogs and cows.
Local deityHathor
Ancient nameEgyptian - Iunet
Greek - Tentyris
Historical Development- The city was a religious center of Hathor worship, but never an important political center
- The population of the town has, since antiquity, moved to Qena across the Nile on the east bank.
The Temple- One of the best preserved of all the temples in Egypt, dedicated to Hathor, and built by Ptolemy 8 Physcon and later elements were added by the Romans.
- The complex included two birth houses, a sacred lake, two chapels dedicated to Osiris and Isis.
- The complex was surrounded by high mud brick walls that were built in alternating concave and convex sections. This produced a wavy structure that is assumed to signify the primordial sea which surrounds the symbolic mound of birth and regeneration on which the temple was built.

Architectural Layout:

  1. The facade consists of six Hathor -headed columns and a low screen wall. The facade top features a huge curved cornice.
  2. The first hypostyle hall containing 18 Hathor columns. The ceiling is divided into seven bands of astronomical figures featuring the goddess Nut, vultures, winged sun-discs and the zodiac. The walls are decorated with scenes of Pharaohs making offerings to Hathor.
  3. Smaller hypostyle hall - six smaller Hathor columns support the roof, the walls depict scenes of the Pharaoh involved in ritual foundation ceremonies.
  4. Six Store chambers
  5. Hall of offerings - here daily rituals were carried out by the priests and priestesses of Hathor
  6. Hall of the ennead - here the statues of gods were assembled on festival days
  7. The Sanctuary - contained the statue of Hathor.. On either side of the door the Pharaoh is depicted offering a copper mirror to the goddess.
  8. A passageway around the sanctuary contains eleven chapels dedicated to various divinities and religious symbols.

Photos: Denderah Temple

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By Ayman Fadl - Copyright © 2001-2014