Saturday, February 20, 2016

More Nile Temples


We sailed all night and were in Edfu by morning. As we left the ship this morning, we were greeted with a barrage of horse-drawn carriages waiting to take us to the temple site. This is there major means of transportation for tourists in this town - no taxis. We chose Mustava and his horse Layla. She looked well fed and he didn't carry a whip. I got to sit up next to the driver (even steered Layla a bit) while the boys rode in the back. It was a hoot.

Our first temple of the day was the Temple of Edfu dedicated to Horus, the falcon god.
The Temple of Edfu is an ancient Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in the city of Edfu which was known in Greco-Roman times as Apollonopolis Magna, after the chief god Horus-Apollo. It is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt. In particular, the Temple's inscribed building texts "provide details [both] of its construction, and also preserve information about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation."  There are also "important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth.
We are learning more and more about the kings and their gods. Everything is starting to weave itself together. So much information. Ash has been great with us. It is rather special having our own guide walk us through all these sites. There is a much deeper appreciation than just wandering aimlessly through the columns. We can now depict some of the kings' cartouches. We are also starting to recognize some of what is written in hieroglyphics - the original emoticons!

A buggy ride back, snapping some photos along the way. Sat on the deck for a bit - the ship left the dock around 11am. The scenery along the river has picked up since we left Luxor. Not as much smog and smoke. It is now after lunch and we are sailing to Kom Ombo to visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to two gods – Sobek (the falcon headed god) and Harwar (the crocodile headed god).

Docked at Kom Ombo at around 6:00. The Temple is a quick walk up the hill from the harbor.  It was a pretty scene at night. On our tour, Ash pointed out the images of the ancient calendar and especially the diagrams of the surgical tools. This was an ancient hospital. The graffiti was made by the people who stood in line waiting to see the physician.
The temple at Kom Ombo is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Aswan and was built during the Graeco-Roman period (332 BC AD 395). There was an earlier structure from the 18th dynasty but little remains.
The temple is unique because it is in fact a double temple, dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god, and Horus the falcon-headed god. The layout combines two temples in one with each side having its own gateways and chapels.
Sobek is associated with the wicked god Seth, the enemy of Horus. In the Horus myth the allies of Seth made their escape by changing themselves into crocodiles.
We took a peak down the Nileometer. We have seen several of these, but this is the best. It gauges the high water levels of the Nile. After meandering through the temple, we visited the crocodile museum, where several mummified crocs are on display:

Sobek’s chief sanctuary was at Kom Ombo, where there were once huge numbers of crocodiles. Until recent times the Egyptian Nile was infested with these ferocious animals, who would lay on the riverbank and devour animals and humans alike. So it is not surprising that the local inhabitants went in fear.
They believed that as a totem animal, and object of worship, it would not attack them. Captive crocodiles were kept within the temple and many mummified crocodiles have been found in cemeteries, some of which can be seen in the temple sanctuary today.
A leisure walk back to the ship along the harbor. Ate dinner and we will probably head down to the bar tonight to view the Galabiya  (traditional dress of Egypt it is a cotton kaftan) party.  Should be interesting if I can stay awake!

Next time.... Aswan


1 comment:

  1. Finally caught up... you guys move fast. Thank goodness for Ash, he's a godsend. I can see why one could be captivated by Egyptian Mythology given some translation knowledge. They should do more restoration. Can you imagine the inscription and cartouches in their original colors. The photos have been real good, my favorite is "sunrise on the nile". Seems like you guys are having some fun encounters with the locals along the way.
    Stay strong and keep, smilin, see you in Aswan.