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Edfu, and its temple of Horus

Edfu is a city in western Egypt, south of Luxor. It is known as the site of one of the most majestic temples in the ancient world: the Temple of Horus.

The importance of this city in antiquity led to its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. Built between 237 and 57 BC, this temple is the only one to have survived antiquity without being destroyed. It is still visited by thousands of visitors every year, attracted by its history and grandeur.

Temple of Horus at Edfu
Temple of Horus at Edfu

Edfu was founded during the reign of Sesostris I, the first Pharaoh of the XIIth Dynasty, around 1990 BC. It was at that time an important centre for the cult of Horus, the falcon god, and is known for its great Temple of Horus.

The Temple of Horus

The Temple of Horus is one of the oldest Egyptian temples still standing today. It is located on a small island a few meters from the shore of the Nile, and was built by successive pharaohs throughout the following dynasties. The temple was fully restored by the Greeks and Romans, and is very well preserved to this day.

The temple complex includes several buildings and sculptures, the most famous of which is the large obelisk at the main entrance. This is a huge stone column that is almost 24 meters high and symbolizes the divine power of Horus. Around this obelisk are six other smaller columns that represent the six divine forms in which Horus manifested himself according to ancient beliefs.

Inside the temple are several other sculptures and religious objects, including statues of Horus and representations of Egyptian gods such as Re and Hathor. There are also inscriptions in hieroglyphics telling the story of the temple and its construction. These inscriptions are particularly interesting as they provide a unique insight into religious life in Edfu over the past centuries.

The temple is surrounded by a sacred enclosure where the faithful came to offer their prayers to the Egyptian gods. The gates leading to this sacred enclosure are still visible today and there are colossal statues carved in stone representing Horus and the other Egyptian gods. There are also several pylons, or colossal buttresses supporting the ceiling of the temple that are still visible today despite the passage of centuries. These pylons are an integral part of the ancient architectural landscape surrounding the Temple of Horus at Edfu.

Temple of Horus from the outside

The ruins of the Temple of Horus are a popular tourist site for those visiting Egypt as they allow travellers to enjoy a unique view of the remarkably preserved architecture of ancient times as well as the rich history of this sacred place. Numerous archaeological excavations have taken place here over the years to discover what these sacred places once contained and what they meant to the ancient civilization that built them thousands of years ago. Thanks to the archaeological excavations here, we can better understand how this ancient civilization worshipped Horus and what rituals they performed in his honor during each solar year.

Today, Edfu is still considered an important centre for the worship of Horus as it still houses its great temple, beautifully preserved for so many centuries, giving visitors a unique insight into what spirituality was like in ancient Egypt.

How do I get to Edfu from Luxor?

To get to Edfu from Luxor, you can take a taxi or a minibus. Here are the details:

Taxi: You can easily find a taxi in Luxor that will take you to Edfu. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and prices vary according to negotiation. It is advisable to agree on a price before getting into the taxi.

Minibus: You can also take a minibus from Luxor bus station. Minibuses run regularly throughout the day and the journey takes approximately 2 hours. Tickets can be purchased locally or booked in advance.

Whichever option you choose, it is advisable to leave early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat and to have enough time to explore the site of Edfu.

How much does an entrance ticket to the Temple of Horus cost?

The entrance fee for foreign visitors is generally 200 Egyptian pounds (about €6) per person, and €2 for Egyptians and residents of Egypt. However, it is important to note that prices may vary depending on the tourist season and the policies in force.