Temple of Horus - History and Facts | History Hit

Temple of Horus

Idfu, Aswan Governorate, Egypt

The Temple of Horus is a vast and incredibly well-preserved monument to one of Ancient Egypt’s most important deities.

Antara Bate

03 Mar 2023
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Temple of Horus

The Temple of Horus, also known as the Edfu Temple, is an incredibly well-preserved monument to one of Ancient Egypt’s most important deities, Horus.

Temple of Horus history

Worshipped as the child of Isis and Osiris, Horus was depicted with the head – and often the body – of a falcon and was the ruler of the skies and the deity of the pharaohs.

Built over the course of around 180 years, the Temple of Horus was the work of the Ptolemies, beginning in 237 BC under Ptolemy III and finished around 57 BC.

The temple was the largest one dedicated to Horus’s cult in all of Egypt and would have hosted many festivals and celebrations held in his honour. Its size gives an idea of the prosperity of the Ptolemaic era, and the richness of its inscriptions has contributed greatly to our knowledge of Egypt as a Hellenistic state. The temple continued as an important place of worship until 391 AD when Roman emperor Theodosius I issued an edict banning paganism throughout the Roman Empire. Christian converts attempted to destroy many of the temple’s reliefs while black scorch marks on the ceiling of the hypostyle hall suggest that they tried to burn it to the ground.

Excavation of the site began in the mid-19th century.led by Auguste Mariette.

Temple of Horus today

Today, this remains one of Egypt’s best preserved temples and its second largest – after the Karnak Temple – as well as the fountain of knowledge with regard to Ancient Egyptian beliefs.

The hordes of tourists who visit the Temple of Horus each year are greeted with the fantastic site of its vast entryway, adorned with stunning reliefs of falcons. Inside, one finds an impressive set of Greco-Roman built structures, all dedicated to this ancient deity.

Getting to the Temple of Horus

Many visitors choose to visit as part of a tour. Those who choose to visit independently can hire a private car or taxi from Luxor, or take the local train. The train takes 1.5 hours from Luxor and just under 2 hours from Aswan. There is a visitor center at the temple with a ticket office, cafeteria, toilets, and a theater where a 15-minute film on the temple’s history is screened.

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