Temple of Taffeh - History and Facts | History Hit

Temple of Taffeh

Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands

The Temple of Taffeh is a 1st century AD Roman temple in Egypt, built by the Emperor Augustus.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Jim Forest Flickr CC

About Temple of Taffeh

The Temple of Taffeh, was ordered to be built by Roman Emperor Augustus in Egypt, after his defeat of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. It was built between 25 BC and 14AD.

Today the Temple of Taffeh can be found in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (RMO).

Temple of Taffeh history

The Temple of Taffeh is an ancient Egyptian temple which was presented to the Netherlands in recognition for its help in contributing to the historical preservation of Egyptian antiquities during the 1960s.

The temple was built of sandstone between 25 BCE and 14 CE during the rule of the Roman emperor Augustus. It was part of the Roman fortress known as Taphis and measures 6.5 by 8 metres. At the time Egypt was part of the Roman Empire and the Egyptian gods were venerated far and wide.

The temple was built after the Roman conquest of Lower Nubia. The building blocks arrived roughly hewn from the quarries and were shaped on the building site. The walls consist of twelve layers, up to and including the cornices. The stones were once white, but they have turned brown over the centuries.

The architectural style is traditional Egyptian. Alterations were made in the 4th century AD and then again in the eighth century. Six columns with capitals support the roof. The façade is decorated with winged sun disks and cobras. From the 13th century onwards, the Nubians used the temple mainly as accommodation for humans and animals.

The temple survived in good condition in Egypt for several centuries. However, due to the construction of the Aswan Dam, many ancient sites in the area had to be moved to secure their preservation. Several of these sites, including the Temple of Taffeh, were gifted by the Egyptian government to other nations in gratitude for their assistance in this project.

Temple of Taffeh today

The temple is located in the entrance hall of the Museum and does not require a ticket to visit.

When the temple was reassembled in its new Dutch home, it was pieced back together within a new wing of the museum specifically built to protect the old structure from the European climate. The bright, airy space lets natural light highlight the restored temple.

An English-language sound-and-light show is staged at the Temple of Taffeh daily at 1.30pm.

Getting to the Temple of Taffeh

The National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) is located in Leiden’s historical city centre, 10 minutes’ walk from Leiden central railway station.

Featured In

Egyptian Sites

From the world famous pyramids of Giza to the mask of Tutankhamen at Cairo's Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, follow in the footsteps of the pharaohs in our guide to the best Ancient Egyptian attractions to see.

Netherlands Historic Sites

As the capital of the Netherlands and with more than a million people living in its urban area, Amsterdam is packed with historical sites that are well worth a visit.