On the west bank of the Nile opposite the city of Qena, 2.5 km (1.6 mi) south-east of the city of Dendera lies one of ancient Egypt’s most important religious temples. The complex is the home of the Temple of Hathor (The deity of love, music, & fertility) one of the most preserved temples in Egypt and other temples & sanctuaries that was unfortunately lost in time. The complex covers 40,000 sqm surrounded by a hefty mud brick wall that contained the remains of many shrines and temples dating all the way back to the Old Kingdom (2575-2150 BC).
All the sanctuaries were destroyed and rebuilt many times through history but the current temple dated back to the Roman-Greco period where it was completed by the hands of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD) on a fountain built by Pharaoh Pepi I of the 6th dynasty of the old kingdom. The complex holds ruins of a Coptic church, and Mammisi (A birth house related to the nativity of the deity), a small sanctuary located in front of the Pylon dedicated to the goddess Isis that portrays the goddess of the sky Nut giving Birth.
The main highlight of the complex is the majestic temple of Hathor, built in the 1st century Bc by Pharaoh Ptolemy VIII & Queen Cleopatra II To immortalize their names in History and honor the deity Hathor.
The temple contained a great hall full of 18 massive decorated Hathoric columns, the complete interior walls of the great hall contain hypnotic scenes depicting offerings made by Roman emperors and a magical ceiling filled with enchanting astronomical decorations such as the sky deity Nut bending herself towards the earth with the sun disc, there is a representation of the legendary sun boat of Hathor and her husband Horus being given offerings by Ptolemy VIII.
One of the main attractions of the temple is the mystical Dendra Zodiac signs which are a map to the stars on a plane projection showing 12 constellations found at the Osiris chapel at the Hathor temple containing Images of the ram, the bull, the heavenly twins, the crab, the lion, the virgin, the scales, the scorpion, the archer, the goat, the watering pots and fishes with glittering tails. They were used in creating and organizing the ancient Egyptian calendar. In 1820, it was removed from the temple ceiling by French invaders and taken to the Louvre, and replaced with a fake.
The temple has been the birthplace of one of Ancient Egypt most controversial fringe thesis as it states the carving of a Djed pillar and a lotus flower spawning a snake within it, is evidence of the Egyptian obtaining electric lighting devices resembling a lightbulb attached to an advanced electric system but many archeologists believe it’s a mere theory and couldn’t be further from the truth, but only time will tell.
The temple can't be missed during your Egypt tour packages, so we have will create Nile river cruises that will make you able to visit the two temples with other historical attractions in upper Egypt.
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