Ancient Egypt / Religion / Cult centres /
Ancient Egyptian: Behdet or Djeba
Greek: Apollonopolis Magna
Other spelling: Idfu
The Temple of Horus is 138 metre long and 67 metre wide, from south to north, and is the most completely preserved temple of Ancient Egypt.
The existing temple was built on the site of a temple some 1200 years older, which ran from east to west.
Reliefs on the walls show the myth where Horus defeated Seth, and it is assumed that rituals reenacting this were performed at Edfu every year.
The temple holds a few places of special interest. First there are the two Horus falcons in front of the hypostyle hall. The falcons, made from black granite, wears the double crown, which symbolizes Upper and Lower Egypt under one kingship. Right at the end of the main axis, in the Horus sanctuary, there is a shrine of the naos-type dating back to King Nectanebo 2, making it the oldest element here, most likely moved from an older temple. In the back, a beautiful barque of Horus is in place, but it is only a replica.
Around the main sanctuary there are chapels to other gods: Min, Osiris, Khonsu, Hathor and Re.
The rich inscriptions on the walls contains a large collection of temple liturgy, but there is also nationalistic propaganda within the religious imagery. The latter was a reflection of the strong sentiments that the foreign Ptolemaic dynasty caused with Egyptians themselves.
The consort of the local Horus, known as Horus Behdet, was Hathor at Dendera. Once every year, Hathor's statue was ritually transported to Edfu by boat, stayed there for some time, before being returned.
Around the temple, important excavations into mounds with remains back to predynastic times of the 4th millennium BE have been undertaken. Further 5 km north, there have even been found the remains of a small 3rd Dynasty step-pyramid, which function is not known.
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