Kom Ombo Temple

July 6, 2019
Discover Egypt

Kom Ombo Temple

Temple of Sobek and Horus

Kom Ombo Temple is situated on a hill at Kom Ombo city south of Aswan, Kom Ombo (the ancient Nubyt) means hill of ombos. At this point, there is a curve of the Nile with a large island in front of it. This island may once have been a haven for crocodiles that were at first propitiated by the local populace, and then venerated.

Kom Ombo Temple is built on a traditional plan but there is an invisible division down the middle, 2 separate doorways extend it’s the entire length, past the halls and the anti-chambers ultimately leading to two sanctuaries, one to Horus and one to Sobek.

Kom Ombo was a site of no great prosperity until Ptolemaic times when it became the capital of a separate nome. The town commanded the trade route in the area and it was, of strategic importance. The Ptolemies pleased the local populace by building a temple, they had seen much of Egypt’s tradition presented in dualistic terms and apparently saw nothing unusual in the building a Double Temple to two hitherto unrelated deities: the hawk god Horus the Elder and Sobek the crocodile god. The temple is in respect unique.

There is evidence that construction and building continued for some four hundred years, the latest roman emperor is featured. In addition to the main temple, there is a birth house and a shrine to Hathor, both date to the Roman period.

The entrances face south. The left-hand tower, which is mostly destroyed, depicted scenes related to the triad headed by Horus the Elder with Isis and his wife and Horus, son of Isis as his son.

The right-hand tower shows scenes related to the triad headed by Sobek, Hathor his wife and Khnsu their son. The triads are depicted on the lower parts of the wall. Prayers written in hieroglyphics, the roman emperor Domitian is led by a priest who burns incense.

The court has 8 columns on each side on each side and an altar near the center. From the vantage of this court, one can look northwards through each of the double doors towards the rear of the temple. The eyes pass from doorway to doorway, from decorated capital to curved cornice, toward one of the holy sanctuaries.

On the right-hand wall is a line of Hapi, led by the pharaoh bearing libation water, bread, cakes, and lotus. Another scene of the pharaoh being purified by hours and the hawk god. Then the god while he pays the pharaoh honor and each side are decorated by a row of uraei, which bears the sun disc on their heads.

The great hypostyle hall at Kom Ombo Temple has 10 columns supporting a roof which is decorated with flying vultures with some astronomical figures all the way. The capitals are decorated with different motifs and the walls are well preserved showing the pharaoh contributed to the decoration of the temple.

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