Temples were considered very important in ancient Egyptian architecture. The importance of gods and religion to the ancient Egyptians is very noticeable. In Egypt, you can find a great number of temples (especially in Luxor) that explain the pharaonic history by the inscriptions on their walls and the tombs.
One of the most important temples in Egypt is the Dendera Complex. The Complex is considered one of the most preserved complexes in Egypt. It is south of Abidos, 2.5 km southeast of Dendera.
The History of the Dendera Temple Complex
The surviving structures were built in the Ptolemaic period. The first building in the complex was constructed in 2250 B.C. The oldest monument on this site is the Mentuhotep II monument, which was built in 1995 BC but moved to Cairo. The oldest monument that currently exists in the Complex is the Mammisi monument that was built in 345 BC by Nectanebo II.
The current structure of the complex began with the construction of the Temple of Hathor (the goddess of fertility but predynastic was a representative of love, beauty, and joy).
The Construction of the Dendera Complex
The Complex is 40 thousand m2. The Complex is surrounded by a 10 m high wall. There are chapels and sanctuaries from the beginning of Ancient Egypt. The Complex is better preserved because it was buried in the sand. The main temple in the complex is the Temple of Hathor.
There is another temple in the Complex as the Temple of the birth of Isis. There is also a sacred lake and an adobe sanatorium (it was used to bathe in the sacred water to obtain the healing of the goddess).
The Temple of Hathor
The Temple was built in the Ptolemaic period and was completed under the Roman Emperor Trajan. The access to the Temple leads to the great hypostyle hall with 18 columns of 15 meters high. The columns are crowned with the goddess Hathor (face of a woman with cow ears). The ceiling and walls are decorated with hieroglyphics on a blue background.
Inside is the second hypostyle room (where there is the main sanctuary of the goddess) with 6 columns. On both sides, there are small rooms, a treasure room, offering rooms, and storage rooms. Under the Temple, there is a crypt where the papyri were kept.
The Zodiac of Dendera
On the ceiling of a chapel of the god Osiris there is a replica of Dendera’s Zodiac with a circular shape where there are signs of the zodiac; the ram, the bull, the twin of the sky, the crab, the Virgo, the lion, the scale, the scorpion, the goat, the archer, the water pots and the fish with flashing tails. The original Zodiac is currently in the Louvre Museum and was moved to Paris in 1820 for the Napoleonic campaigns.
The Dendera Bulbs
There are inscriptions in a corridor of the crypt representing the bulbs with large electrical coils. It is reflected that the ancient Egyptians knew about electricity. But Egyptologists say that according to mythology the god Harsomtus (son of the goddess Hathor and god Horus) was born in the form of a snake inside a lotus flower so these images represent the birth of the god Harsomtus.
Excursion in Upper Egypt
To visit the best-preserved temple of Dendera and see the beauty of the Pharaonic architecture, check out the travel packages to Egypt. Also do not miss the opportunity to visit other temples of Upper Egypt by a cruise on the Nile.