Luxor, Egypt
25° 40' N 32° 39' E
Feb 14, 2008 13:47
Distance 384km

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Temples on the Road to Luxor

On the road to Luxor. Thursday, February 14th (Valentine's Day).

After the felucca overnight sleep, we were on the road and heading to Luxor by 8 a.m. As was the same case for the bus ride to Abu Simbel, we were in a convoy of buses. These convoys can be dozens of buses - in our case it was about twenty, mostly mini-buses. To Abu Simbel it was several dozen buses, but of the large variety. Being part of a convoy means that the police stop all the traffic at the towns you go thru, and you can break the speed limit as the police are setting the pace. This convoy was required to stop at two temple sites along the way (nice problem).

The first was at Kom Ombo, about 45 minutes outside of Aswan. Most of the group did not enter the site, but myself and all the other older folks did (there are two new couples on the tour, both in their late forties or early fifties). The temple is dedicated to two gods, one being Haroeris (a god of medicine) and the other, Sobek (a crocodile god). Sobek was an evil god, but he was included in the temple and the reason it was built. The fishermen in the area were getting eaten by crocodiles, so to appease the gods a temple to crocodiles was built. Adding Haroeris was to offset the evil god with a good god. This is the only Egyptian temple dedicated to two gods. It was built about 200 BC and took almost one hundred years to build. The temple did solve the crocodile problem, because since then they have not been an issue for the locals. If this temple were not in Egypt, it would be considered brilliant, but by local standards it is a little run down. I enjoyed the visit; it was only forty-five minutes, a quick in-out.

The second temple was at Edfu, dedicated to the god Horus. Both our tour leader and the guide book I am using stated this is the best preserved temple in Egypt. True to its word, it was in excellent shape and repair. It is in such good shape as it was covered with sand until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the French came to Egypt as part of Napoleon's conquest of the area. The only thing missing was the brightly painted walls; the ceilings were in in perfect shape. It was crowded, but our leader gave us a map and a game plan as to how to see the temple ahead of the bus convoy crowd. It worked, got some grand views and photos. It was a large site, so you could see a lot without tripping over others. This temple was also from 200 BC.

We got to our hotel in Luxor around 2 p.m. The rest of the day was a free day. Did my internet and blog duties for the balance of the afternoon. We were scheduled to see more temples later in the day, but we will do this tomorrow. I suspect by the end of tomorrow I will be templed out, a good state of nature to finish this tour on.

 

Photos / videos of "Temples on the Road to Luxor":

Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. This temple is unique as it is dedicated to two gods. Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. The crocodile god is part of this temple, as it is supposed to scare away the crocodiles in the river. Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. This temple was built around 200 BC.  Took one hundred years to finish. Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. One of those rare "no one is in the photo" photos. Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. Sites and scenes from the temple of Haroeris and Sobek at Kom Ombo. Note that one of the gods has the head of a crocodile and the other has the head of a bird. Looking down the two corridor entrances of the temple, one for either god. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. This is the innermost part of the temple, only pharaohs and high priests are supposed to be here.  Ran before the crowds showed up. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Perhaps you can see it, there is colour on the ceiling.  In its original state these temples would have been all painted and very colourful. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Leaning on the falcon statue at the entrance to the inner courtyard of the temple.  These falcons are Horus. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt. Edfu temple. This is the most preserved temple in Egypt.