Ancient Egypt is an exceptional and rich historical period for the Egyptian people. Having prospered for nearly 3000 years, the Egyptian civilization was the most advanced in its time compared to the rest of the world (social, economic, health, architectural, cultural, scientific advances, etc.) with the Mayan civilization. Ancient Egypt traces a fascinating history and culture for nearly 2 centuries thanks to numerous excavations and archaeological discoveries. If the country is famous for its pyramids, many other monuments are equally impressive. Egyptian power manifested itself over time in the construction of temples throughout the kingdom. Here are the 10 most impressive temples in Egypt. They can be visited and preserved.
To discover these historical treasures with your own eyes, you will have to travel a good part of the country from north to south. Note that many of these monuments are found along the Nile. It is therefore possible to venture there thanks to a cruise. Generally, this type of boat offers excursions to discover the different temples and tombs. With a bit of luck, you will have the opportunity to visit these archaeological sites at sunrise or in the evening when the lights make the place even more beautiful.
- 1/ Médinet Habou
- 2/ The Temple of Isis at Philae
- 3/ The temple of Hatshepsut
- 4/ The Colossi of Memnon
- 5/ The Funeral Temple of Seti I
- 6/ The Temple of Sobek and Haroëris
- 7/ The Temple of Amun in Luxor
- 8/The Temple of Horus in Edfu
- 9/ The Temples of Abu Simbel
- 10/ The Temple of Karnak
1/ Médinet Habou
Located on the west bank of Luxor (not far from the ancient city of Thebes), Medinet Habou is the Arabic name for a complex of temples impressive in size and preservation. There is a small temple dedicated to the god Amon built under the orders of Pharaoh Thutmose III and Queen Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Next to it, we obviously find the Temple of millions of years of Ramses III, the gigantic mortuary temple built for the pharaoh. The large temple is rather well preserved and is surrounded by a mudbrick enclosure which would have housed funerary chapels, small shops, workshops and residences for the staff of the pharaonic temple.
2/ The Temple of Isis at Philae
The island of Philæ, in the heart of the Nile, has a superb temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. Construction was started by pharaohs of the 30th dynasty (between 380 and 343 BC) and then continued by the Ptolemaic Greek dynasty and the Romans. In the 1960s, the temple and other monuments were moved to the island of Aguilkia by UNESCO to prevent them from being submerged by the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan Dam. Now the island of Philae is buried under water.
3/ The temple of Hatshepsut
The mortuary temple of the queen-pharaoh is located on the banks of the Nile, facing Karnak and Luxor. It is a colonnaded structure made by the royal architect Sénènmout, to honor the queen and the glory of the god Amon. The temple is built right on the cliff and is composed of three layered terraces culminating at 30 m in height. The entrance to the temple is characterized by large stairs on which it is possible to venture. The terraces were once connected by lush gardens on the ramps.
4/ The Colossi of Memnon
Built in 1350 BC. AD, the Colossi of Memnon are two large, massive stone statues depicting the pharaoh Amenhotep III. These are the last remnants of the millions of years old Temple of Amenhotep III. The original function of these statues was to guard the entrance to the pharaonic mortuary temple, but almost no trace of the temple remains and the colossi are despite themselves very damaged due to time. The physical features above the stature of the statues are almost unrecognizable.
5/ The Funeral Temple of Seti I
This mortuary temple was erected for Pharaoh Seti I on the west bank of the Nile at Abydos. It was built towards the end of the reign of the pharaoh and was finalized by his son Ramses II after his death in 1279 BC. The majesty of the place is unmissable. 150 km away, in Thebes, the Temple of Millions of Years of Seti Ie is the funerary temple of the pharaoh.
6/ The Temple of Sobek and Haroëris
Located south of Luxor, in the ancient city of Kôm Ombo, the temple of the gods Sobek and Harëris is located on a dune overlooking the Nile. The temple was commissioned by Ptolemy VI at the beginning of the second century BC. The impressive and richly detailed building is actually two duplicated temples along a main axis. There are two entrances, two colonnades, two hypostyle rooms and two sanctuaries. The remarkable quality and attention to detail of the building make it one of the most impressive and best preserved temples in Egypt.
7/ The Temple of Amun in Luxor
The temple is located on the east bank of the Nile at the site of the ancient city Thebes and was built in 1400 BC. The construction is dedicated to the god Amon, but also to Mut and Khonsou. The temple was the venue for the annual religious festival of Opet where statues of the three gods were transported from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple along the Avenue of the Sphinxes which connects the two temples. The temple of Luxor is unmissable for its grandeur, its alley of sphinxes and its obelisk (in addition, the second obelisk present in front of the temple is now located in Place de la Concorde, in Paris!).
8/The Temple of Horus in Edfu
The Temple of Edfu, dedicated to the deity Horus, is the second largest Egyptian temple after Karnak and one of the best preserved. Started in 237 BC. AD during the reign of Ptolemy III, it ended two centuries later in 57 BC. AD under Ptolemy XII, the father of Queen Cleopatra. Due to the richness of the place, the details and its majestic architecture, the temple is a place not to be missed.
9/ The Temples of Abu Simbel
The two temples of Abu Simbel were carved into the rock during the reign of Ramses II the Great in the 13th century BC. in honor of his wife, Queen Nefertari, and himself. The complex was moved in its entirety in the 1960s to avoid being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the artificial water reservoir formed after the construction of the Aswan Dam. The Abu Simbel temples are the most visited tourist attraction in Egypt.
10/ The Temple of Karnak
This is the oldest religious site in the world. Located in Luxor, it represents the works of many generations of Egyptian builders. The temple is made up of three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples. Millennia were needed to build and improve the incredible site of Karnak. The impressive size of the place, with an imposing colonnade, an alley of sphinxes and a plurality of details on the walls and columns make the place almost unmissable for a trip to Egypt.