Ancient Egypt is an exceptional and rich historical period for the Egyptian people. Flourishing for nearly 3,000 years, the Egyptian civilization was the most advanced of its time, compared to the rest of the world in terms of social, economic, health, architectural, cultural, and scientific advances, along with the Mayan civilization. Ancient Egypt traces a fascinating history and culture, enriched over nearly two centuries thanks to numerous excavations and archaeological discoveries. While the country is famous for its pyramids, many other monuments are just as impressive. The Egyptian power was manifested over time through the construction of temples throughout the kingdom. Here are the 10 most impressive temples in Egypt. They are visitable and well-preserved.
To discover these historical treasures with your own eyes, you will need to travel a good part of the country from north to south. It should be noted that a large number of these monuments are found along the Nile. Therefore, it is possible to venture there via a cruise. Generally, these boats offer excursions to discover the different temples and tombs. With a little luck, you might have the opportunity to visit these archaeological sites at sunrise or in the evening when the lighting makes the places even more beautiful.
Located on the west bank of Luxor (not far from the ancient city of Thebes), Medinet Habu is the Arabic name for an impressive temple complex due to its size and preservation. There is a small temple dedicated to the god Amun built under the orders of Pharaoh Thutmose III and Queen Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Next to it is the Temple of Millions of Years of Ramses III, the gigantic mortuary temple built for the Pharaoh. The large temple is relatively well-preserved and is surrounded by a brick enclosure which would have housed funeral chapels, small shops, workshops, and residences for the staff of the pharaonic temple.
The Temple of Isis in Philae
The island of Philae, in the heart of the Nile, hosts a superb temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. Its construction began under the Pharaohs of the 30th Dynasty (between 380 and 343 BC) and continued under the Greek Ptolemaic Dynasty and the Romans. In the 1960s, however, the temple and other monuments were moved to the island of Agilkia by UNESCO to prevent them from being submerged by the rising waters of the Nile due to the construction of the Aswan Dam. Currently, the island of Philae is submerged under the waters.
The Temple of Hatshepsut
The mortuary temple of Queen Pharaoh Hatshepsut is located on the banks of the Nile, facing Karnak and Luxor. It is a colonnaded structure made by the royal architect Senenmut, to honor the Queen and the glory of the god Amun. The temple is built on a cliff and consists of three terraced layers culminating at a height of 30 meters. The entrance to the temple is marked by large stairs, which one can ascend. The terraces were once connected by lush gardens on the ramps.
The Colossi of Memnon
Built in 1350 BC, the Colossi of Memnon are two large massive stone statues representing Pharaoh Amenhotep III. These are the last remnants of the ancient Temple of Millions of Years 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 heavily damaged due to weathering. The physical features above the size of the statues are almost unrecognizable.
The Funerary 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 undeniable. At 150 km in Thebes, the Temple of the Millions of Years of Seti I is the funerary temple of the Pharaoh.
The Temple of Sobek and Haroeris
Located south of Luxor, in the ancient town of Kom Ombo, the temple of the gods Sobek and Haroeris is situated 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 halls, and two sanctuaries. The remarkable quality and attention to detail make it one of the most impressive and best-preserved temples in Egypt.
The Temple of Amun in Luxor
The temple is located on the east bank of the Nile on the site of the ancient city of Thebes and was built in 1400 BC. The construction is dedicated to the god Amun, but also to Mut and Khonsu. The temple was the site of the annual Opet religious festival where the statues of the three gods were transported from the Karnak Temple to the Luxor Temple along the avenue of sphinxes that connects the two temples. The Luxor Temple is noteworthy for its grandeur, its avenue of sphinxes, and its obelisk (furthermore, the second obelisk that was in front of the temple is today in the Place de la Concorde, in Paris!).
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. Construction began in 237 BC during the reign of Ptolemy III and ended two centuries later in 57 BC under Ptolemy XII, the father of Queen Cleopatra. Due to its richness, details, and majestic architecture, the temple is a must-visit site.
The Temples of Abu Simbel
The two temples of Abu Simbel were carved into the rock during the reign of Ramesses 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 submersion during the creation of Lake Nasser, the artificial reservoir formed after the construction of the Aswan Dam. The temples of Abu Simbel are the most visited tourist attraction in Egypt.
The Temple of Karnak
This is the oldest religious site in the world. Located in Luxor, it represents the work of many generations of Egyptian builders. The temple complex is made up of three main temples, small enclosed temples, and several outer temples. Millennia were needed to build and enhance the incredible site of Karnak. The impressive grandeur of the place, with its imposing colonnade, avenue of sphinxes, and a plethora of details on the walls and columns, makes it an unmissable destination for a trip to Egypt.”