The Temple of Dendera


Though the temple of Dendera is not as popular as other temples in Egypt, it still has the magic to attract visitors from all over the world. This temple is located in the countryside north of Luxor. It’s about an hour drive from Karnak and Luxor.

It was dedicated to the goddess Hathor but was never finished. The temple at one time was hidden by sand but was cleared during the 1800s. It also sits among other monuments but most of those are from the Greco-Roman Period.

Unlike other typical Egyptian temples, this temple was a Greco-Roman Temple. This meant that much of the temple had influences by Greece and Rome. It now sits on the edge of the desert and has managed to stay intact. In fact, this temple is probably one of the best preserved temples in Egypt.

The construction of the temple can be mainly attributed to one of the Ptolemaic kings. It’s believed this temple was rebuilt over an existing temple that dated back to the Middle Kingdom. It was then continually modified under the Ptolemaic kings, and finally completed during the Roman times.

An example of roman influences would be the sunken relief carvings of Cleopatra VII. They date back to the Ptolemaic Period. On the western side of the temple and on the south wall, Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarion can be seen. There Cleopatra VII stands in customary Egyptian rankings with her co-regent by her side (Caesarion). Though the temple had lots of influences from the Romans, its architecture was Egyptian. For example, the pylon had slanted walls and corners that were curved. The outward-curing cavetto, a bracket around the walls, was done in classic design. It also had two birth houses, a Coptic Basilica, sanitarium, a sacred lake, and a temple to Isis.

This temple holds several hidden crypts. The crypts can be entered through small openings and tourists can visit these vaults. . They can be found towards the eastern, southern, and western sides of the temple.

At one time these crypts may have been used to house treasures or hold ritual equipment. Each room is small so the likely hood of performing rituals inside crypts is probably not likely. Many of the walls are plain and some are carved and decorated.