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Temple of Dendera Egypt

Posted On : 26/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Although temples dedicated to the goddess Hathor were built on this site during the Old Kingdom era (2686 – 2181 BC), the structure that stands here today is more recent. In fact, the Dendera temple dates back to the Greco-Roman period, between 125 BC and AD 60. The rulers of the Ptolemaic Greek dynasty were foreign rulers and this temple represents one of their efforts to show their devotion to the ancient deities and win the benevolence of the Egyptian people. 

Dendera is a destination of great interest also for the excellent state of conservation maintained until today. As a result of the Greek rulers' desire to recall the past, the temple style is very close to those that preceded it, for example the temple of Seti at Abydos.

The entrance pylon and the main courtyard have been destroyed, so that the entrance is directly in the perfectly preserved hypostyle hall. Inside you can admire a suggestive environment, full of columns whose capital depicts the face of Hathor. Most of the damage to the face suffered by these sculptures is due to vandalism carried out in the Christian era, during which the temple was used as a church.

After passing the hypostyle hall, visitors will have access to a complex of small chapels, underground passages, and a stairway leading to the roof. All the wall surfaces in these spaces still bear clear signs of engraving and show an excellent state of the original coloring. The roof offers a splendid view of the wall built with mud bricks that still surrounds the complex. Visitors should also take the time to explore the temple grounds and the many smaller buildings that surround it.

Dendera is located about 35 miles north of Luxor (less than an hour's drive) and its visit can easily be combined with that of Abydos, a few miles further north.

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By Kate Clark

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