When I got back to work one of the most frequent questions I was asked is what was your favorite part of Egypt. The easy and number one answer is the pyramids – they are massive, incredible, and truly a testament to human will power and engineering. But my number two answer is a place very few people have heard of, Dendera Temple.
The Dendera Temple complex is an hour and a half North of Luxor and is quite expansive – covering 40,000 square meters (10 acres) and even to this day much of it is surrounded by a hefty mudbrick wall. The entire complex dates back 2,000 years and when it was completed the wall was higher than the temple on all sides to protect it though elements have deteriorated over the centuries. I actually took quite a few notes while touring around this temple as it was fascinating – it is a great example of a Greek and Roman temple as it was started by the Romans, who built the outside, and the Greeks, who finished the inside.
And believe it or not, for Egypt something that is 2,000 years old is considered relatively new but The Temple of Dendera stands on the site of four temples built in 4th dynasty, 2613 to 2494 BC, so this “new” temple stands on a sacred spot dating back more than 4,5000 years. It is not just this history that makes it so special though, because it is situated 4km from the Nile it is one of the only temples that was not flooded and that means so much of the beautiful paint is still intact in the main building, the Hathor Temple.
The other aspect that was unique about the Temple of Dendera is that visitors, abliet in small groups, are allowed to go down into the crypt where the holy of holies was stored as well as up on to the roof. Getting to explore every aspect of this Temple really helped bring it to life.
And then after our guided tour we were given some “free time” which my brother and I turned it a photo shoot at the back of the temple, because why not? Plus, in the shot below you will see relief of Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII and Caesario offering sacrifices. This is one of the only depictions of the Cleopatra that Hollywood made famous as she was not a very important ruler when you look at Egyptian history overall and because she lived much later than most of the temples. #funfacts
Would you want to visit the Temple of Dendera?