Over the Christmas holidays I got quite a few DMs asking if I was ever coming back from Egypt – the answer is clearly yes, but that also means with more than two weeks of sightseeing I have a ton of Egypt travel posts and today, I am sharing another one! If you are on a river cruise down the Nile it is not always things that you have heard of – the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, or the Tomb of King Tut. And one of these places is Esna – located 40km from Luxor it is a not a big town, just 80,000 people. But it is known for two things, the Temple of Khnum and the tourist market. One of the reasons that many ships stop in Esna is because it is on the water’s edge and quite close to the lock that all boats need to pass through to get between Luxor and Aswan.
The Temple of Khnum does not take long to see, especially if it is not your first. A few interesting facts thought hat make it different, based on my historians, it was the last temple built in Egypt. And at the time, during the rule of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius around AD 161–180, it was much bigger but since it was found buried under city, only main hall left. Even though only a small portion is left it is still quite pretty 24 columns with capitals. And part of the reason The Temple of Khnum today is so well preserved is that to visit you need to descended into a 27 foot pit, built up from 15 centuries of desert sand, since it was abandoned in Roman times. The rest of the temple is thought to be buried under the city but to excavating it would mean tearing down homes, businesses, and other historical landmarks.
After you tour the temple does not take long to take in the town and it is clear it is going through a gentrification. Walking through the town with our local guide it was a small town feel of how Islam permeates through everyday life, particularly through the blatant displays on people’s houses showing that they have made the pilgrimage to Mecca (and even has cartoons to show the mode of transportation. Take a look at the city:
Would you want to visit Esna and the Temple of Khnum?