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The Kom Ombo Temple: The Hidden Facts are Now Fully Disclosed.

With a fascinating history dating back to the dawn of civilization, the list of ancient Egyptian temples includes a wide variety of distinct structures that evolved over a long period of time, and an Egypt trip would be meaningless without a visit to at least one of these temples. Without the slightest doubt, the Kom Ombo Temple is one of the most iconic temples in Aswan, if not Egypt.

Historians have long been fascinated by the Kom Ombo Temple, which is claimed to be the only temple built completely symmetrical during the Ptolemaic era to worship two sets of gods (Sobek and Horus the older). Not only is its Ptolemaic architecture magnificent, but so are the myths surrounding its construction and destruction.

Want to know more about this spectacular temple? Continue reading for a detailed explanation of the Kom Omblo temple facts.

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Where and when was the Kom Ombo temple built?

Kom Ombo is one of Ancient Egypt’s most unique temples. This temple is located on the banks of the Nile in the same-named village, 45 kilometers north of Aswan and 167 kilometers south of Luxor. The original Kom Ombo temple was built between 180 BC and 145 BC, soon after Ptolemy VI took control over Egypt. A number of subsequent Ptolemies added to the original structure, but Ptolemy XIII added the two great hypostyle halls between 51 BC and 47 BC, making his contribution the most significant.

The ancient Ptolemaic temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt is devoted to the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon-headed Haroeris. This extraordinary dual dedication is reflected in the symmetrical architecture of the Kom Ombo Temple.

The temple of Kom Ombo gets its name from the ancient Egyptian place of Ombos, which in turn gets its name from the ancient Egyptian word “nwbt,” which means “gold.” However, the literal translation of Kom Ombo is “The Hill of Gold,” since “Kom” means “hill” in Arabic and “Ombo” signifies gold in hieroglyphics.

This city was vital in ancient Egypt because it dominated the routes of commerce for caravans traveling to Nubia across the Nile Valley. That is why each and every one of the powers that once ruled the nation maintained a military fortress in Ombos (currently Kom Ombo).

Furthermore, the temple of Kom-ombo is particularly notable for its location on the riverbank between Edfu and Aswan, making it an ideal stop for Nile cruises and a prominent highlight of Aswan attractions.

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The Kom Ombo Temple Facts

The Kom Ombo Temple is a one-of-a-kind Egyptian temple. It is unique in that it is double-designed and divided into two similar sectors dedicated to the worship of two gods. The southern half of the temple is dedicated to the crocodile deity Sobek, the god of fertility, who is accompanied by Hathor and Khonsu, while the northern half is dedicated to the falcon god Horus the Elder (Haroeris), the guardian of the Pharaohs and Egypt. It was also constructed to symbolize the Ptolemies’ sovereignty and superiority over the whole nation.

According to several studies, Kom Ombo was built atop the ruins of a much earlier temple known as “Ber Sobek,” or the house of the deity Sobek. The earlier temple was constructed during the rule of 18th-dynasty pharaoh Thutmose III and Queen Hatshepsut. This temple’s only remnant is a sandstone doorway carved into one of the new structure’s walls.

A remarkable relief depicting the deity Imhotep with medical instruments of the time and many inscriptions on the art of medicine can be seen on the outside of Kom Ombo temple. You’ll be astonished to realize how similar those medical instruments are to those used today. Some of the elements in this beautiful scene include medical utensils, sterilizing pools, and a portrayal of Isis helping women give birth. 

Imhotep, the architect of the step pyramid, was a priest as well as a well-known physician. For this reason, the emperor Trajan is seen presenting offerings and sacrifices to a seated Imhotep in this temple while he is being consecrated as the God of Medicine.

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According to several studies, Kom Ombo was built atop the ruins of a much earlier temple known as “Ber Sobek,” or the house of the deity Sobek. The earlier temple was constructed during the rule of 18th-dynasty pharaoh Thutmose III and Queen Hatshepsut. This temple’s only remnant is a sandstone doorway carved into one of the new structure’s walls.

Unfortunately, natural disasters such as earthquakes have destroyed a large portion of the Kom Ombo Temple over the centuries. Looters have also used rocks and other parts of the temple for other construction projects, while members of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria defaced many of the original relics that once stood inside the temple in an attempt to remove any indications of paganism so that they could use the structure for their own worship.

The temple was not reconstructed until the nineteenth century, when European interest in Egyptology intensified. The Kom Ombo Temple is still spectacular and offers a lot to see, including religious sculptures as well as depictions of everyday life, a sacred well, and several mummified crocodiles. There are also some remarkable reliefs, such as beautifully carved columns and friezes split between the two deities.

The design and layout of the Kom Ombo Temple

The Kom Ombo temple’s construction is exceedingly unique and unusual since it consists of two matching sections opposite to each other, each of which is independent of the other for the purpose of worship. Like most temples in Ancient Egypt, this one was designed in the shape of a rectangle out of limestone. The temple’s design is nearly perfectly symmetrical.

The Double Temple has a traditional layout, yet there is an undetectable division in the center. Two different doors run the entire length of it, through the hallways and antechambers, eventually leading to two sanctuaries, one dedicated to Horus and the other to Sobek. There is evidence that construction and development lasted for about 400 years, with Macrinus being the most recent Roman emperor documented (AD 217). Aside from the main temple, there is a birth house and a Hathor shrine, both of which originate from the Roman era.

The entrances are oriented southward. The left-hand tower, which is partly ruined, portrayed scenes from Horus the Elder’s triad, with Isis as his wife and Horus, the “son of Isis,” as his son. The right-hand tower depicts scenes from the triad led by Sobek, his wife Hathor, and their son Khonsu. The triads are represented on the wall’s lower parts. The court is quite large. It comprises eight columns on each side and a central altar.

 

The Great Hypostyle Hall is supported by 10 columns and features a ceiling decorated with flying vultures along the two major aisles and astrological figures under the architrave. The delicacy of the capitals and their variety of ornamental motifs catch the eye. Many include beautiful palm fronds and floral capitals. The wall reliefs are beautifully preserved and depict all of the Ptolemaic emperors who contributed to the temple’s decoration: Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy IX, and Ptolemy XII. The reliefs on the inside of the temple, dating from the Ptolemaic periods, are finer than the rough sunken reliefs on the temple’s outer walls, which date back to Roman times.

Sadly, the two sanctuaries are in bad condition. To the east stood Horus’ granite pedestal, while to the west stood Sobek’s. Between the two sanctuaries, a hidden passage has been created into the wall’s thick layer. This secret location could only be reached through a chamber at the back, where a part of the floor could be lifted to allow a priest access to a route below ground level. The priest had to be involved in the oracular power given to the two deities. The inner tunnel leads to seven rooms in the temple’s back; the entire passage is covered with reliefs, some of which are unfinished. The outside corridor, which can be accessed from the court, is also decorated thoroughly. The scenes in the left-hand corridor are about Horus, while those on the right are about Sobek.

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Getting to Kom Ombo Temple

The Temple of Kom Ombo is often the first port of call after leaving Aswan if you are exploring Egypt on a cruise trip. Trains between Aswan and Luxor stop in Kom Ombo (which goes on to Cairo too). Renting a car with a driver from Aswan is the most affordable option if you can agree on a fair deal for a return trip and have them wait for you while you see the temple.

The most convenient alternative is to arrange a guided trip or cruise, many of which include other famous temples and monuments, so you don’t have to worry about getting between the various locations or finding an English-speaking guide.

The Bottom Line

Year after year, the Temple of Kom Ombo attracts millions of tourists to Egypt, and definitely for good reason. Not only for its perfect symmetrical architecture, but also for having a truly unique charm that you won’t find anyplace else in the world. 
Given all of these Kom Ombo Temple facts, it is absolutely a must-see attraction for temple enthusiasts looking to experience interesting, one-of-a-kind pieces of Egyptian ancient history. It is certainly worthwhile to pay a visit! Make sure you don’t miss it.

Kom Ombo Temple Gallery:

You can check our tour packages to Aswan city to find how beautiful the city is

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