On the second day of our cruise down the Nile River, we stopped in Edfu to visit the Temple of Horus (also known as the Temple of Edfu). It is one of the best preserved ancient temples in Egypt as it was buried by sand, which allowed most of the features to remain intact. The temple was built during the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC and was dedicated to Horus who was the son of Isis and Osiris. He is typically depicted as a man with the head of a falcon, or just as a falcon, and is considered to be an avenging god.
Getting to the temple from the dock was as fascinating as visiting the temple itself. After leaving the ship, we jumped into a horse-drawn carriage and made our way through the sandy streets of Edfu. The streets are lined with shops that contain everything from clothes to freshly baked bread. There is a constant stream of carriages as travelers are hustled from the many ships that arrive throughout the day to the temple on the other side of the town. It is a wonderful glimpse into the daily lives of the locals who live in this busy tourist destination.
The temple itself is quite spectacular, from its typical twin towers with hieroglyphs to the lotus flower columns that line the inside of the temple. Two of the more interesting features of the temple is the statue of Horus that looks as if it could have just been carved yesterday and the temple room with the ritualistic ship inside. The details as you walk through the temple complex are truly amazing and our guide made sure to stop and share important information about the stories that were told on the various walls, rooms, and stairways. We spent about two hours exploring the temple in the desert heat and were exhausted by the time we returned to our ship.
Although Edfu is not as easy as some other locations to get to from Cairo, it is certainly worth going there. We went to several temples during our trip to Egypt, but seeing the Temple of Horus was definitely one of the most memorable. Only the Temple of Karnak, due to its size, was more impressive to visit.