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Kom Ombo Temple

A Traveler’s Guide to Kom Ombo Temple: Insights and Tips

Kom Ombo, Egypt, is one of the most amazing cities on the banks of the Nile in Aswan. Next to the riverbed of Egypt, you will find a lavish temple with over 2,000 years of history in its stones. The Kom Ombo temple is one of the most famous in Egypt because it is entirely symmetrical.

It has two entrances, two hypostyle rooms -covered and supported by columns- and two sanctuaries. This is because the temple is dedicated to two gods: Horus, Haroeris, and Sobek. Although it is a double temple in many ways, it has several rooms and rooms for everyday use.

The temple began to be built in the 2nd century BC, during the Ptolemaic dynasty, and different elements were added during the Roman domination.

For this reason, you will find many reminiscences of the Greco-Roman style in its architecture. For example, the pylon at the entrance was erected by Emperor Augustus and featured various bas-reliefs showing Roman emperors making offerings to Egyptian gods.

On the outside of the temple, you will find a great relief that shows the god Imhotep with the medical instruments of the time and various texts on the art of medicine. You will be surprised to find that the medical devices of the time are very similar to those used today.

In addition, the temple of Kom Ombo, Egypt, is of great interest because it is one of the essential Pharaonic-era sanctuaries dedicated to Sobek. This god, with the head of a crocodile, was the deity of the Nile and, according to some myths, the creator of the whole world. According to Egyptian tradition, the Nile River runs gently past the complex, which is the sweat of Sobek.

A few steps from the temple of Kom Ombo, you can continue investigating the history of this god in the Crocodile Museum. In this impressive museum, you can find archaeological remains related to the Ancient Egyptian cult of crocodiles and, therefore, Sobek-. You will find it very interesting to see the mummies of the crocodiles found in the area and used as objects of worship.

Kom Ombo City

This small city in Egypt is on the west side of the Nile River, about 40 kilometers north of Aswan, and it is close to a large plain where sugar cane and corn are grown.

This place, called “Nobit” by the ancient Egyptians, was in the middle of one of the caravan routes that led to the gold mines in old Nubia. It was later used by the Roman army to train elephants.

This past has a lot of history, and there are a lot of archaeological sites in the city today. Among these, the temple for the worship of Sobek and Haroeris stands out. You can get a great view of the Nile, and Mansourieh Island bends on a small hill.

Kom Ombo means “golden” because it was at the crossroads of gold mines. Its Coptic name was Anbu, and its Greek name was Ambos. “Ambos” means “hills,” which the area was known for.

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Who built the temple of Kom Ombo?

In ancient Egyptian, the temple’s name was Pa-Sobek, which means “Sobek’s possession.” In Egyptian mythology, Kom Ombo is the god of water and the Nile floods, and she was the son of the goddess Neith

. As the god of water and fertility, she was worshipped in Crocodilopolis, now Faiyum, the capital of the 21st district of Upper Egypt.

What are the reasons for building the double temple of Kom Ombo?

The old Temple of Kom Ombo was used as a hospital, and there are pictures of old games from the Pharaonic period, like “Fencing on the Fence,” found there.
The Ptolemies built the temple at Kom Ombo to honor two gods: Sobek, who was called the “crocodile god,” and “Horus,” who was called the “hawk-headed” Haroeris. So, the complex is mainly made up of two temples next to each other and has all the traditional parts of these ancient Egyptian religious buildings.

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Stages of building a temple.

  • The Kom Ombo Temple was built on the ruins of a much older temple called “Pir Sobek,” which means “House of God Sobek.”
  • From 180 BC to 205 BC, King Ptolemy V built the temple.
  • Between 180 BC and 145 BC, King Ptolemy VI. built the temple and many of its buildings.
  • From 169 to 116 BC, the hall was built by King Ptolemy VIII.
  • Tiberius was emperor from 14 BC to 37 BC. There were paintings and engravings on the halls’ walls with columns.
  • Emperor Domitian added his name to the temple between 81 and 96 BC.
  • Work to fix up and build the temple continued until 218 AD, when Caracalla, Geta, and Macrinus were emperors.

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Temple of Kom Ombo Architecture

Kom Ombo Temple

The double temple is built traditionally, but an invisible line is in the middle. It has two separate gates that lead to two sanctuaries, one for Horus and the other for Sobek. The temple is 45 km north of Aswan, a popular tourist destination.

The temple has a small pool of water called “Not Cleopatra’s Bath.” In the past, it was used to breed crocodiles.

The temple contains two groups of three statues: “Sobek, Hathor, and Khons” and “Horus the Great (Harweris), Ta-Sint-Nofret, and Ba-Nep-Tawi.”

A large wall surrounds the temple, the Sobek Chapel has two entrances, and the Horus Chapel has one.

Kom Ombo Temple has a large courtyard with 16 columns on three sides. However, only the lower parts of the columns remain due to weather and erosion.

On the walls of Emperor Tiberius’s palace, writings in Pharaonic script show him offering gifts to the gods.

In the middle of the courtyard, you can see the remains of the altar where the sacred boat was placed during processions to show that Egypt was one country.

In Aswan’s temples, you can also see portraits of Emperor Augustus alongside a long ribbon of hieroglyphs and behind a procession of deities making offerings to them.

You will see the temple courtyard in the abyss between the outer columns. The square is surrounded by two large doors and two small doors made of stone, and the exterior columns have carvings in the form of snakes holding a sun disk.

On the ceiling of the hall are paintings of astronomical scenes and eagles. The symbols of the gods of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt are the head of an eagle with the crown of Upper Egypt and the head of a snake with the height of Lower Egypt.

Kom Ombo Temple is built mainly of limestone in a rectangular shape. Its plan and design are very similar to many temples dating back to the Roman period, such as the temples of Dendera and the temples of Philae, among the most important monuments in Upper Egypt. They are visited by many tourists every year.

Kom Ombo Temple’s design begins with a forecourt and a hypostyle hall. Three inner halls follow this, then two buildings, one for Sobek and the other for Horus.

Kom Ombo Temple Fantaistic Facts

It also tells us a lot about how important the natural world and its cycles were to the priests of ancient Egypt. Above all, it shows how older adults thought the Nile crocodiles were holy because they gathered at a point bend in the river.

When you go to the temple, you can see the mummified crocodiles in the three halls leading up to Horus and Sobek’s double sanctuary.

You can also look at the clay sarcophagi and the beautiful wall reliefs. Some of the 300 crocodile mummies in the area are displayed in a museum close to the temple.

Floods and earthquakes destroyed many temples; later, builders used the building as a quarry. When the temple was turned into a Coptic Orthodox church, some inscriptions on the inside were also changed.

In ancient Egyptian, the temple’s name was Pa-Sobek, which means “Sobek’s possession.” In Egyptian mythology, Kom Ombo is the god of water and the Nile floods, and she was the son of the goddess Neith.

As the god of water and fertility, she was worshipped in Crocodilopolis, now Faiyum, the capital of the 21st district of Upper Egypt.

At the beginning of his reign, Ptolemy VI built the temple. His successors added to it, and Ptolemy XIII added the outer and inner colonnaded halls.

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Temple of Kom Ombo Location

The Kom Ombo temple is in the village with the same name. This is in Upper Egypt, which is in the country’s south. During the Ptolemaic dynasty, this place of worship was built.

It is beautiful to get to the site on a cruise on the Nile River, as the temple stands right on the bank of the Nile, where the ships dock. It is a sight to see the figure that stands out on the promontory of Kom Ombo (Tel Ombos), which looks out over the small cavity of the river basin.

About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.