Kom Ombo Temple

(Note: My trip to Egypt was sponsored by a partnership between Adventure Center and MatadorU.)

The temple at Kom Ombo is unusual in that it has a double dedication — to both Haroeris and Sobek. Our visit was also unusual in that we had the whole place to ourselves. The temple lies along the Nile, 50 km north of Aswan, and is an obvious stop on the cruise ship route. Looking around at the vacant temple, our guide told us that there are usually at least five ships moored; when we arrived there were none and it wasn’t until later on that just one, almost empty, joined us.

The temple dates from the Ptolemaic dynasty and construction was begun by Ptolemy VI Philometor. The right side is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek, who is identified with the sun as Sobek-Re, here, and the left side to Haroeris, a form of Horus, the falcon-headed god. The temple has twin entrances and sanctuaries, and stands at a bend in the river where crocodiles used to bask, hence the dedication to the crocodile god by ancient Egyptians who believed that by honouring the beasts they would be safe from attacks.

Most of the forecourt has been washed away, there is no roof and some reliefs were defaced by the Copts who used the temple as a sanctuary. Many of the reliefs and very well-preserved and I would love to explain in detail the meaning of each. However, by this point in my trip I was neglecting my note-taking duties and as a result have a bunch of photographs of detailed reliefs but am not confident I know exactly what they all mean. There is a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is: record everything your tour guide says because you will never remember it all.

Some scraps of colour remain on the forecourt pillars. Photo by author.

I think that this is Sekhmet giving the pharoah the key of life. Photo by author.

Vultures against a blue background that represents the sky. Photo by author.

I think...this depicts a list of festivals and deities? Photo by author.

Egyptian woman on a birthing stool. Egyptian reliefs show women giving birth seated on a special chair or "stool" which may have had a hole or cut-out in the seat through which the baby was delivered. Photo by author.

Photo by author.

I framed this badly, but it shows an offering of medical equipment to Imhotep. Photo by author.

Sobek, the crocodile god. Photo by author.

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3 thoughts on “Kom Ombo Temple

  1. I’d be grateful if you would give your permission to use the photo of an Egyptian woman on a birth stool for a book I am writing about position in birth. Many thanks, Margaret

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