When you are planning your Egyptian travels the usual tourist spots come to mind first – the Pyramids, sailing on the Nile, Valley of the Kings, climbing Gebel Musa (Mt Moses, Sinai). But Egypt has so many amazing places to visit, for reasons from seeing the antiquities to relaxing in the sea and sun. Today Nature Travel continues its slideshows with some of the places you should add to your list. Come with us to Dendera….
The Dendera Temple complex as located about 2.5 km south-east of Dendera, Egypt. The most enjoyable way to reach it is by boat from Luxor. Dendera is one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt. The complex covers 40,000 square meters and is enclosed by a mud brick wall.
For many centuries Dendera was a site for chapels or shrines. It is believed that Pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2250 BC) built on this site, and evidence exists of a temple in the eighteenth dynasty (ca 1500 BC). But the earliest existing building in the compound now is the mammisi (a mammisi is a small chapel attached to a larger temple, and is associated with the nativity of a god) which was built by Nectanebo II, the final native pharaoh (360-343 BC).
Features of the complex include:
temple of the birth of Isis
mammisi of Nectanebo II
a Bark shine
gateways of Domitian & Trajan
Depictions of Cleopatra VI which appear on the temple walls are fine examples of Ptolemaic Egyptian art. One depicts Cleopatra and her son, Caesarion. On the rear of the temple exterior is a carving of Cleopatra VII Philopator and her son, Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar, fathered by Julius Caesar.
For our readers visiting Paris, where many Egyptian treasures are housed in the Louvre: the Dendera zodiac is a widely known relief found in a late Greco-Roman temple. It includes images of Taurus (the bull) and the Libra (the balance). A sketch was made of it during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt, and in 1820 it was removed from the ceiling and is now in the Louvre. Champollion’s guess that it was Ptolemaic was correct and Egyptologists now date it to the first century BC.