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The Temple of Kom Ombo is one of the most beautiful double temples dedicated to two triads of deities:

  • The eastern half of the temple is devoted to the first triad consisting of the crocodile god Sobek – god of the Nile and creator of the world, his wife Hathor, and their son Khonsu.
  • The western side of the temple is assigned to a second group consisting of the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder) – god of the sky and protector of the king, his wife Tasenetnofret, and their child Panebtawy.

Unfortunately, most of the temple’s original structures are gone. The majority were either destroyed by either natural forces or by humans who used the temple’s materials for the construction of other buildings. And, just as almost in every temple, a lot of reliefs were defaced by Copts.

What is left and visible today, was constructed during the Ptolemaic Period 108 to 47 BC.

Find out what to see at the Temple of Kom Ombo. Here are my 9 things you can’t miss if you are planning on visiting the temple.

Where Is the Temple of Kom Ombo Located

The Temple of Kom Ombo Sobek is located on the bank of the Nile River between Edfu and Aswan at Kom Ombo.

Like most tourists, you will probably arrive at Kom Ombo on one of the cruise ships on the River Nile and then take a tour of the temple.

For me, it was the second day of the cruise on the River Nile. My tour guide told me to be ready at 6:30 am. He told me that if we go early, I would have the place pretty much all to myself. When we got to the temple grounds, it was still dark and it was a great experience to see the temple beautifully illuminated. Then, I  watched an awesome sunrise and the first rays of sun lighting up the entire place.

Map of the Temple of Kom Ombo

Kom_Ombo_map

1. The Sanctuary of Sobek
2. The Wall surrounding the Temple of Kom Ombo
3. The Sanctuary of Horus
4. The Staircase
5. The Hypostyle hall
6. Pronaos
7. The Chapel of Hathor
8. The Gate of Ptolemy XII Auletes
9. The Well
10. Pylon
11. The Great Court with the Altar
12. Mammisi (Birth House)
13. Hall of the Temple’s Fundation
14. Hall of victims
15. Hall of statues
16. The Chapel of Sobek

Image and Description Credit: Drawing by Gérard Ducher (french version) and Janmad (description for English and Polish version) via Wikimedia Commons

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo (9 Things You Can't Miss)

NUMBER 1

Courtyard of Augustus

The Courtyard of Augustus at the Temple of Kom Ombo used to be surrounded on the north, west, and south side by rows of colonnades. There was a total of 16 columns. Today, only the lower halves of the columns remain.

In the middle of the courtyard, you can see the remains of a square altar base. On each side of the altar are small basins for accepting the offering made to each of the Gods.

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Courtyard at the Temple of Kom Ombo /  What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

Courtyard at the Temple of Kom Ombo /  What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

However, I think, the most remarkable are stone screens along the east and west side of the courtyard. Especially, the screen on the east side is very well preserved. It depicts falcon-headed Haroeris and ibis-headed Thoth with Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos.

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Stone Screens at the Temple of Kom Ombo / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 2

Hypostyle Halls

Across the courtyard is the first Hypostyle Hall, which leads on to a slightly smaller second Hypostyle Hall of a similar design. Both have two rows of five free-standing columns.

The capitals of the columns are beautifully decorated. Also, notice the bans of hieroglyphs with the symbol of life (ankh).

Things to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Hypostyle Halls at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Things to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Hypostyle Halls at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

Hypostyle Halls at the Temple of Kom Ombo / How to Visit and What to See in Saqqara

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Make sure to look up and check out the ceiling over the main two aisles, with its paintings of flying vultures.

Temple of Kom Ombo

Beautifully decorated ceiling at the Hypostyle Halls at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

There are beautiful reliefs throughout the Hypostyle Halls.

Check out the depiction of Horus and Thoth pouring consecration water over Ptolemy XII.

Temple of Kom Ombo

Reliefs inside the Hypostyle Halls / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

Reliefs inside the Hypostyle Halls / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

NUMBER 3

The Antechambers and the Sanctuary

After you pass through the two Hypostyle Halls, you will enter a series of three Antechambers. They will eventually lead you to the two inner Sanctuaries.

On the left is the sanctuary dedicated to Haroeris, while on the right is the sanctuary for Sobek.

The sanctuaries are surrounded by ten smaller cult chapels.

My guide told me that situated below the inner part of the temple are a number of rooms. He said that some of them have three levels. There are a number of hidden passages as well.

Temple of Kom Ombo

Antechambers at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 4

The Relief of the Ancient Egyptian Calendar

On the inner section of the outer enclosure wall, you will find the relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar.

It represents a yearly schedule of events specifically related to the Temple of Kom Ombo.

The calendar acted as an agenda for priests and priestesses at the temple. It helped to schedule and organize the services and rituals.

The relief is divided into three panels. And, it should be read from right to left. So, The first panel describes the date and the month, and the season. The second panel details the type of service presented. And, finally, the third panel, pertains to the local gods.

The ancient Egyptian calendar consisted of:

  • a year, which was divided into 3 seasons: flood, cultivation, and harvesting
  • each season was divided into 4 months
  • each month was divided into 3 weeks
  • each week was divided into 10 days
What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

This is really fascinating, and I want to show you how to read the first panel which is the description of days, months, and seasons.

So, to start with:

  • the symbol of the sun disk means a new day
  • next, an inverted U represents the number ten
  • finally, the symbol I represents the number one

If you look at the picture right below, you can see the sun disk, which means that it is a new day. Then, you have two symbols of an inverted U, and, each represents the number ten, so in total, we have the number twenty. Finally, we have eight symbols I and each stands for the number one. So, it totals eight. All in all, we have a new day and it is the twenty-eight of the month. I think this is so cool!

Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Next section: first of all, we have the sun disk, which as you remember stands for a new day. Then, you can see two inverted U, which is twenty, right? Finally, there is a  new symbol that looks like a sun disk with a dash in the middle. It stands for number nine. So we know, that we have the twenty-ninth of the month. Isn’t this awesome? You are reading hieroglyphs!

Temple Of Kom Ombo

The relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Next section: you see a character like an animal tail which stands for the 30th and the end of the month. As you remember, each month had 30 days.

Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Next section: the cycle starts again, reporting a new month. It is the 3rd month of the harvesting season (shows open flowers). And, the symbol of the sun disk, which means a new day. And, the symbol I for number one, which is the first day of the third month of the new season.

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of the ancient Egyptian calendar  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 5

Reliefs of Women Sitting on Birthing Chairs

The relief shows two women using birthing chairs or stools to give birth. The chairs or stools were made of bricks and had a hole or cut-out in the seat through which the baby was delivered.

If you look closely at the relief of the lower woman, notice a throne-shaped object on her head. It is a hieroglyph for the goddess Isis, the patron of fertility and motherhood.

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of women sitting on birthing chairs  / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 6

Reliefs of Surgical and Ritualistic Instruments

Next to the women on birthing stools is an engraving representing medical and surgical instruments, or possibly some ritualistic instruments as well. This relief is thought to be the first representation of medically related instruments.

You can see forceps, medicine bottles, prescriptions, curettes, weighing scales, cupping glasses, and many others.

It is possible that the Temple of Kom Ombo operated as a healing temple. Haroeris (Horus the Elder), was revered as a healer, and therefore many pilgrims would come to the temple in hopes of having any health problems cured.

What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

The relief of medical and ritualistic instruments / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 7

Nilometer

To the left of the temple is a large well with a descending staircase. It was used as a Nilometer.

Interestingly, a Nilometer was a structure used by the ancient Egyptians to measure how high or low the flood of the River Nile was going to be. If it was low, it would cause famine. If it was too high, it could be destructive as well. There was a mark inside the well that indicated the water level that yielded successful crops.

All in all, the Nilometer helped to predict the outcome of the harvest and calculate the tax rate for the year.

Nilometer at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Nilometer at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 8

Pylon

Originally, the Kom Ombo Temple’s Pylon had a double gateway. All that is left today is the lower part of the right-hand section. However, do not miss it. Check out the relief of the Roman Emperor Domitian making offerings to Sobek, Hathor, and Khonsu. Also, take a look at a long text of 52 lines in hieroglyphics.

Pylon at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Nilometer at the Temple of Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

NUMBER 9

The Crocodile Mummy Museum

Next to the temple of Kom Ombo is the Crocodile Mummy Museum. It contains a large number of crocodile mummies ranging from egg to adult size. Honestly, do not miss it! It is one of the coolest museums that I have visited in Egypt.

You will learn all about the god Sobek, you will get to see beautiful votives offered by pilgrims that came to worship Sobek, and you will learn all about the mummification process.

Find Out More About the Crocodile Mummy Museum:

 

What to See at the Crocodile Mummy Museum in Kom Ombo

Crocodile Mummy Museum in Kom Ombo

Crocodile Mummy Museum in Kom Ombo / What to See at the Temple of Kom Ombo

Guide to Visiting Kom Ombo

Intrepid Scout's Tips

Traveling in Egypt can be challenging, even for the most seasoned nomad. There’s so much to know about Egypt and consider before planning a trip, however, make sure to read 14 Egypt travel tips, to help you make the most of your time,  avoid possible challenges, and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable stay in Egypt.

14 Egypt Travel Tips to Save You Time, Money, and Keep You Safe

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning on visiting the Temple of Kom Ombo?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

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Comments:

2 thoughts on “What to See at the TEMPLE of KOM OMBO, Egypt (9 Things You Can’t Miss)


Suzette
2021-06-29

My husband and I will be visiting Egypt July 2021 and yes, we are going to the Temple. Thank you for this, I will definitely put all of this on my list.

    2021-06-30

    Hi Suzette,
    Good luck with your trip to Egypt. I am excited for you.
    Please let me know if you need any additional information.
    I am here, if you need anything!

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