Djaba'a Hieroglyphs

The Temple

Reconstruction of ancient Djaba’a – Djeba (Click to enarge)

The physical temple of Horus at Edfu is the site of one of the oldest places of the worship of Har (Horus). Edfu sits on the earlier region named Watjasat Har (The Place where Horus is extolled). A very prosperous town, due to Watjasat Har’s proximity to routes to nearby gold mines in the eastern desert.

The town had both a sacred name and a secular name. Its sacred name being BaHdat meaning ‘great seat’ or ‘throne’. Its secular name was Djaba’a, meaning “float of reeds, and alludes to its cosmogony of the float of reeds that arose out of the chaos waters of Nanw (Nun) and became the perch of Har. By Coptic times the town Djaba’a was pronounced Etbo, and were it became the Arabic Edfu.

The earliest stone temple is attested to being designed by Imhotep, vizier and chief architect to Djoser (c. 2600 b.c.e.) and a woman named Kharadw-‘anakh. Little is known of that temple, except that it was dedicated to the triad of Har BaHdatya (Horus Behdety), His consort Hwt Har (Hathor) of Dandara, and Their son Har sama’a ta’wya (Horus, Uniter of the Two Lands).

Over the millennia, several Pharaohs contributed to the building of the Temple, including Sety I (1294-1279 BCE), Ramesses II (1279-1213 BCE), Ramesses III (1184-1153 BCE) and Nectanebo II (360-343 BCE). Most of what stands today is attributed to the massive temple building of Ptolemy III Euergetes II (246-222 BCE).

Work on the Ptolemaic temple began in 237 BCE Formal dedication of the inner naos of the temple was performed by Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and his wife Cleopatra II on 10 September 142 BCE Work continued, with greater additions added by the succeeding Pharaohs, and in 57 BCE the pylon doors were hung and the temple completed.

Here you will find links to articles and media of the several rooms of the main temple and other structures of significance in ancient Djaba’a.

Temple map (click to enlarge)
  1. Great Inscribed Portal
  2. Pylons
  3. Court of Offerings
  4. Portal of the Golden One
  5. Eastern Portal
  6. Western Portal
  7. Eastern Portal
  8. House of the Morning
  9. House of Books
  10. Pronaos
  11. Pure Corridor
  12. Pronaos Portal
  13. Room of the Nile
  14. Portal to the Pure Corridor
  15. Ointment Workshop
  16. Great Hall
  17. Treasury
  18. Connecting Room
  19. Western Staircase
  20. Antechamber to Western Staircase
  21. Offering Table Hall
  22. Eastern Staircase
  23. Portal to the Sacred Lake
  24. Food Offerings Altar
  25. Pure Place
  26. Throne Room
  27. Throne of Ra
  28. Chapel of Hathor
  29. Mansion of the Leg
  30. Harpoon Room
  31. Shatjyat – Sanctuary of Sokar
  32. Mansion of the Prince
  33. Inner Sanctuary of Sokar
  34. Throne of the Gods
  35. House of Clothing
  36. Chapel of Manw
  37. Central Hall
  38. Great Seat of Horus
  39. Connecting Staircase to the Food Offerings Altar
  40. Connecting Staircase to the Great Hall
  41. Stairway to the Pure Well
  42. Enclosure Wall
  43. Pure Corridor