The Temples of Egypt

May 8, 2013

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Whether you’re a historian, architect, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful scenery, Egypt’s temples will dazzle you.

Can I be real with y’all?  I didn’t love Egypt (and not just because I got mugged at the beginning of my trip). The country just didn’t click with me, the certain je ne sais quoi of a place that causes my heart to fill with joy while within its borders (see Chile, France, Mexico) just wasn’t there. Of course, there are more reasons, which I’ll more explicitly outline in an upcoming blog post.  But Egypt didn’t snatch my heart.

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Despite this, I’d have to be a fool to say that Egyptian architecture didn’t impress me.  Yes, the structures are grand and imposing, the rows and rows of pillars graffiti-ed in hieroglyphics are dizzying to say the least.  But even more remarkable is how old everything is.  I mean, I’m nearly 31, I’m a child of the ’80s.  From time to time I catch re-runs of the Cosby Show or Who’s the Boss (you Canadians and Americans know what I’m talking about!) on television and think, “Gosh, that was a long time ago!”  But Bill and Tony have nothing on  Egyptian temples. Because most of the ones I saw date back to 350 BC.

Let that marinate for a second. Three hundred and fifty years BEFORE Christ. Whoa.

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In Egypt there are temples, tombs, and ruins galore, and figuring out which ones to spend your time and money on seeing can be daunting. The bulk of them are concentrated in Luxor, the former capital of Ancient Egypt, but we saw a few in Aswan and Cairo as well. Here are a few of the ones Liebling and I visited during our 10 days in the country (and I dare you to tell me these don’t look awesome):

Temple of Philae, Aswan

I may have the history wrong (Egyptologists, feel free to correct me), but this temple complex on the Nile was built by ancient Egyptians to commemorate the goddess Isis. The original temple, located on Philae Island was actually dismantled and rebuilt on another island in the early 1900s after being completely submerged by the water.

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Luxor Temple, Luxor

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Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor

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 Temple of Merneptah, Luxor

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Karnak Temple, Luxor

This is the largest temple complex in the world and probably the worst maintained.  I remember being annoyed that it cost so much to get in (I believe it was 60 EGP or about $8.50 USD) — the structures are very badly decayed in some places.  Still, the one section with pillars is fantastic and I made friends with a group of little Egyptian boys on a school field trip!

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Beautiful, no? (You can pick your jaw up off of the floor now.)

 

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Which temple do you like the best?  Do you like visiting temples/ruins on your trips?

 

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa May 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Absolutely stunning, I think Luxor temple might be my favourite. I know you didn’t love it but Egypt is fairly high on my to see list.
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Erika May 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Ah!! So cool, so ancient… Egypt is on my list of places to see one day, but also good to know not to have SUPER high expectations outside of the temples. Looking forward to hearing why it didn’t top your favorite list. :)
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Butterfly Jewel May 9, 2013 at 12:45 am

Wow! This is a great article on Egypt’s temples. It brought back memories for me from my vacation there. I so enjoyed looking at the architecture from Luxor as I accidentally erased my photos I took there while I was in Egypt. I know you said Egypt didn’t capture your heart, but it looked like you had so much fun in your photos. :-)

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Oneika May 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

What?! Erased your photos, how sad! Were you with anyone else at the time? Were you able to at least get their photos?

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Karisa May 9, 2013 at 3:05 am

Wow! It seems like you visited so many great temples! I’m sorry you didn’t love Egypt :( I haven’t been there yet but as a traveling history nerd, it is on the TOP of my travel bucket list!!
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Oneika May 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

You should definitely go, especially if you’re a history buff!

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Dr. Reginia; the Social Mistress May 9, 2013 at 4:18 am

I am so pleased to have visited Cairo, Egypt last year. Being able to cruise down the Nile River and see the massive structures in Giza was amazing. I also enjoyed the Egyptian Museum, Coptic Christian Area, as well as the Citadel. However, Egypt did not capture me as I thought it would. I thought that would want to go back again and again but once was enough.

Great photos.
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Oneika May 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I kind of feel the same after visiting Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo. I doubt I’ll be back, but that gives me the chance to see some new places. :-)

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Roni Faida May 9, 2013 at 4:49 am

I was in awe of the temples I saw when I was in Egypt. And the fact that they were built before modern technology was simply amazing. I LOVED Egypt, I’m sorry it didn’t capture your heart but hey, that happens sometimes. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself and as always, your pictures are amazing.

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Oneika May 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Thanks! Even though I wasn’t feeling the social climate necessarily I was loving the scenery.

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Patti May 10, 2013 at 4:20 am

I am a retired teacher, taught 6th grade for several years – ancient civilizations and Egypt was always a big hit with the students. Visiting Egypt is on my bucket list, I’d love to see what I taught about all those years! Great photos!

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Oneika May 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

That’s so cool that you taught units on Egypt! What a treat it would be to go and see it with your own eyes!

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high school study abroad May 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

You have the best wonderful pictures on Egypt’s temple. I have seen other blogs that only focused on getting the outer part of Pyramid when they get to Egypt, yours shows what people can see as well in Egypt.

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Oneika May 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Thank you!

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TammyOnTheMove May 17, 2013 at 6:51 am

Could the athmosphere be affected by the Arab Spring and the current political unhappiness of many Egyptians perhaps? I have never been to Egypt, so don’t really know what it was like before, but I have many friends who say that some people have changed in light of what happened there recently. The photos do look stunning though. I love the look of Luxor!
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egydatytour.blogspot.com August 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

http://egydaytour.blogspot.com
Temples of Egypt

Writing an introduction to ancient Egypt temples is considerably more difficult then examining any specific structure for a number of different reasons. First, the word “temple” is misleading, and secondly, the term covers a wide variety of different structures that have evolved over a vast period of time that many people are struggling to understand just how this time period spans.

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Donna February 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I loved my time in Egypt. I went in 2002 with a friend, we both enjoyed our time in Luxor and hated the madness of Cairo.
I went again the next year. This time on my own. I went to Sharm el-sheikh, Aswan and Abu Simbel the second time. I felt so safe and relaxed in Aswan. I remember the Aswan museum was open until really late at night. I left the museum at 10pm and strolled back to my hotel.

I realise things must have changed dramatically with all that’s happened over the past few years.

Oneika looking at your photographs brought back so many memories….

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