The River Nile is the main artery of Egypt and irrigates land that would otherwise be inhospitable desert. The Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing from the mountains of East Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, a course of over 4,000 miles. For modern travellers a Nile cruise is an essential part of a visit to Egypt. To see and experience the country properly you must make a river journey, and in doing so you will be taking part in an activity that has been part of Egypt’s tradition for thousands of years. A Nile river cruise is by far the best way to visit the temples and other antiquities of Egypt as the most significant of them were built on the banks of the river. Pack Your Bag wants to show you some of the most beautiful Egyptian Temples you can see along the Nile River.
1.- Luxor Temple
The Luxor Temple was founded in 1400 BCE and like other Egyptian structures of the time, it used the common design techniques of symbolism. Thousands of symbols and hieroglyphs decorate the columns and the walls of the temple. Inside the temple also you will find several sculptures of stone that symbolize the life of the ancient gods and Pharaohs. The main gate of the temple is guarded by a big obelisk, there should have been two obelisk but the second one is in Paris, in the Plaza of the Concord. Hundreds of sphinxes decorate the path between Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple.
2.- Karnak Temple
The Karnak Temple Complex comprises a mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. It is considered to be the largest ancient religious site in the world, and once you’re there, you can truly believe it is. Approximately thirty Pharaohs contributed to the buildings, allowing it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not found elsewhere in Egypt. The most famous aspect of Karnak is the oversized Hypostyle Hall. It is the largest hypo-style hall in the world, containing 134 massive columns in the shape of open and closed papyrus flowers. This is considered an engineering marvel, as it is believed that the weight of the columns is capable of sinking the entire hypo-style hall under the desert soil. But still to this day, they all stand.
3.- Edfu Temple
Edfu Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple situated on a mound on the west bank of Nile River in the city of Edfu, in between Luxor and Aswan. The temple was dedicated to Horus, the falcon headed god. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the temple was built on the site where the great battle between the Gods Horus and Seth took place.The temple’s main building includes a great Hypostyle Hall where many bas-relief such depictions of the annual reunion of Horus and his wife Hathor can be found inside.
4.- Kom Ombo Temple
In the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo, sits the wonderful Ptolemaic temple located close to the banks of the Nile. The temple is unusual in that it is a temple with a double dedication for two gods that are worshipped there. The Southern side is dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile headed man and the god of fertility. The Northern is devoted to the falcon god Horus. The ancient Egyptians believed that the god would send physical indication of themselves to earth in the form of their familial animal and so at the temple of Kom Ombo, a live crocodile would contain part of Sobek. The crocodile would be cared for throughout its life by priests, and when it died, its spirit would move onto the next crocodile, while the first was mummified and ceremoniously buried. The museum has 20 mummified crocodiles, lying on sand to depict how they lay on the banks of the Nile as well as a large collection of eggs and crocodile related artefacts. The best time to visit this temple is just before the sunset as the sky becomes so colorful and you might enjoy one of the best sunsets in Egypt.
5.- Philae Temple
Located in Aswan, the last stage of the cruise along the Nile River, the Philae Temple is one of the most beautiful places for relaxation and sightseeing. On a little island among other ones, Philae island owns the last sacred temples of Ancient Egyptian architecture wealth where Pharaohs, Greco-romans and Christians left behind traces the walls of this temple. Philae Temple hosts the cult of goddess Isis, Osiris and Horus and the only transportation you can get to visit Philae Temple is sailing on small boats to the island, which is one of the greatest rides you’ll ever get through the mirage nature of small islands and monuments. Its a great sightseeing experience where you can look into ancient history and enjoy simple nature surrounding those monuments.
I you are thinking to visit Egypt this year, keep in mind to do one of the cruises along the Nile River; it is a great experience and the landscape from the cruise is absolutely stunning.