Essential Architecture-  Egypt

Temple of Kom Ombo




Egypt, on the banks of the Nile some 20 miles north of Aswan


-181 to 30.


Ancient Egyptian




Kom Ombo temple is situated on the banks of the Nile some 20 miles north of Aswan, and is unusual in that it is dedicated to two gods, Horus & Sobek. Sobek was the crocodile god of Nile fertility, and the bend of the river here was once home to a large number of Nile crocodiles, which were held to be sacred. Indeed, there is a small collection of mummified crocodiles in the small chapel of Hathor within the temple. The live crocodiles have long since gone, thankfully! The temple has two of everything, to accommodate the two gods, and among the reliefs on the walls - mainly from the time of Ptolemy XII - are detailed a set of medical instruments.

Also visible here are well-preserved bases of previously full-height walls, allowing you to see how the Egyptians got the stone blocks to butt up so close with the use of wooden inserts and water. (No, I'm not telling - go see for yourself!)

While we were there, restoration work was going on at this temple, as is the case all over Egypt. The problem is that Egypt has so many great edifices, and the money required to restore and save these historic artifacts is huge and time is a commodity in short supply, due to the effects of the High Dam.


The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the rule Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo. One side of the temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world. The other side is dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder.

The temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 B.C) at the beginning of his reign and added to by other Ptolemys, most notably Ptolemy XIII (47-44 B.C.), who built the inner and outer hypostyle halls.

Much of the temple has been destroyed by the Nile, earthquakes, and later builders who used the stones for other projects. Some of the reliefs inside were defaced by Copts who once used the temple as a church.

A few of the three-hundred crocodile mummies discovered in the vicinity are displayed inside the temple.