Temples & Treasures & Tombs
Updated: Mar 16
I have never been to so many temples and tombs in all my life! Actually, come to think of it, I don't think I've really ever been to any temples or tombs.
I would have to really think about that.
Yes... each one of the tombs and temples was incredibly majestic. Such fascinating history and mythology. More than anything, I admire the folks that spend their entire life studying Egyptology, because I can't imagine it's an easy topic. For me, after a while, each temple and tomb and pharaoh and painting and god and goddess all morph into each other and I find myself lost in the puzzle.
I tomb out.
It's a lot to take in. Especially when there's no concrete scripture... it's all in hieroglyphics!
Hieroglyphics is the oldest form of writing known, dating back before 3100 BC. Each image ties more of the ancient Egyptian culture, life and history together.
One single symbol could stand for a whole word or a full sentence.
Definitely not a simple unravelling...
Ahhhh... Egypt's oldest temple... and also a one-of-a-kind double temple, built for both Sobek and Haroeris.
Perhaps you're wondering just who the heck these two are?
Sobek was the crocodile god... with the body of a man and the head of a crocodile. Haroeris was the sky god and had the body of a man and the head of a falcon. He is also known as Horus, who was the son of Isis and Osiris.
Remember them? Isis was one who turned herself into the bird to fly over Egypt and pick up pieces of her husband, but couldn't find the 'zucchini.' Everything ties into each other somehow...
The structure of Komombo had two identical, yet independent sections, depending on who you were going there to worship. Haroeris had eyes that representing the sun and moon, so it made perfectly good sense why many would flock to worship him on a daily basis.
WHO in their right mind would go there to worship a crocodile-faced god? Not me.
Well, well, well... listen here!
Sobek, the crocodile god, had the same vicious reputation as the large and violent Nile crocodiles (when there used to be crocodiles in the Nile!) He was fierce and aggressive... BUT... he also could be benevolent, protective AND he was a god of fertility. The word Sobek could be derived from s-bAk, meaning "to impregnate." Crocodiles are known to be extremely attentive to their young, as Sobek was to the people of Egypt. When people came to worship Sobek, they often would bring mummified crocodile eggs.
Odd, but true.
Mummified crocodiles were also presented in a grand ritual display... and quite a few were even on display at Komombo Temple. Crocodiles were raised for religious reasons, as many believed they were living incarnations of Sobek.
Perhaps that's why the Nubain's keep them as pets... ??
The Temple of Horus at Edfu
This complex was actually buried under centuries of sand until the 19th century, when it was rediscovered & unearthed by French Egyptologist, Auguste Mariette. It is one of the most well-preserved sites in Egypt today, with much of its architecture still intact.
So... this was another temple dedicated to the God Horus, otherwise known as Haroeris, who is the sky god and has the body of a man and the head of a falcon. *see above at Komombo Temple!
Horus was the helper of Ra, who was the king of the deities and the father of all creation. Horus also symbolized ALL the powers of the Pharaoh during most of Egyptian history. After avenging the death of his father, he inherited the right to rule over the land and became one of the most important gods in Egypt. Ok... we're all up to speed now!
I really do get confused by the different spellings, but as far as I can figure out... same guy!
I could be wrong though.
Please consider that when reading this!
Don't go thinking I'm an Egyptologist or that I retained all this information from the tour.
Had to look it all up... again...
The Valley of the Kings
I felt badly for Mo when we got to the Valley of the Kings. He really tried to explain the logistics of the VOTK General Admission ticket in the most simplistic terms... for all 37 of us... but ended up failing miserably.
The Valley of the Kings has a General Admission ticket for a certain price.
This ticket allows you to wander around the area and enter a total of THREE tombs. There are 9 tombs in total, but only three of them are included in the ticket. The big, important ones like King Tut, Seti and Ramses 5 & 6 ~ you are required to purchase those separately and they cost a little extra.
Mo accompanied us on a brief walk through the entire Valley, pointing out each tomb, whether or not it was one of the included ones... and whether or not he recommended it as one we should visit. He also gave us the run down in regards to accessibility, steepness, claustrophobic chambers, humidity... etc. Such a great guide!
A man stood at the entrance to each tomb and hole-punched each ticket, indicating how many tombs we'd visited. There were more guys inside, for the mere reason of trying to convince you to let them take a photo for you. All for a buck!
In addition to the three included tombs, I paid the extra fee for Tutankhamun, which was only an additional 300 Egyptian pounds. I wasn't particularly interested in seeing a fully wrapped mummy, but I figured I couldn't leave Egypt without seeing King Tut. It would probably be the ONE question I would have asked.
Well, I saw him... in all his mummified glory. It was a little creepy, to be honest. I figured out I'm not really a mummy fan. People or crocodiles.
The three other tombs I decided to include with my general ticket were Ramses IV, Tawosret & Setnakht (together in one tomb) and Ramses I.
The Valley of the Kings is a valley of rock-cut tombs that were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of Egypt's New Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom, the Pyramids of Giza (among other places) were the tombs for pharaohs. I thought all the tombs had been discovered, but Ramses VIII is still somewhere out there! I had a good look for it while I was wandering around, but nothing came up.
Crap... oh well.
The tombs were pretty impressive. The wall decoration stories and the colours were almost as vibrant as the day they'd painted them. Turns out that all the 'old paintings on the tomb DON'T do the sand dance'... don't you know? 🎶
The Egyptians also painted spells from the Book of the Dead around each tomb, to apparently help the deceased navigate the passage through the underworld and into the afterlife. Tombs were also filled with certain things to help them on this journey, but as many of the tombs had been looted by grave robbers over the years, there was absolutely nothing left. All the rooms sat empty, where their gold, trinkets and treasures once were. Tutankhamun's tomb was the only tomb ever found intact, so archaeologists have only that to go off of!
A Sarcophagus ~ Ancient Egyptians were mummified when they died and the body preserved then wrapped up in linen. Pharaohs were mummified with amulets and jewels inside the linen wrappings and then buried in lots of coffins inside coffins to protect the body. Tutankhamen’s body was put inside a solid gold coffin with a gold death mask that showed the boy king’s face. This coffin was placed inside two elaborately painted wooden coffins, which fitted inside each other. Then it was placed inside a red quartz sarcophagus, to keep them safe. This was placed inside four gold shrines, each one bigger than the last.
Four canopic jars ~ When ancient Egyptians were mummified, their organs were removed. The liver, intestines, lungs and stomach were placed inside special containers, called canopic jars. Each jar had the head of a god to protect what was inside. The heart was left inside the body, because Egyptians believed it would be weighed in the afterlife to see if you had led a good life.
Food ~ The journey to the afterlife was long, so Egyptians were buried with food, water and wine to help them on their travels.
Clothing & Jewellery ~ Beautiful jewellery and clothes were buried with a Pharaoh so they could travel in style to the afterlife.
Boats & Chariots ~ Some Pharaohs were buried with boats. Tutankhamun was buried with eleven boat paddles, but no boat. There were also three chariots and around 130 walking sticks made from ebony, ivory, silver and gold, so he could ride or walk in to the afterlife.
Oils & Ointments ~ Pharaohs were buried with their favourite perfumes and oils, made from the most expensive materials.
Weapons ~ Lots of weapons to protect the Pharaoh on the dangerous journey into the afterlife. Some were just for show, some for battle and some for hunting.
Games ~ Games so that the Pharaoh doesn't get bored on the journey to the afterlife.
Pretty cool, eh?
As I mentioned before... I didn't retain this information at all. I had to look it up... and thank God I did, because I feel I've learnt a little bit more in doing so.