Kom Ombo, Egypt
The Temple of Kom Ombo is a very unusual double temple that was first built during the time of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The temple still stands today and is found in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo near Aswan.
Kom Ombo has a population of about 60,000 people and is located in the region of Upper Egypt on the east bank of the Nile River. Kom Ombo is well known for its agriculture, including the production of irrigated sugar cane and corn.
The origins of Kom Ombo are mysterious, perhaps still buried for future generations to discover. Now, all we know about Kom Ombo we find in the famous Kom Ombo Temple.
The Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temple of Kom Ombo is situated high on banks above the river Nile. The temple has a double entrance; one side of the temple is devoted to Sobek, the crocodile God. Sobek was believed to be the god of fertility and a repairer of evil in the world. The other side of the temple is devoted to the falcon god Haroeris, otherwise called Horus the Elder. This side of the temple is so perfectly symmetrical along the main axis it’s quite unusual and astounding.
The History of the Temple
What is the history of the Kom Ombo Temple? We know that Ptolemy VI Philometor began construction of the temple at the beginning of his reign (from 180 to 145 BC), and was succeeded by other Ptolemys, including Ptolemy XIII, who were responsible for inner and outer hypostyle halls.
Unfortunately, some of the temple has been destroyed by natural occurrences throughout the centuries, including the Nile River and various earthquakes.
Additionally, some of the relics inside were actually defaced by members of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (which is the largest Christian church in Egypt) so they could use the structure for their own worship.
What to See Inside the Temple?
There are only a handful of pharaoh remains, but more to see of the crocodile mummies that were discovered in the vicinity.
The earthquake of 1992 destroyed much of the temple’s structure and artifacts, so the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities closed down the exhibit for some renovation work until 1995. Now tourists can enjoy a restored Kom Ombo Temple as well as some accompanying museums and galleries that have been erected in addition to the temple itself.
The Kom Ombo Temple was believed to have been a shrine for a “crocodile cult.” Sobek was perceived as an Egyptian God, but worship of him only seemed to take place in parts of Egypt where crocodiles were common. The Temple of Kom Ombo is a fascinating piece of history.