Horus was considered the initiator god of Egyptian civilization, the celestial god, god of royalty in the sky, of hunting and war. Son of Isis and Osiris, represented with a human body and a falcon’s head, he is one of the most important in the pantheon of the ancient Egyptians, not only because of his lineage or his mythology, but also because each pharaoh when he assumed power was conceived as the carnal representation of Horus on earth. It is therefore not surprising that the Temple of Edfuone of the largest in Egypt, was erected in his honor.


The Edfu Temple is the second largest temple in Egypt today after the Temple of Karnak, and one of the best preserved in the country. Its architectural testimony gives us many inscriptions with fundamental information about life and religion in the years of the pharaohs.

It was built during the Ptolemaic period between 237 BC and 57 BC, after the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, invaded Egypt in 323 BC. It has a length of 137 meters and a height of 37 meters in an imposing entrance (one of the best preserved facades of ancient Egypt), where you can see the image of Ptolemy XII beating his enemies under the watchful eye of the god Horus.

The first room after the entrance is the hipetra room, surrounded by columns and with walls decorated with aesthetic reliefs. Some of these inscriptions narrate mythological stories about Horus and Isis and about the murder of Osiris at the hands of his brother Seth. The goddess Hathor can also be seen sailing in a boat from the temple of Dendera, and Horus in another from the Temple of Edfu, meeting halfway.

In the first hypostyle hall is the statue of the god Horus wearing the traditional double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt and is highlighted by twelve decorated columns and rooms for the library, offerings and rituals of the priest. In the second hypostyle room, there are reliefs on astronomy and different representations of the sky.

In the central room of the temple, there is an offering table and the ceremonial boat in which Horus sailed during the festivals is carved in granite. There are also reliefs of Ptolemy IV making different offerings and worshiping the gods.

When in 391 A.D. any kind of non-Christian worship was forbidden, the Temple of Edfu was vandalized by Christians. A good part of its reliefs were smashed, most of the roof was burned, and other outrages were committed in order to erase any trace of the Egyptian religion. Fortunately, however, the temple has survived quite well to the present day, mainly thanks to the fact that it was buried for many centuries under more than 12 meters of desert sand.

It is believed that inside the Temple of Edfu there was a laboratory where they experimented with different formulas for the creation of ointments and essences that were later used by the French to inspire their famous perfumes. In fact, French archaeologists were the first to carry out the work of unearthing the temple in 1860, thanks to the expedition of Auguste Mariette, after a previous French expedition had documented the existence of the temple in 1798, when the highest parts of the pylons protruded from the sandbanks.

Today it is one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. In 2005, a visitor information office was added at the entrance of the temple and, the following year, an advanced lighting system was installed for night visits.

How to get to Edfu Temple

Located 135 km north of Aswan, the visit to the Temple of Edfu is usually done in conjunction with the visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo and is part of the Nile cruise package. In case you are not interested in taking the cruise, you can also hire a separate excursion departing from Luxor or Aswan.


The schedule for entering the Temple of Edfu varies according to the time of the year. In summer, it is usually open every day from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, while in winter the hours are reduced from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm. In any case, before your trip we recommend you to check it on the internet in case there are any changes. There is also the possibility of night visits.

Visit prices

The general entrance fee to Edfu Temple is 60 EGP (Egyptian pounds) for everyone, adults and students. This price does not include the guide service, which we recommend you hire to better enjoy the visit.

The bus excursion from Luxor, including lunch and visit to the Temple of Kom Ombo, costs between 75 and 85 €, while the price of the excursion in the same mode from Aswan ranges between 80 and 90 €.

Photos of the Edfu Temple

Other articles that may interest you...

Kom Ombo Temple

Located on the banks of the Nile and in the city of Kom Ombo, it is a temple whose appearance

Temple of Karnak

The Temple of Karnak is the most imposing of all those preserved in Egypt from the years of the Ancient