Saturday, 2 February 2013

Kom Ombo: Temple of Sobek

Fierce protector god, Sobek
Thursday 24 January: Today I queue for a 1st class train ticket (E£13) to the small town of Kom Ombo, 25 miles north of Aswan. From the sleepy station a private taxi (E£20) drops me off at the small but unique Nileside temple, 3 miles east of town, the driver is happy. 
Of similar age to the Temple of Isis at Philae, many of the reliefs were completed by Ptolemy XII (Cleopatra VII's father) during the Ptolemaic (33rd) Dynasty, about 2,300 years ago. However, the fierce crocodile-headed god, Sobek, had been worshipped here at his cult centre since predynastic times when sacred crocodiles would have basked in the sun on the riverbank.
What makes the temple architecturally unique is that it was actually two temples, one each side of central axis. Falcon-headed sky god, Haroeris, was worshipped on the left side and Sobek on the right. Behind the temple a new museum showcases thirty mummified crocodiles, a few of many exhumed from sacred tombs in this area.
Negotiating a taxi back to the station (E£10) I jump on the next, 3rd class (94th mode of transport), train south and, as tourists aren't allowed on some trains, I pay on the train. It's E£2 (about 20p) for the for the reasonably comfortable, but slow, one-hour journey back to Aswan. Good day out.
Slideshow of Kom Ombo Temple.

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