Temple of Kom Ombo

The temple of Kom Ombo is about 48 km (30 miles) north of Aswan and was built during the Graeco-Roman period (332 BC AD 395). There was an earlier structure from the 18th dynasty but little remains.

The crocodile headed god, Sobek
The crocodile headed god, Sobek

Surrounded by fields of sugarcane and corn, Kom Ombo is a pleasant agriculture town that now hosts many Nubians that were displaced after when the water of the Nile flooded their hometowns after the construction of the Nasser Lake

 

The Name of Kom Ombo

The word “Kom” in Arabic means pile and the word “Ombo“, in the Hieroglyphic ancient Egyptian language means the gold. Therefore, the word Kom Ombo, means Pile of gold.

The temple of Kom Ombo is unique because it is in fact a double temple, dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god, and Horus the falcon-headed god. The layout combines two temples in one with each side having its own gateways and chapels.

Sobek the crocodile and Horus the falcon
Sobek the crocodile and Horus the falcon

As a place of tow temples the complex mainly consists of two parallel temples with all the traditional components of such ancient Egyptian religious structures are present in the two temples.

The Temple of Kom Ombo was constructed mainly with limestone in the shape of a rectangle, with a plan and a design which is quite similar to many temples constructed in the Greco Roman period like the Temples of Dendara and Philae which are considered among the most important monuments in Upper Egypt.

 

Sobek’s chief sanctuary was at Kom Ombo, where there were once huge numbers of crocodiles. Until recent times the Egyptian Nile was infested with these aggressive animals, who would lay on the riverbank and attack animals and humans alike. So it is not surprising that the local inhabitants went in fear. That’s why they made the Egyptian crocodile a god, called him god Sobek, thinking that this way they are getting rid of his evil. Captive crocodiles were kept within the temple and many mummified crocodiles have been found in cemeteries, some of which can be seen in the temple sanctuary today.

 

All the scenes inside the tow temples, show king Ptolemy offering the offerings or chanting the prayers in front of Sobek the crocodile god or Horus the falcon.

 

The Nilometer

In the North Western section of the complex of the Temple of Kom Ombo, there is a circular shaped well that was used as a Nilometer, the tool that the ancient Egyptians used to measure the level of the water of the River Nile.

 

Kom Ombo Temple Medical Instruments

On the inner side, of the back wall of the Temple, is a very remarkable scene! It shows the first illustration of medical and surgery tools, which are being presented to a seated God. Here you will find depictions of: scalpels, suction caps, bone saws, and dental tools; 2000 year old depictions!

The Ancient Medical Instruments
The ancient medical instruments

 

 

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