Dendera temple is around 37 miles (60 km) north of Luxor. It is dedicated to goddess Hathor, goddess of love, playing, dance and music back in ancient Egypt.
This temple is a Greco Roman temple built up on ruins of an ancient Egyptian one. You should visit this temple as it’s very well preserved, It’s ceiling is still intact decorated with Egyptian zodiac signs, mythical creatures of the after life, it’s the only temple you can go up top to it’s roof and down under the ground to it’s crypts!
Dendera temple covers some 40,000 square meters; it dates back to 237 BC and more than a pharaoh kept adding to the temple King Ptolemy III, IV, VI and the most popular depictions inside the temple represent Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar and their son Caesarion (Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar).
Hathor has three shapes:
1-A complete cow.
2-A lady with two ears of cow .
3-A lady with two horns between them the sun disk.
They picked the cow to be the emblem of goddess Hathor because the cow was a good animal never harm anyone and this goddess was beloved by everyone that’s why they gave her this shape.
-The facade of Dendera temple is decorated by few columns with the emblem of goddess Hathor in a form of a lady with two ears of cow (called Hathoric columns).
-Crossing the façade you will find yourself at the hall of columns of the temple, these columns are decorated with the head of goddess Hathor as well(same like the façade). The ceiling of this hall of columns is amazing divided into 7 bands, decorated with few scenes of the journey to the paradise of god Osiris. Full of mythical creatures that would disturb the journey of the dead person reaching the paradise; magical spells all the way around to protect the dead person, the eye of Horus to light the path during the night.
-The last band is decorated with the Egyptian zodiac, showing all of our zodiacs we are using now a days and some extinct ones that we are no more using.
-The walls of the second hall of columns of Dendera temple are decorated with some traditional scenes of King Ptolemy offering the offering to Hathor or her husband Horus the falcon headed god and showing the foundation of the temple.
-The holly of the hollies lies at the end of the temple, surrounded by a corridor that has few store rooms and the crypts of the temple.
-To the right before reaching the sanctuary, there are stairs lead up top to the roof of the temple, where the ancient Egyptians celebrated the new year eve showing the unification between Hathor and Ra the sun god and there are 2 chapels having few depictions of the Egyptian zodiacs inside a big circle that’s why it’s ceiling is called the circular Egyptian zodiac ceiling referring to this.
-The back wall of the temple is decorated with a huge scene shows Cleopatra VII who charmed Julius Caesar when he visited Egypt in 48 BC, having herself delivered to him in a rug and doing a Nile cruise reaching Dendera temple. So when they reached there they went off to pray and added these scenes which show Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar and Caesarion.