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Outer Hypostyle Hall - Kom Ombo Temple
Kom Ombo Temple - Table of Contents

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

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Spitting cobras

Outer Hypostyle Hall

Papyrus and lotus plants

Cavetto cornice



Broken column

Detail - Broken column

Detail - Broken column

Solar disk flanked by 2 cobras and outspread wings

Right wall

Right wall

Left wall

Left wall

The Temple of Kom Ombo stands on the east bank of the Nile, right next to the river, about 4Km from the town. It was dedicated to two Gods, Horus and Sobek

The Temple known as Kom Ombo is actually two temples consisting of a Temple to Sobek and a Temple of Haroeris.  In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank near here. The Temple has scant remains, due first to the changing Nile, then the Copts who once used it as a church, and finally by builders who used the stones for new buildings.

Everything is duplicated along the main axis.  There are two entrances, two courts, two colonades, two hypostyle halls and two sanctuaries.  There were probably even two sets of priests. The left, or northern side is dedicated to Haroeris (sometimes called Harer, Horus the Elder) who was the falcon headed sky god and the right to Sobek (the corcodile headed god).  The two gods are accompanied by their families.

- Tour Egypt: The Temple of Kom-Ombo 1/2010

The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo. Some additions to it were later made during the Roman period.

The building is unique because its "double" design meant that there were courts, halls, sanctuaries and rooms duplicated for two sets of gods.

The northern part [left side] of the temple was dedicated to ...
Horus the Elder...The southern half [right sise] of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world with Hathor and Khonsu.


The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis.

The temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 BC) at the beginning of his reign and added to by other Ptolemys, most notably Ptolemy XIII (47-44 BC), who built the inner and outer hypostyle halls...

Much of the temple has been destroyed by the Nile, earthquakes, and later builders who used its stones for other projects. Some of the reliefs inside were defaced by Copts who once used the temple as a church.

- Wilipedia: Temple of Kom Ombo 1/2010

Like other Egyptian temples, Kom Ombo had a great pylon, but this was washed away by the Nile long ago. Most of the forecourt is gone as well, with only low walls and stumps of pillars remaining.

The main sight at Kom Ombo is the beautiful Outer Hypostyle Hall, - illustrated above - with 15 thick columns topped with floral capitals and a cornice decorated with carved winged sun-discs (Uraei).

The bases of the columns bear the heraldic lily of Upper Egypt (lotus) and the papyrus symbol of the Nile Delta. Significant portions of the roof remain, which are decorated with flying vultures (Wadjet) and astronomical imagery.

- Sacred Destinations: Temple of Sobek and Haroeris, Kom Ombo 1/2010

Sobek is associated with the wicked god Seth, the enemy of Horus. In the Horus myth the allies of Seth made their escape by changing themselves into crocodiles.

SobekÝs chief sanctuary was at Kom Ombo, where there were once huge numbers of crocodiles. Until recent times the Egyptian Nile was infested with these ferocious animals, who would lay on the riverbank and devour animals and humans alike. So it is not surprising that the local inhabitants went in fear.

They believed that as a totem animal, and object of worship, it would not attack them. 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.

- Mark Millmore, The Graeco Roman Temple at Kom Ombo 1/2010

Photos and their arrangement © 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
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