Dendara is a little town on the west bank of the River Nile about 5 km south of Qina. The Dendara Temple complex, which contains the Temple of Hathor (with intact roof) is one of the best, if not the best-preserved temple in all of Egypt. The entire complex covers some 40,000 square metres and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. The present building dates back to the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was completed by the Roman emperor Tiberius, though it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu who was the pyramid builder of Cheops and second king of the 4th dynasty (c. 2613–c. 2494 BC).
Dendara was a site for chapels or shrines from the beginning of history of ancient Egypt. It seems that pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2250 BC) built on this site and evidence exists of a temple in the 18th dynasty (ca 1500 BC). The earliest extant building in the compound today is the Mammisi raised by Nectanebo II, who was the last of the native pharaohs (360-343 BC).
The features in the complex include Hathor temple (the main temple), Temple of the birth of Isis, Sacred Lake, Sanatorium, Mammisi of Nectanebo II Christian Basilica, Roman Mammisi, Gateways of Domitian and Trajan plus a Roman Kiosk. As a result of the site’s illustrious history, it does show us how Egypt’s Greek and Roman rulers identified themselves with the pharaohs and deities of ancient Egypt by copying their temples, rituals and iconography.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Dendera Temples, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Egypt
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