Edfu was our first stop as we made our way south towards Aswan. Here was where we met our new guide. He spoke English better than our first guide, but overall was not much more competent then the first guide. The temple is located at some distance from the port, so row after row of caleche drivers (horse and carriage) line up to ferry the tourists to the temple.
The front of Edfu Temple on the Nile River
When Wendy wanted to take photos of the temple in the setting sun before she lost the light, guide#2 got upset “You give me your time first, then I give you my time”. In other words, I want to do my piece, say my spiel, then go off and have a coffee with my buddies in town while you wander around”. So, we lost our light and good photos because we were too Canadian about it and didn’t want to make a fuss.
We passed this school on our way back to the cruise ship.
The temple is very impressive and very well preserved. He did have lots of interesting stories to tell us – we’re not sure how many of them were accurate, but at least they were entertaining. Frequently, both our guide books disagreed with what he was saying – and we heard many other tour guides with different explanations for the same thing…
Kom Ombo Temple on the Nile River
The next stop was Kom Ombo. Kom Ombo is located on a bend in the river Nile about 50 km north of Aswan. The temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Haroeris (Horus the Elder). This temple is not in as good condition as Edfu, but it’s also very different and beautiful in its own way.
In some places the paint still endures, even after all these years! Detail of the temple wall, Kom Ombo, on the Nile River.
It’s a double temple built during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 B.C) at the beginning of his reign and added to by other Ptolemys, most notably Ptolemy XIII (47-44 B.C.), who built the inner and outer hypostyle halls. Sadly much of the temple has been destroyed by the Nile, earthquakes, and later builders who used the stones for other projects. Some of the reliefs inside were defaced by Copts who once used the temple as a church.
Detail of a frieze at Kom Ombo Temple on the Nile River
The big negative, however, is that everyone arrives to visit this temple at once, so it’s crawling with people – a photographer’s nightmare. I’m sure the cruise boats come and go in batches (according to the schedule of the locks), so visiting Kom Ombo from Aswan by bus, or on a felucca, would be a much better choice and would let you more truly enjoy it. In addition, since it’s only tour groups they’re moving as one big mass. As a couple, it was very difficult to maneuver around them. There are a couple of sights (the calendar, the medical instruments) that everyone must see, so it sort of forms a line up of tour groups to see the friezes.
Some where in all those boats is our cruise ship. The boats all seem to travel down the Nile on the same schedule, making for crowded sights and long waits at the locks.
Part of the explanation we got of the medical instruments was that one of the things we were looking at was a bag of ice on someone’s head. We thought he was joking at first, but actually he was completely serious. He just had no clue.