Dendara Temple

Dendara Temple – An Interesting Day Trip from Luxor, Egypt

From Luxor there are a couple day-trip options—one is to Edfu Temple which is about 71 miles south and the other is Dendara Temple which is about 37 miles north. It was a toss-up for us since both temples were built about the same time, but because Dendara was closer we decided to visit it.

A side view of Dendara Temple.

A side view of Dendara Temple.

We went “local” and took a train from Luxor to Qena, the closest town and train stop to Dendara. I think if we had tried to go by taxi the police might not have let us go, since Dendara is in a travel-restricted area, or they would have at least required a police convoy, thus limiting our flexibility on timing. However, we had no problem buying train tickets and we were the only Caucasians on the train – the first class section (such as it was) was almost empty.

My brother-in-law and I on the train to Qena.

My brother-in-law and I on the train to Qena.

The friendly locals helped us to be sure we didn’t miss our stop. From the tiny train station (I wish I had a picture – there was a pile of rubble in the middle of the “terminal”) we got a couple taxis to the temple site about 3 miles away.

The front of the Dendara Temple.

The front of the Dendara Temple.

The temple was begun at the end of the 30th dynasty, at the very end of Egypt’s Pharaonic period (about 300 BC) and construction continued into Roman times (Egypt became a Roman province in 30 BC).

The Temple of Isis, built by the Roman Emperor Augustus (30 BC - AD 14).

The Temple of Isis, built by the Roman Emperor Augustus (30 BC – AD 14).

The Roman Mammisi - another small temple on the site of Dendara.

The Roman Mammisi – another small temple on the site of Dendara.

Dendara was buried under the sand until the 19th century, and therefore is nearly intact from 2000 years ago. It is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the goddess of pleasure and love.

One of the great halls at Dendara Temple. As can be seen by the size of the people in the background, the temple is large.

One of the great halls at Dendara Temple. As can be seen by the size of the people in the background, the temple is large.

One of the chapels with intracately carved reliefs at Dendara.

One of the chapels with intracately carved reliefs at Dendara.

There are halls, storerooms, chapels and crypts. One of the things I enjoyed was crawling through the tight spaces in the crypt to get to some of the rooms underneath the main structure – this was a blast.

Robyn in a tight crawl space going down to the crypt.

Robyn in a tight crawl space going down to the crypt.

In the crypt at Dendara Temple - we were the only people down there.

In the crypt at Dendara Temple – we were the only people down there.

There were almost no tourists except for a few local school students.

A group of students taking a picture with my sister.

A group of students taking a picture with my sister.

There was a small visitor shop on the site, and a few people selling trinkets. My type of place – very quiet!