The Temple of Esna is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city of Esna, and it is the only remaining temple of four temples that were located in Esna, three of them in the northwest of Esna in (Asfoun – Kom al-Deir – west of Esna) and the fourth was located in the east of Esna (Hilla).
1830 Another temple was discovered in Kumir, about 10 km southwest of Esna. However, these temples have disappeared since the last century, and only evidence of them remains.
The discovery of the Temple of Esna and its cleaning of the rubble dates back to 1843 AD, i.e. at the end of the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha. This date is preceded by the visit of the French scientist (Champollion) to him in 1828 AD, who stated that he saw inscriptions bearing the name of King Thutmose in this temple.
It is believed that the current temple was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that dates back to the eighteenth dynasty, where inscriptions bearing the name of King Tuthmosis in 1468 – 1436 BC were found, in whose name the city of Esna was mentioned during his reign.
An archaeological research that has not yet been published mentions that the Temple of Esna dates back to the Middle Kingdom, the Twelfth Dynasty, 1991-1778 BC. As for the current temple, its construction began during the reign of the Ptolemaic King Ptolemy, nicknamed Philometor, meaning the lover of his mother.
In the Roman era, a legends hall was added to it, dating back to the era of the Roman Emperor (Claudius) 40 AD. The hall was decorated in the era of Physian, Trajan and Hadria, and its last inscriptions date back to the reign of Emperor Decius around the year 249-250 AD on the western wall of the temple, meaning that this temple continued to be built and decorated during 400 years at separate intervals between 181 BC – AD 250
The Esna Temple is located on the western bank of the Nile, approximately 100 m from the Nile, and perpendicular to it on one axis.
This temple was dedicated to the worship of the god Khnum with each of his wife Menhit-Nibut. As for the god Khnum, he represented a ram’s head and a human body and is known as the Fakhrani god or the creator of humans from clay and in the name of Khnum Ra, the master of Esna
As for the gods, they were represented by the head of a female lion, above which the sun disk and the body of a female were likened to the gods Sekhmet for this power.
As for the goddess Nibut, the second wife of Khnum, and her name means the lady of the countryside, she was represented in a human form in the form of a woman whose head is topped by the sun disk between two horns, and here she is similar to the goddess Isis in her form.
The Temple of Esna is a rectangular hall with a facade of an architectural style specific to the architecture of ancient Egyptian temples in the Greek and Roman eras. Its ceiling bears 24 cylinders, a height of 13 m, and is decorated with reliefs with various vegetal capitals.
This hall (hall) is considered one of the most beautiful pillared halls in Egypt in general in terms of the similarity of proportions and the method of carving the capitals of its columns and their survival in a good state of preservation. And external into logs or rows four each
Record an integrated view by itself and represent the views of the temple in general
The Ptolemaic kings in the western wall and the Roman emperors in pharaonic bodies presenting gifts, offerings and sacred flowers to the goddess of the temple (Khnum – Menhit – Nebot) and other deities such as (Min – Sobek – Rocks – Isis).
The interior views of the temple are mostly related to religion and belief in that period and consist of religious books and texts about the creation of the world and the continuity of life, in addition to supplications, religious hymns, the feasts of the god Khnum, astronomical scenes, scenes of the establishment of the temple, and magical scenes representing hunting and killing evil spirits and defeating enemies.
The temple begins with a façade of an architectural style popular in the late ages known as the connecting columns or the half-walls. The southern part of the façade is sweetened with scenes representing the exit of Emperor (Titus) in a pharaonic form from his palace, bearing four divine symbols of the god “Khnum – Thoth – Horus – Anubis” the god of mummification Then followed by a scene representing the process of purification of the emperor by the gods Horus – Thoth with purification utensils HST and signs of life before the god Khnum, then a view of the north and south divine leadership of the emperor into the temple and the northern side represents scenes of the emperor’s coronation. Interior views
The temple includes many scenes, but the most important of them are:
On the western façade (the entrance to the ancient temple), we find in the top a main view representing the god Khnum with a ram’s head and a human body in divine attire inside the sun disk, Mr. Asna. This view means that the god Khnum is protected by the god Ra