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The Temple of Horus in Edfu (also known as the Temple of Edfu) is considered the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt. This partly because it was built later than most: in the Ptolemaic era from 237 to 57 BC. Yet despite its later date, it exactly reflects traditional pharaonic architecture and so provides an excellent idea of how all the temples once looked. Edfu is also very large: the second largest in Egypt after karnak temple The provincial town of Edfu is located about halfway between Luxor (115km away) and Aswan (105km) and 65km north of Kom Ombo. A very popular destination, Edfu is included in virtually all Egyptian tour itineraries and can be reached by taxi or by cruise on the Nile followed by a caleche ride. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt. After his death in 323, his successors ruled Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. This was the last dynasty of independent Egypt. The Ptolemies were Greeks but presented themselves to the Egyptians as native pharaohs and closely imitated the traditions and architecture of pharaonic Egypt. The Temple of Horus at Edfu was built during the Ptolemiac era on top of an earlier temple to Horus, which was oriented east-west instead of the current north-south configuration. The oldest part of the temple is the section from the Festival Hall to the Sanctuary; this was begun by Ptolemy III in 237 BC and completed by his son, Ptolemy IV Philopator. The Hypostyle Hall was added by Ptolemy VII (145-116 BC) and the pylon was erected by Ptolemy IX (88-81 BC). The final touches to the temple were added under Ptolemy XII in 57 BC. The falcon-headed Horus was originally the sky god, whose eyes were the sun and moon. He was later assimilated into the popular myth of Isis and Osiris as the divine couple's child. Raised by Isis and Hathor after Osiris' murder by his brother Seth, Horus avenged his father's death in a great battle at Edfu. Seth was exiled and Horus took the throne, Osiris reigning through him from the underworld. Thus all pharoahs claimed to be the incarnation of Horus, the "living king." The Temple of Edfu was abandoned after the Roman Empire became Christian and paganism was outlawed in 391 AD. It lay buried up to its lintels in sand, with homes built over the top, until it was excavated by Auguste Mariette in the 1860s. The sand protected the monument over the years, leaving it very well preserved today.
The Temple of Sobek and Haroeris in Kom Ombo (also known simply as Kom Ombo Temple) dates from about 180 BC during the Ptolemaic era, with additions made into Roman times. It stands right on the bank of the Nile between Edfu and Aswan, making it a convenient stop for river cruises. In ancient times, Kom Ombo stood on an important crossroads between the caravan route from Nubia and trails from the gold mines in the eastern desert. During the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 BC), it became a training depot for African war elephants, which were used to fight the fierce pachyderms of the Seleucid empire. The temple at Kom Ombo was also built at this time, under Ptolemy VI. Since this bend in the Nile was a favored spot for crocodiles to bask in the sun and threaten locals, it is natural that the temple would be dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. But it is unusual in having a double dedication: it also honors Haroeris, a form of the falcon-headed god Horus. The hypostyle halls were added under Ptolemy XIII (51-47 BC); the Roman emperor Trajan (53-117 AD) added the forecourt and outer enclosure walls. Today, Kom Ombo is home to many Nubians who were displaced from their ancestral homes by the rise of Lake Nasser caused by Aswan Dam. Tourism is not the only industry in Kom Ombo: sugar cane is harvested on the river banks and there are felucca-building yards here.