Going Back to the Land of the Nile
We’ve already mentioned that Egypt has an incredibly rich history with numerous fascinating sites to visit like the Colossi of Memnon or the Temple of Abu Simbel. Don’t get us wrong, the Sphin and the pyramids are great and all that, but there is so much more to see there. Today we shine the spotlight on another five interesting landmarks.
1. The Unfinished Obelisk
Like the name suggests, this obelisk was never finished. It was carved directly into the bedrock, but it was abandoned for some reason (most likely cracks in the granite). Because of this, this obelisk is found on its side with the bottom still attached to the bedrock. And that’s a shame because this is the largest obelisk in the world. If finished, it would have measured over 135 feet and would have weighed over 1,200 tons.
Every cloud’s got a silver lining, though. While the obelisk didn’t provide us with an imposing monument, its half-finished status has given us plenty of information regarding the ancient stone-working techniques of the Egyptians. And the place where it is located is interesting enough to be declared an archaeological site on its own. The obelisk is at the quarries of Aswan, a prime source of granite for ancient Egypt.
2. The Temple of Kom Ombo
This temple, built in the city of Kom Ombo, is about 2,000 years old which, by ancient Egyptian standards, is relatively young. However, it stands out through its unique double temple design. Most Egyptians temples are dedicated to one deity whereas this one is dedicated to two. The northern section of the temple is dedicated to falcon god Horus while the southern part is for worshipping Sobek, the crocodile god.
The temple has two sets of each room, one for Horus and one for Sobek. The sides are perfectly symmetrical along their main axis or, better said, they were originally built to be symmetrical. The temple has seen better days as earthquakes and the Nile have taken their toll on the 2,000-year old landmark. Still, the temple has given us plenty of interesting artifacts, including 300 mummified crocodiles made to appease Sobek.
3. The Boundary Stelae of Amarna
One of the most controversial periods of ancient Egyptian history was the reign of Akhenaten. He rejected the worship of the old gods and instituted a monotheistic religion worshipping the Sun God Aten. He even built a new city called Akhetaten dedicated to the sun god. The outer limits of the city were marked by stelae that outlined Akhenaten’s belief and worship of Aten.
Unfortunately, Akhenaten’s religious revolution didn’t go down too well with Egyptians and people reverted back to their old beliefs after the pharaoh’s death and tried to erase him from history. The city of Akhetaten in mostly ruins now, but the stelae that once surrounded it are still standing. 16 of them, anyway. Some are in worse shape than others, but they still provide us with a fascinating glimpse into the Egypt of 3,400 years ago.
4. The Statue of Meritamen
Ramesses the Great earned his moniker than to his exceedingly long reign between 1279 and 1213 BC. He reigned long enough to outlive his wives and to take their daughters as royal wives, too. That was the case with Meritamen. A daughter of Ramesses and his favorite wife Nefertari, she became his Great Royal Wife after her mother’s passing.
As a result of becoming the Queen consort, Meritamen is featured quite prominently among her father’s notable landmarks. She is featured on the temple at Abu Simbel and a striking limestone statue of her dubbed the White Queen had been recovered from the Ramesseum. However, her large statue at Akhmim is the best known representation of the queen.
5. Temple of Hathor at Dendera
The whole Dendera temple complex is notable for being very well-preserved, among the most intact archaeological sites in Egypt. It has numerous standing landmarks from the dynastic period, Roman period and even a few Christian sites.
The main attraction of the complex, as it where, is the temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor. Originally built sometime during the Ptolemaic period, the temple contains several additions made by the Romans and remains one of the best preserved temples around. Probably the most famous aspect of the temple is the relief of Cleopatra and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion.