Travel to Kom Ombo – Temple of the Mummified Crocodiles
South of Edfu lies one of the country’s smaller yet intriguing temples, unusually one dedicated to the crocodile-headed god, Sobek and Haroeris, the falcon-headed deity. It sits on a bend in the river where, not long ago, crocodiles used to bask – apt given one of the ruling gods and perhaps no co-incidence. Inside there are fine reliefs and contained within the Chapel of Hathor, mummified crocodiles.
The temple at Kom Ombo dates from Ptolemaic times, being completed by Ptolemy XII around 50BCE. It is located on a bend in the Nile where crocodiles basked until the building of the Aswan Dam and this may well have prompted the Ptolemies to ensure it was at least in part dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile–headed god.
Entry to the temple is through a double gate to the right of which can be seen the Hathor Shrine and the famous mummified crocodiles. Walking past the double altar the walls are covered with reliefs, one side with those depicting Haroeris, the other Sobek, echoing the twin nature of the temple.
There are two halls here at Kom Ombo, first an outer then an inner Hypostyle Hall. After several more chambers you come to two separate sanctuaries, one for each god. The small size of the temple makes it one of the most popular, not just because of its beautiful Nile-side location, nor for the fine reliefs to be found inside, but for those mummified crocs which kids in particular love.
A visit from Aswan will take a half day, however most people visit as part of a Nile felucca sail trip or on a cruise between Luxor and Aswan, in which case allow around 45minutes to see the temple.
Buy a cold drink from a vendor and find a shady spot by the river to admire the temple.
Kom Ombo is some 45km north of Aswan and can be visited from there on a day trip travelling either in a privately hired vehicle or by taxi as part of a security convoy. Some trains stop at Kom Ombo however it is unlikely you will be sold a ticket as the police are worried about security.
- Enjoy the Nile-side setting of the temple
- Notice the dual nature of the reliefs, with Sobek and Haroeris both represented
- Don’t miss the mummified crocs in the Hathor Shrine