Sunday, October 08, 2023

Israel/Egypt/Jordan 2023 - Day #12 — Temple of Esna

Ancient Temple of Esna

Discover Greco-Roman Dedication to Egypt and its Gods

Visit Esna, once the ancient site of Latopolis, and explore its temple, primarily dedicated to the god Khnum.

A water god, Khnum was worshipped as the guardian of the source of the Nile and was said to have fashioned humankind from his potter’s wheel. The temple was thought to have been one of the latest temples built by the ancient Egyptians. See the well-preserved Hypostyle Hall, whose back wall is said to have been the facade of the old Ptolemaic temple. Admire the intricate carvings adorning towering columns and marvel at ancient wall paintings that still retain their original color. Witness the last known hieroglyphic inscriptions ever recorded, by the Roman Emperor Dios in 250 AD. Enjoy time to explore at your leisure before walking back to your ship.

Starting to feel better, I got a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, Gainsley started to have the same problem that I had. After doing some googling, he suggested that we may have picked up the bug in the pool?!?

The excursion for the morning was the Ensa Temple. In a twist, we didn't have to ride a bus to the site; it was about a quarter mile from where we were docked.

Construction of the temple began in the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–45 BC) and was completed during the Roman period. The temple is the best-preserved Ptolemaic temple in Egypt. Its hypostyle hall is one of the largest and most impressive in the country. The hall is supported by 24 massive columns, each of which is decorated with lotus and palm capitals.


After exploring the temple, we shopped in the bazaar for an Egyptian galabiya, a long, loose-fitting robe with wide sleeves. The ship is hosting an Egyptian dinner and was encouraging everyone to dress up. Additionally, we wanted customes to use for a future dinner party. I saw a side of Cindy that I have never seen before; she was a very hard bargainer with the vendors.

Back on the ship, there was a cocktail hour as the ship was sailing away from Esna.

After lunch, Sharon and I both slept for about an hour.

In the afternoon, we went to a scenic sailing talk about the Selsela Mountains. The mountains were quarried from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2034–1650 BC) until the 20th century. More than a hundred quarries were exploited to extract the sandstone blocks needed to construct many of ancient Egypt's famous temples, including the temples of Karnak, Luxor, Ramesses III's Medinet Habu, Kom Ombo, and the Ramesseum.

After the talk, we took a wheelhouse tour. I was shocked at how low tech their approach is. They don't use a depth finder; the pilot navigates the river on experience.

Getting dressed in our robes, we went to the port talk. Afterwards, we went to a Taste of Egypt dinner. Served family style, the main course was a medley of chicken, fish and pork chops. I would have loved to see a formal menu of the supporting dishes, but they didn't print a menu.

We finished night in the lounge watching a troop of Nubian performers.

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