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Ancient Egyptian Temples

There are two types of temples which were built in Ancient Egypt. The first, Cultus Temples, were dedicated to the worship of a specific god of Egypt. An example of the Cultus Temple is the Temple of Horus at Edfu or Temple of Isis at Aswan. The second type, Mortuary temples, were built to honor a deceased pharaoh and often worship them as a god. An example of the Mortuary temple is the Temple of Ramesse II at Thebes.


Temples in Egypt were a reflection of the Egyptians mythology of the "Island of Creation." The pillars were often shaped in the designs of palms, papyrus, and lotus which were plants believed to be on the island. All major creation myths put the origins at the "Island of Creation" and the religion emphasis on the idea of trying to return to that time.


Lotus Columns Palm Columns
Lotus Column Palm Column


At the Cultus temples, there were two types of ceremonies to the gods. The first was a daily ceremony of giving offerings and providing for the needs of the gods. The offering was usually performed by the priest in the sanctuary of the temple. Ordinary people, it is believed, were not allowed into the sanctuary of the temple and would have to stay outside. The second type of ceremonies were special festivals. These would happen at different times of the year. It was at those times that ordinary Egyptians could participate to a degree in the worship of the god.


The Egyptians placed a very high value on the temples in Egypt. The people looked to the pharaoh and the priest to intercede on their behalf to the gods. The temple was believed to be the physical location where the Egyptian could connect with the gods.



Gods and Goddesses | Mummification | Creation Myths
Role of Priest | Temples | Cult of Aten | Bibliography
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