Photos of the Temple of Hathor

Temple of Hathor
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Location of the Temple of Hathor
Map of the Temple of Hathor

Aerial View of the Temple of Hathor

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Quick Facts on the Temple of Hathor

Short URL
Dendera Temple of Hathor Temple of Hathor at Dendera Temple of Hathor, Dendera
Dendera, Upper Egypt
Dendera  locality
Al Minya  county
Upper Egypt  state
Egypt  country
Africa  continent
Main date(s)
30 BCE-14 CE
26.165713° N, 32.656458° E

Description of the Temple of Hathor

The Temple of Hathor is boxy in shape and surrounded by a portico with thick columns and walls about half as tall as the roof. There are many reliefs of figures and rituals on the exterior of the temple, including pharaohs, Egyptian deities, and Roman emperors.

Inside, the most fascinating sight is the roof chapel dedicated to Osiris, which contains a sundial and circular zodiac. The zodiac, a replica of the original that is now in the Louvre, consists of two superimposed constellations. One is centered on the geographical north pole, the other on the true north pole. An axis passes through Pisces, confirming what we know from archaeological evidence: it was built in the age of Pisces, just over 2,000 years ago.

Interestingly, two hieroglyphs on the edge of the zodiac seem to indicate that another axis passed through the beginning of the age of Taurus (about 4,000 BC; a thousand years before dynastic Egypt). This may be a clue to the great age of the first temple that stood here.

Holly Hayes
October 8, 2011

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