The Temples OfKaranis
The province of El-Fayoum is located about 70km southwest of Cairo and is easily found on the map because of the large lake (Lake Qaroun), which is close by. This region contains many interesting archaeological sites, such as the old City of El-Fayoum (Crocodopolis). It is in a natural depression in the desert, linked to the River Nile by a branch called "Bahr Yousuf," whose name was probably derived from the ancient Egyptian Word "Baym," which means "sea" or "lake." It contains a lake that the Ancient Egyptians knew as "Mr-Wr," which means "the great sea," and in Greek, it became "Moris." Today, in Arabic, it is called "Qaroun Lake".
The word Baym was the origin of the word El-Fayoum. In Ancient Egypt, it was called "shedt," and it was a great city during the Middle Kingdom.
Hawara Pyramid is considered one of the province's most critical sites. It was the pyramid of King Amenemhat III, who ruled during the Middle Kingdom, but unfortunately, nothing is left of his vast and fabulous mortuary temple.
One of the other most famous areas in El-Fayoum is Kom Mady (Narmouthis); this is because of the remains of the old Temple, which dates back to the XII Dynasty and was dedicated to the God Sobek, the Goddess Isis, and the Goddess Renen-Wetet. Several historical and archaeological sites are scattered in different locations throughout this province, such as Kom Oushim (Kranis), Um Al Athl (Bachias), Batn Ahryt (Theadelphia), Philadelphia, Qasr, Qaroun (Dionysius), and others.
Today, the Oasis, with its lakes and sanctuaries, pristine desert areas (which include amazing fossils), various cultural sites, plus rural quietude, forms a lovely and unique place of adventure and beautiful scenery.
Karanis (Kom Oushim):
Karanis (Kom Oushim) is situated 30 km north of El-Fayoum in Egypt. It contains two Temples in the north and another in the south, dating back to the Ptolemaic Period, as well as some cisterns, public baths, houses, etc. The Kelsey Museum houses more than 45,000 objects from Karanis, but this prominent figure only includes some of the finds. The University of Michigan, between 1924 and 1935, excavated this Greco-Roman site, dividing the artifacts with The Egyptian Government when the excavations were finished. A modern museum exhibits some of the finds next to the two Temples.
The design of the temples is similar to the plan of all the Ancient Egyptian Temples of the New Kingdom with the same elements; the only difference is that the two Temples of Karanis contain offering tables (Altars) and burials for the mummies of the crocodile, which was the sacred animal symbolizing the God Sobek. Each Temple consists of a tower, three small halls, and then the sanctuary. To the western side, at the front of the Temple, there is an aquarium dedicated to the crocodiles' followers. They were constructed during the reign of Emperor Nero but restored during the reign of the Emperor Commodes. Like the southern Temple, the northern one was consecrated for the cult of Sobek but also to other deities such as Amon, Serapes, Zeus, etc.
A dwelling area was discovered in Karanis, the houses built out of mud and red bricks, with vaulted roofs and stairs, gates, windows, kitchens, and stables. Some walls were painted and covered with colorful decorations.
To the east of the city is a cemetery dating back to the Ptolemaic Period. Recently, a significant number of artifacts were unearthed there, including ostracas, jars, glass vases, and coins, as well as many valuable papyrus documents written in Greek. These papyrus documents, which include trade deals, taxation records, and civil contracts, provide details about life during that period. Remains of public baths built of burnt brick were also discovered.