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Temple of Wadi Es-Sebua

Egypt's Wadi Es-Sebua temple is 50km south of Aswan Dam. It is known to be the second largest temple in the Nubian region, after the famous temple of Abu-Simbel. 
This temple is named "Es-Sebua," which means "Lions," its name is justified due to the rows of lion-headed sphinxes before the temple's entrance.
They serenely but fiercely guard the entrance just as they have for centuries.


The temple is known as Es-Seboua, meaning in Arabic "lions." The temple was dedicated to worshiping the gods Hor-Akhty, Amon, and Ramsis II as defied persons. The temple is built out of stones, except for the sanctuary and the inner vestibules, which are fully carved into the bedrock. The temple has an entrance with a tower, an open courtyard, a hypostyle hall, and an inner sanctuary. The temple's walls are decorated with many religious scenes and essential reliefs. In the Christian area, many parts had been converted into a church. This temple, like most of the other Nubian monuments, has been rescued and relocated 4 km north from its original location to escape the rising water of Lake Nasser.

History of the Temple of Wadi Es-Sebua

This temple was built by Ramesses II and was dedicated to the gods Amun and Ra-Horakhty, along with deified Pharaoh Ramesses II. Hence, it was then called the "House of Amun," and its construction was started in the 44th year of the reign of Ramesses II. 
The Pharaoh engaged his Libyan prisoners as laborers to build this temple, whom he captured after the war with the Libyan invaders.
Later, the Christians acquired parts of this temple complex and redesigned those areas into a church. Like many other Nubian temples, this temple also had to be shifted to a higher altitude to save it from the destructive waters of the Aswan Dam. The dam had previously destroyed another temple of the same era that Amenhotep II built. Luckily, five stelae from this ruined temple could be saved, and now they are kept safely in the Aswan Museum.

The Unique Structural Features of the Temple of Wadi Es-Sebua

Most of this temple's structures were built with stones, except the inner vestibule and the sanctuary, carved out of bedrock. The temple complex comprises an entrance with a tower, an open courtyard, a hypostyle hall, and a refuge. But the most noteworthy feature of this temple is the lines of sphinxes that lead from the entrance to the sanctuary through the open courtyard. Earlier, a large brick wall used to enclose the entire complex, which no longer exists, nor survived the brick-made tower of this temple, guarded by two gigantic statues of Ramesses II.
Two lines of lion-headed sphinxes lead to the hypostyle hall, adorned with reliefs depicting many religious incidents of those times. There is also a sphinx, with the head of Ramesses II, near the backend of the courtyard, where two more rows of falcon-headed sphinxes are seen, each holding a statuette of Ramesses II between their front legs and an inscription, remarking on the Pharaoh's desire for a long life.
A stone-made pylon faced this hall, depicting Ramesses II offering to Amun on the southern side and Ra-Horakhty on the northern side. Though several statues of Ramesses II were made, now only one giant statue stands near this tower, with a miniature statue of his queen placed by his side. Another statue of Ramesses II is lying on the sand of the courtyard, holding a standard with the head of a falcon.
The altar lies to the south of this courtyard, dedicated to God Ra-Horakhty. Another hall, the "Hall of Appearances," has twelve Osiride pillars carved out of bedrock. Various interesting reliefs of the Pharaoh with all the deities are depicted on the walls here. This hall is followed by another chamber, perhaps the chapel, due to the many pictures on the walls showing many religious events and sacred animals for offerings.

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