Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Al-Ahram Weekly | Heritage | Much needed makeover for three goddesses

Al-Ahram Weekly | Heritage | Much needed makeover for three goddesses: Meanwhile on Luxor's west bank restorers and workmen are hard at work at the temple of the goddess of rebirth and femininity, Isis, at Deir Al-Shelwit, four kilometres south of Medinet Habu. A development project similar to that at the Mut Temple is now being conducted by the MSA in collaboration with ARCE at the Isis Temple so that it too can be opened to the public next year.

Today the Isis Temple can be seen in ruins. It includes a small main building, the ruins of a decorated propylon and a well enclosed by a brick wall. The outer wall of the temple is plain, while the inner surface is decorated. The temple's shrine has a surrounding corridor with a chapel, an area for cleansing called a wabet and stairs leading to the roof.

According to inscriptions found on the propylon the temple was constructed in the first century AD, but there is a theory that the construction of the temple started in the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo II (360 Òê" 342 BC) and finished during the Graeco-Roman period.

Mansour Borak, the supervisor of the Luxor antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Isis Temple at Deir Al-Shelwit was of great importance because religious buildings dating from the Graeco-Roman period were rare in this area, where this was the only temple associated only with Isis and not with the gods of the Theban Triad (Amun-Re, Isis and Horus).

Borak went on to say that the reliefs of the temple were similar to those in Dendara Temple and on Philae Island. Cartouches of the Roman emperors Galba, Otho, Vespasian, Julius Caesar, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius were engraved on the temple and the propylon. The outer wall includes reused blocks from other ancient Egyptian structures bearing the New Kingdom reliefs.

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