Edfu

Edfu is a smallish city located on the Nile close to the major urban hubs of Aswan and Luxor (and, to a lesser extent, Cairo). 60,000 people live here, which means it's not a city to be sniffed at, but there's one attraction here that dominates all else in terms of travel to Edfu: the Temple of Horus, sometimes referred to as the Edfu Temple. A massive and magnificent Ptolemaic temple (Ptolemy being a ruler around 250 BC), the site ranks alongside the Giza Pyramids, the Citadel of Saladin, and the Karnak Temple as a must-see attraction while in Egypt.

In terms of size, the Edfu Temple is second only to the Karnak Temple, while it's widely held to share the title of the best preserved temple in Egypt with the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. Visiting the Temple of Horus, then, is a real treat; rarely do you find examples of the ancient world as large, impressive, and intact as this.

This temple at Edfu was built over the course of 200 years; it was finally finished during the reign of Ptolemy XII, father of  the famous Cleopatra VII, in 57 BC. Dedicated to the Egyptian God Horus, it's linked to the temple at Dendera because of the supposed marriage between Horus and Hathor, who lived at Dendera and who would travel to Edfu every year to meet her husband.

Inevitably, given this history, there's a lot to see when visiting the Temple of Horus, so it's worth giving yourself plenty of time to explore its numerous rooms and sweeping courtyards, and the decorative hieroglyphs that line its walls. These hieroglyphs provide an important insight into Egyptian culture, detailing not only traditional ways of life at the time but also architectural practices and processes. Aside from their scholarly importance, the hieroglyphs are also just beautiful to stare at, an art in their own right. 

Geographically sandwiched between Luxor to the north and Aswan to the south, Edfu proves easy to access for the visitor touring Egypt. As with Dendera and Abydos, trips to the Edfu Temple are often one-day affairs, with tour groups starting out from either Luxor or Aswan during the early morning and then returning late at night. Unlike Dendera, however, Edfu Egypt is easier to stay in overnight should you want to spend a little longer exploring the Temple of Horus and its surroundings.

Both Luxor and Aswan are major destinations within Egypt, which means continuing your travels from Edfu will be a guaranteed delight, whichever way you go. Both cities offer the tourist an authentic and unique Egyptian experience. Luxor probably boasts more famous tourist attractions, offering as it does the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the Luxor Museum, and the Mummification Museum. Aswan, meanwhile, is a slightly more down-to-earth type of place—make sure to check out the Aswan Dam while spending time here.

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