While the town that surrounds it hardly grabs the average traveler’s attention, the Kom Ombo Temple is splendid enough to draw visitors in hordes—and rightly so. This large temple dates back to Ptolemaic times, its period of construction lasting somewhere between 200 BC and the turn of the Christian calendar. Today, the Temple of Kom Ombo is a highlight on any itinerary that heads along the Nile, attracting particular attention due to its unique design.
This so-called double design of the Temple of Kom Ombo refers to the fact that the temple consists of two halves, which almost exactly mirror each other. Kom Ombo Temple was dedicated to two distinct ancient Egyptian gods: Haroeris and Sobek-Re. Not wishing to favor one over the other, Ptolemaic architects designed the temple so that each God received an equal amount of reverence. The signature sight for visitors to the Temple of Kom Ombo is the Outer Hypostyle Hall. Boasting fifteen wonderfully decorated columns, this hall features a multitude of historical information thanks to its intricately carved walls, which depict various scenes of religious imagery.
Just outside the Outer Hypostyle Hall is the Sacred Well at Kom Ombo. Not only was the well considered sacred, it also held an important officious role during Ptolemaic times, when the year’s taxes would be calculated by specially chosen priests who would descend the stairway that leads down the well and thus measure the depth of the Nile. Another water feature at the Temple of Kom Ombo is also worth seeking out. This is the small pool found near the well. Sobek-Re was known as the Crocodile God—in this pool, sacred crocodiles were raised. You can also find fascinating mummies of crocodiles in the temple’s Chapel of Hathor.
The Kom Ombo Temple is easy enough to reach, thanks to its close proximity to Aswan and Luxor. Aswan is the closer of these two major urban hubs, and many visitors take the opportunity to combine a trip to Kom Ombo Egypt with a cruise up the Nile on a felucca, a traditional wooden boat. While such a cruise makes for a memorable vacation experience, it’s certainly the more time consuming way of doing things, and you’d be best off just taking the train if you want to minimize traveling time and therefore maximize sightseeing time. Trains from both Aswan and Luxor stop in the town of Kom Ombo Egypt.
As with the Abydos, Dendera, and Edfu temples (all of which are close to Kom Ombo Egypt), trips here tend to be daytime excursions, providing a break from the hectic sightseeing that naturally comes with time spent in either Luxor or Aswan. Luxor is the larger of these two cities, and it’s probably the more established in terms of tourism, offering such standout attractions as the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the Mummification Museum, and the Luxor Museum. Aswan, meanwhile, is a little more laid-back; vacationers who stop here enjoy its varied shopping opportunities, its wonderfully atmospheric coffeeshops, and, of course, the modern miracle that is the Aswan Dam.