The Town of Esna
Situated only around 60 Kilometres to the south of Luxor, Esna is small non-interesting farming town. Except for the marvellous Temple of Khunum; a Greco-Roman structure which was constructed to represent a much older monument built by Tuthmosis III during the reign of the 18th dynasty in Egypt.
The Story Behind The Esna Temple
This wonderful temple of Khunum was buried under sand and silt for centuries to the extent that the city of Esna was established on top of it.
However, the excavation works which started at the beginning of the 19th century only unearthed one section of the Temple; the Roman hypostyle hall which was built during the 1st century AD. The façade of this hall is featured with its inscriptions and drawings of Roman emperors which date back to the 1st century as well.
The roof of this remarkable hall is based upon 24 columns decorated with inscriptions telling the story of the festival which used to take place in Esna.
Among the most interesting characteristics of the temple of Esna is the astronomical ceiling with its zodiac register in which the guests can still view its details and different parts.
Down by the river Nile is an ancient quay with cartouches of Marcus Aurelius which would have been connected to the temple by a processional way. This is still in use today.
There was also a ‘North Temple of Khnum’ two and a half-mile north-west of Esna that was dated to Ptolemy III Euergetes I, but this is now completely vanished.
The ancient necropolis associated with Esna contains burials from the Old Kingdom to late Ptolemaic date.