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The Temples at Taffa

The temples of Taffa (Tefah) were built in Roman times. The southern of the two temples mentioned here was destroyed in the late 19th century. The remaining Northern temple of Taffa was presented to the people of the Netherlands by Egypt in appreciation of their assistance in the rescue of Nubian temples in the 1960's and is now located in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden.

And yes - more than one of our artists has moved a temple for the sake of his composition.

Taffa (Tafa) Temples

Excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt
Published in 1819.
March 29th, 1813.
We ascended the mountain which interrupts the road along the shore. On its summit I saw fragments of very small Egyptian columns and capitals, lying near some Arab structures. I observed no ancient edifice near them. At the end of two hours travel northwards we again reached the banks of the river, at the village of Taffa (Tafa or Tefah), close to the spot where the rock projects perpendicularly into the water.

Two walls and a column remain of the southern temple of Taffa.
The Southern Temple at Taffa,
by David Roberts, 1838

Here are the ruins of two small temples: one of them consists of an apartment ten paces square, the roof and one side of which are in ruins; two columns are yet standing in it, two feet in diameter, with the palm-leaf capitals. Adjoining this apartment was the adytum, the foundations of which only remain. The winged globe is over the entrance into the adytum; but I saw no other sculptures, nor any hieroglyphics.

the temple at Tafa.
The Temple of Tafa,
by François Chrétien Gau, 1819

(L) Photograph by Maxime Du Camp, 1852,
(R) Drawing of both temples by Hector Horeau, 1841

Cutaway of the southern Temple at Taffa
by Francois Gau

Plan of the southern Temple at Taffa
by Francois Gau


The Northern Temple at Taffa
now in the Netherlands

The Northern Temple at Taffa
by Francois Gau

The other temple is a small square apartment, quite entire, with six pillars in it, similar, in size and shape, to those just mentioned. The winged globe over the gates is the only sculpture of any kind about it. Around these two buildings are numerous remains of the private dwellings of the ancient inhabitants, consisting of thick and strongly built walls of stone; this material, from its greater proximity, having been frequently used in Nubia instead of bricks.
The Temples of Taffa
excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt, published in 1819

Wings of Ra, by Prisse d'Avennes, 1878

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