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Dakke by Hector Horeau, 1841

The Temple of el Dakka
(Dakke, Dakkeh)

The Temple at el Dakka (Dakke), southern Egypt, was built in the 3rd century BC by Ptolemy IV and others. Stones from the New Kingdom, more than a thousand years earlier, were found re-used in the temple. The temple collapsed in 1908, probably the result of the first dam at Aswan. It was moved to higher ground in the 1960's and now can be found at the New Wadi es-Sebua complex along with the temple of Maharraqa.

Edited excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt
Published in 1819.

March 27th, 1813.
After an hour's journey, we came to the ruin of a temple, one of the finest remains of antiquity that is met with in the valley of the Nile. In the front stands a large propylon (pylon), thirty paces in length, in the center of which is a gate similar to that of the propylon at Edfu. Near this gate lies a fragment of the body of a sphinx. There are neither hieroglyphics nor figures of any kind upon the outer wall of the propylon. In both wings are staircases leading up to the top, similar in their construction to those at Philae. The two wings communicate with each other by a terrace over the gate. There are numerous small chambers one above the other from the bottom to the top in both wings.

The temple at el Dakka (Dakke)- a giant pylon and a stone building.
The Temple at el Dakka (Dakke),
by David Roberts, 1838

Dakke Temple from the rear
by Prisse d'Avennes 1878.

Sixteen paces distant from the propylon is the entrance to the pronaos, consisting of two columns, united to a wall half their height. They have the same capitals as the columns of the open temple at Philae, which are seen no where else in Egypt. Denon says that they approach the Grecian style by the elegance of their form. Upon the columns of the temple of Dakke are various figures, among which, I particularly noticed one of a harper.

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

Tefnut as a lion, Roman Chapel, Dakke Temple
Photograph by Roland Unger, CreativeCommons.

The pronaos is ten paces in length, and seven in width. Its roof is formed of enormous blocks of stone, at least fifteen feet long. A door leads from the pronaos into a narrow room, only four paces in width, which communicates with the adytum by a richly ornamented door. On one side of the adytum is a small dark chamber, in which is a deep sepulchre, with a large lion sculptured in the wall immediately over it. On the other side is a passage communicating with the pronaos and containing a staircase which leads up to the top of the building.

the temple at Dakke.
View from inside the Temple of el Dakka (Dakke),
by François Chrétien Gau, 1819

The adytum is about six paces square; beyond it is another room, somewhat larger.A large block of granite lying on the floor of this room is one of the few instances where granite is found in the temples of Nubia. Along the bottom of the walls are represented lotus plants in flower, to which offerings are presented.

There are no historical sculptures in any part of this temple, but the exterior walls, as well as all the rooms within, are thickly covered with figures representing religious subjects. Those inside are all beautifully executed, and equal to the best specimens which travelers admire at Hermonthis and Philae. Indeed, I prefer the figures in the chamber behind the adytum to any that are in the temples at those places. In no temple of Egypt have I seen such correctness of design or gracefulness of outline.

Horus, Dakke Temple.
Photograph by Alberto G Rovi, CreativeCommons.
Horus would appreciate, one thinks,
respectful use of a feather-duster.

The propylon and the whole of the temple seem to have been encompassed by a brick enclosure, parts of which still remain, and traces of the rest may be discerned under the mounds of sand. The Greek Christians had appropriated this temple to their worship, several paintings of saints yet remain on the walls.

Champollion found this ibis in what he called the Dakkeh Temple of Thoth, 1835 I conjecture the temple of Dakke to have been built after the plan of Philae, although upon a smaller scale, its execution appeared to me to be still more careful than that of Philae. It is extremely interesting from the high preservation of all its details. Dakke is probably the ancient Pselcis, and the small chapel at Kobban, on the eastern side of the river, is Contra-Pselcis. The temple at Korty has retained its ancient name, Corti. The temples of Seboua, Hassaya, and Abu Simbel, with their cities, were consequently unknown to the itinerary of Antoninus.
Edited excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt
Published in 1819.

Plan of Dakke Temple
by Prisse d'Avennes 1878

by Prisse d'Avennes, 1878

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