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Isis


Wady Meharakka Temple


The temple of Meharrakka (Meharraka, Maharraqa, Maharraka or Maharaga) dates from the Greco-Roman period. It was rescued from the rising waters from the Aswan High dam and placed on higher ground together with Wadi El Seboua temple and the temple of Dakka, for the ease of the tourists.

Wadi Meharrakka Temple


March 26th, 1813.
In three hours and a half, we came to El Nowabat, a ruined village, opposite to Thyale on the east bank. The shore is here very narrow, and the western hills are low, and sandy. Eight hours and a half brought us to the northern extremity of Wady Meharraka (Maharraka), where the plain widens considerably, being broader than in any other part north of Derr; though it is cultivated at present only near the river.
it seems a stiff wind could topple the remains of the Temple at Meharraka.
The Temple at Meharraka,
by David Roberts, 1838


Here is the ruin of a temple, consisting of a portico of fourteen massy columns, with capitals of different sizes and forms, according to the ancient Egyptian taste in architecture. They are encompassed by a wall, which being joined to the entablature of the colonnade, forms a covered portico all round. The southern wall has fallen down, apparently from some sudden and violent concussion, as the stones are lying on the ground, in layers, as when placed in the wall; a proof that they must have fallen all at once. I observed some hieroglyphics sculptured upon single stones lying about in this part.

The columns on the south side are joined to each other, except the two center ones, by a low wall, half their height, in the same manner as those in the temple of the hawkheaded Osiris at Philæ.

There is one large entrance, and two smaller ones, and a stair-case leading up to the top. Several paintings of Greek saints are upon the walls; but no hieroglyphics, nor sculptures, of any kind, are visible, not even the globe, common to all the Egyptian temples; neither are there any sculptures on the columns. The walls of this ruin are very neatly and well constructed. There are several inscriptions in the ancient popular Egyptian character, such as is seen on the manuscripts of papyrus.

The whole portico stands upon a terrace of massy stones, eight feet high towards the river; on this side is the great gate, but, as there are no steps up to it, it is probable that it was used only during the period of inundation, when vessels might moor close under it; at present, the water does not reach the temple at the time of the inundation. The portico is fifteen paces in length, and nine in breadth: there is nothing about it which denotes it to be of Egyptian origin, except the palm-leaves sculptured on the capitals of the columns; it possesses, however, an imposing simplicity, and belongs, I think, to the last epoch of Egyptian architecture.

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


Close to the walls of the portico are the remains of another building, which had probably been a temple similar to the above, and not a part of the same structure, for I could not perceive any corresponding parts in the two buildings. A wall only remains, and the foundations of the principal building; on the former are several sculptures, one of which represents Isis sitting under a tree, and receiving offerings; it is in high relief, unlike any thing of the kind I have seen in Egyptian temples, and more resembling Grecian sculpture.

the temple at Wadi Meharraka.
From the Temple of Wadi Meharraka,
by François Chrétien Gau, 1819


This circumstance, and the Grecian-like simplicity of the portico, lead me to conjecture that both edifices were the work of the Ptolemies, who constructed temples to the Egyptian deities in several parts of Egypt, in which they imitated the architecture consecrated to their worship. I saw no hieroglyphics on the wall.

There are large mounds of rubbish, and fragments of pottery, in this place.

Near Wady Meharraka the island of Derar commences. At eight hours and three quarters is the village of Korty. About two hundred yards from the river stands a ruined temple; it is the smallest I have seen, and may truly be called an Egyptian temple in miniature, being only ten paces in length; the cella and adytum are yet standing; the pronaos seems to be buried under the sand. Of the sculptures, a few figures, and the winged globe over the gates, remain; but the whole temple is in a very mutilated state.


wings of the Sun.

Wady Meharraka and Broken Pots
excerpt from: Travels in Nubia

by John Lewis Burckhardt, published in 1819



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