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el Derr Temple, Nubia
Derr temple in Nubia, on the East bank of the Nile, was constructed in honor of the 30th anniversary of the reign of Rameses II (Ramesses II). Originaly it was unusually constructed - partly of cut stone and partly excavated into the hillside. Various sources give its dedication to Pitah, Amon or Ra, but Derr temple, as were so many others, was certainly built to the glory of Pharaoh Rameses.
In the mid 1960's the construction of the Aswan High Dam would have flooded the temple at Derr so the entire remaining portion of the temple was moved to higher ground, about seven miles from its original location.
Excerpt from: Travels in Nubia by John Lewis BurckhardtA Journey along the Banks of the Nile
Published in 1819. Adapted for AscendingPassage.com, 2006.
Chapter V - the ancient temple of Derr.
The neighborhood of Derr (Derri) is interesting on account of a temple
situated on the declivity of a rocky hill, just behind the village.
Its structure denotes remote antiquity. The gods of Egypt appear to
have been worshipped here long before they were lodged in the
gigantic temples of Karnac and Gorne.
The entrance of the Temple at Derr,
by François Chrétien Gau, 1819
The temple of Derr is entirely
hewn out of the sand-stone rock, with its pronaos, sekos or cella,
and adyton. The pronaos consists of three rows of square pillars,
four in each row. The row of pillars nearest the cella, which were
originally joined by the roof to the main temple, are of larger
dimensions than the rest; they are nearly four feet square, and
about fourteen feet high, and are still entire, while fragments of
the shafts only remain of the two outer rows. In front of each of
the four pillars are the legs of a colossal figure, similar to
those of the temple of Gorne, at Thebes.
Art from the Temple at Derr, by Ernst Weidenbach, 1842-45
A portion of the excavated
rock which had formed one of the walls of the pronaos, has fallen
down; on the fragments of it, a battle is represented: the hero, in
his chariot, is pursuing his vanquished foe, who retires to a
marshy and woody country, carrying the wounded along with him. In a
lower compartment of the same wall, the prisoners, with their arms
tied behind their backs, are brought before the executioner, who is
represented in the act of slaying one of them. All these figures
are much defaced.
On the opposite wall is their
battle, but in a state more mutilated: in this, prisoners are
brought before the hawk-headed Osiris. On the front wall of the
cella, on each side of the principal entrance, prisoners are
represented in the act of being slain, and Osiris, with uplifted
arm, arresting the intended blow. On the four pillars in front of the cella,
variously dressed figures are sculptured, two generally together,
taking each other by the hand. The Egyptian Mendes, or Priapus, is
also repeatedly seen.
Cutaway view of the Temple at Derr,
by François Chrétien Gau, 1819
The cella of the temple consists of an
apartment thirteen paces square, which receives its light only
through the principal gate, and a smaller one, on the side of it.
Two rows of square pillars, three in each row, extend from the gate
of the cella to the adytum: these pillars show the infancy of
architecture, being mere square blocks, hewn out of the rock,
without either base or capital; they are somewhat larger at the
bottom than at the top.
The inside walls of the cella, and its six
pillars, are covered with mystic figures, in the usual style. Some
remains of color prove that all these figures were originally
painted. On one of the side walls of the cella, are five figures,
in long robes, with shaven heads, carrying a boat upon their
shoulders, the middle of which is also supported by a man with a
lion's skin upon his shoulder. In the posterior wall of the
cella, is a door, with the winged globe over it, which leads into
the small adytum, where the seats of four figures remain, cut out
of the back wall. On both sides of the adytum are
small chambers, with private entrances into the
cella; in one of which a deep excavation makes it probable that it
was used as a sepulchre.
Photograph of the entrance to Derr Temple
by F. Frith, 1860 - 1865.
Derr Temple, Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt, published in 1819
excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
For Beautiful Jewelry of Nepal and Tibet
Art from the Temple at Derr,
by Ernst Weidenbach, 1842-45
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