The Only Carved Image of Cleopatra - Dendera Temple
Updated: Mar 22
One of the most intriguing features of the Dendera Temple is the only authenticated carved relief of Cleopatra VII on a temple wall. Yes, this is the Cleopatra that got involved with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. In the carved relief, she is standing next to her son Ceasarion.
She is reputed to be one of the most beautiful women ever. Would you agree? The second photo is a zoomed view of her face and decolourized for more clarity.
Dendera Temple is located north of Luxor and takes a full days driving to visit. It is one of the better preserved temples which makes the trip absolutely worthwhile. The exterior of the temple is rather unassuming. Once you enter, it is a totally different story. It is also the only temple where we were permitted to visit the roof above and hidden tunnels below.
It is unfortunate that many of the wall carvings where defaced by early Christians. It appears that their intent was remove the images of pagan gods.
Fortunately the roof was not defaced. It has recently been cleaned and has revealed some of the most colourful carvings we encountered in any of temples we visited.
At the center of the ceiling lies the Eye of Horus. It is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power, and good health.
A view from the crypt below. It is a narrow and awkward spot to enter and not for the claustrophobic. You may also need to "tip" the guard to gain access. The tunnel boasts some unique carvings that cannot be found anywhere else in Egypt. Some claim that the second image below proves that the ancient Egyptians had electricity.
A trip to this temple is not complete without a visit to the roof. A narrow, intricately carved passage of short, inclinded stairs leads the way.
The rooftop view of the 12.5m wall that encloses the temple complex and mounds of other treasures yet to uncover.