Dendera Temple complex, (Ancient Egyptian: Iunet or Tantere)(19th century English spelling in most sources, including Belzoni was Tentyra). located about 2.5 km south-east of Dendera, Egypt. It is one of the best preserved complexes in Egypt. The area was used as the sixth Nome of Upper Egypt, south of Abydos.
The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. Dendera was a site for chapels or shrines from the beginning of history of ancient Egypt. It seems that pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2250 BC) built on this site and evidence exists of a temple in the eighteenth dynasty (ca 1500 BC). But the earliest extant building in the compound today is the Mammisi raised by Nectanebo II – last of the native pharaohs (360-343 BC). The features in the complex include
- Hathor temple (the main temple),
- Temple of the birth of Isis,
- Sacred Lake,
- Mammisi of Nectanebo II,
- Christian Basilica,
- Roman Mammisi,
- a Bark shine,
- Gateways of Domitian & Trajan and
- the Roman Kiosk.
The all overshadowing building in the Complex is the main temple, namely Hathor temple (historically, called the Temple of Tentyra). The temple has been modified on the same site starting as far back as the Middle Kingdom, and continuing right up until the time of the Roman emperor Trajan. The existing structure was built no later than the late Ptolemaic period. The temple, dedicated to Hathor, is one of the best preserved temples in all Egypt. Subsequent additions were added in Roman times.
Depictions of Cleopatra VI which appear on temple walls are good examples Ptolemaic Egyptian art. One depicts Cleopatra and her son, Caesarion. On the rear of the temple exterior is a carving of Cleopatra VII Philopator and her son, Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar, fathered by Julius Caesar.
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