Places We Go / Sudan

The Temple of Soleb, Sudan

Strongly resembling the temple of Luxor, the temple of Soleb, situated on the west bank of the Nile River, is a well-preserved sandstone temple ordered by Amenhotep III (the ruler of Nubia at the time) in honor of the gods Amun-Re and Nebmaatre.

temple-of-soleb

Leading from a terraced temple on the Nile banks, a processional way ran up to a support structure for the temple called the First Pylon which stood within an enclosure wall and was fortified with bastions. Two pairs of obelisks stood in front of and behind the pylon, after which an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes led to a second pylon behind which was featured a colonnades of well-proportioned columns carved as papyrus.

The temple of Soleb played a central role in some of the Egyptian myths, such as where the eye of Horus was lost in a battle with Seth in Nubia. After this, the eye was supposed to have taken on the appearance of a lioness.

Two red granite lions from Soleb are among the most famous elements of the temple, but the British looted borrowed them for the British Museum where they now reside.

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Getting to the temple is not an easy affair and requires some coordination with the locals. We arranged with the gentlemen pictured below to take us across the Nile to the temple of Soleb.

Note the desert conditions even though we are just a few hundred meters from the Nile River. You can see why essentially all development in this part of the world is right along the river:

on-the-way-to-temple-of-soleb

We’re walking to the boat here and are perhaps a hundred meters from the river… You can see that the arid, desert conditions have finally started to give way to some greenery:

water-carriers-sudan

Settled in on the Nile:

nile-transportation-sudan

Crossing the Nile River to Soleb:

crossing-the-nile-to-temple-of-soleb

Again, the rule about fertility being associated with extreme proximity to the Nile holds true… This time on the other side of the river:

farmer-sudan

As mentioned above, there used to be a pathway leading to the temple, but now you just emerge from the palm groves and fields and find the temple remains before you.

The Soleb temple:

soleb-temple

temple-of-soleb-sudan

the-temple-of-soleb

caretaker-temple-of-soleb

temple-at-soleb

The view from the back of the temple of Soleb:

temple-soleb

Since this is Sudan, one can clamber all over the temple and even make their way to the very top of the surviving structure:

temple_soleb

My proof shot – you can see the Nile in the background:

Temple of Soleb, Sudan

If you bring any women to the temple of Soleb, keep an eye on them.  The villagers at the site are fine, but the police in the area are corrupt and will sexually harass any women that look like Eleonora.  One of them followed us back to our boat and groped Eleonora as she was trying to leave.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know about that until we were already in the boat.

Don’t let that put you off from going, just be aware of it.

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5 thoughts on “The Temple of Soleb, Sudan

  1. Yep, not a pleasant experience with the police. It happens unfortunately. You just need to be aware and try not to get too close to them.

  2. Pingback: Staying With A Nubian Family and Investment Ideas For Sudan « The Velvet Rocket

  3. unfortunate incident , I am sorry for that Eleonora , you just needed to tell anybody from the villagers , the police would be punished on the spot.

  4. Hi there,
    I right now in soleb, the antique town of Nubia, today’s Sudan. Its really nice over here if not for the naughty flies “Innamitta” that come during date fruits harvest, and last in mid-february.

  5. Pingback: Traveling to Sudan | The Dark Angle

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