Places We Go / Sudan

The Lion Temple (Apedemak Temple) At Musawwarat es-Sufra

As opposed to the Elephant Temple we just discussed, the nearby “Lion Temple” or Apedemak Temple might have been a site of pilgrimage.

In 1822, when the first European expedition visited the Lion Temple at Musawwarat es-Sufra, except for a few contours of the outer north wall and some columns remaining visible, the temple was found in ruins.

In 1960, the Sudan government granted Humboldt University-Berlin permission to begin excavations; the Lion Temple was the first to be investigated. Over 800 collapsed blocks from the outer walls, depicting well-preserved contours were uncovered from the sand. When restoration work commenced in the early seventies, hieroglyphic inscriptions revealed Arnekhamani (c.235-c.218 BC) as the King who had commissioned the building of the Lion Temple, which he dedicated to the lion-headed Meroitic god, Apedemak – responsible both for creation and war. Apedemak was the most widely worshiped local deity throughout the entire Kushite Kingdom.

The signs of life on the northern part of the Temple’s Western Wall and the crocodile with its mouth tied; on the northern pylon indicates that the northern half of the building was dedicated to peace and fertility. Fittingly, the southern part, however, is symbolic of chaos and war.


This is the entrance to the Lion Temple:


And this is the lonely caretaker on the site who will open up the facility for you:



Carvings on the interior of the Lion Temple:


If you look closely, you can see that a human is being taken out by a lion in this carving:



This is a picture of the exterior of the Lion Temple:


3 thoughts on “The Lion Temple (Apedemak Temple) At Musawwarat es-Sufra

  1. Pingback: The Elephant Temple, Sudan « The Velvet Rocket

  2. Pingback: Jebel Barkal and The Cobra Temple of Sudan « The Velvet Rocket

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