1 km from Malkata and about 4 km south of Medinet Habu, Deir el-Shelwit an Ancient Egyptian Temple dedicated to Isis from the Greco-Roman period stands on the West bank of the Nile at Luxor.
History Of The Temple
The inscriptions on the entrance of the temple reveal that the construction of the Isis temple began in the 1st century. Believed to be the oldest standing temple the foundation of the temple was laid by Nectanebo II and reached its finished form during the Greek-Roman era.
The Layout Of The Temple
- Some of the oldest shrines of the Deir el-Shelwit Temple enclosed by a corridor with side chapels and a wabet stairs lead to the roof from this corridor.
- The southern part of the outer walls of the temple has stone blocks from the early age buildings which have been reused in the recent times.
- Most of the reliefs of the temple resemble the Medinat Habu.
- The entrance of the Deir el-Shelwit Temple located 60 meters east away from the main temple is lavishly decorated on all sides.
The Decoration Of The Temple
- The reliefs of the Deir el-Shelwit temple belong to the Greek-Roman era and resemble the ones in Philae Temple and Dendera Temple.
- The entrance of the temple and the walls hold cartouches of Galba, Otho, Hadrianus, Antoninus Pius, Vespasianus and Julius Caesar.
- Stylistically decorated temple reliefs dating back to the era of the New Kingdom is evident on the reused blocks of the outer walls of the Deir el-Shelwit temple.
Purpose Of Constructing The Temple
- The preserved images of the interior of the Naos in the temple of Deir el Shelwit gives an idea of the mechanics of cult worship at the shrines.
- This also includes the presence of a well maintained “Corridor of Mysteries”, surrounding the Naos. The visitors go around the shrine before making their offerings at the pylon to the Holy of Holies.
- Egyptian Temples show shreds of evidence of the Egyptian religion evolution into the syncretic, mystery cults that propagated at the beginning of the New Kingdom age.
- The Deir el-Shelwit temple was used for grain storage and also for initiatory functions in the cult.
The Significance Of The Temple
Being a rare Graeco-Roman era religious building, the Isis temple of Deir el-Shelwit is not associated with the Theban Triad but Isis.
All that remains of the temple in the present day is its small main building and ruins of the propylon, along with its red-brick enclosure wall and the small well. The miniature version of the region of Isis at Philae, Deir el-Shelwit is worth a visit. Call us or visit our website to book your trip to The Temple Of Egypt.