Wadi Kom Ombo Tourist Attractions
The Temple of Suchos and Haroeris lies in the heart of the Wadi Kom Ombo, a valley some 37mi/60km long and 16mi/25km wide which opens out immediately south of the Silsila Gorge. The chief place in the valley is the busy market town of Kom Ombo (pop. 25,000). This area of fertile alluvial soil, engulfed in the course of many centuries by the desert sand, has been irrigated and brought under cultivation since the beginning of the 20th C. by the privately owned Kom Ombo Company and now produces large quantities of sugar-cane (refined in a large local refinery) as well as cotton and vegetables. There has also been some development of stock-farming.
Hill of Ombos
The ancient Egyptian town of Ombos, whose name has been preserved in the present day Kom Ombo ("Hill of Ombos"), probably owed its foundation to the strategic importance of its site, commanding the Nile and the routes from Nubia into the Nile Valley. Its heyday, however, was in the Ptolemaic period, when it was made capital of the Ombite nome and its magnificent temples were built.HistoryOf the temples of the earlier period practically nothing is left. The two principal gods of Ombos were the crocodile headed Sobek (Suchos) and the falcon headed Haroeris. With Sobek were associated Hathor and the youthful moon god Khons-Hor, with Haroeris Tsentnofret, the "Good Sister", a special personification of Hathor, and Penebtawi, "lord of the Two Lands". The remains of the town, now buried in sand, lie at the northeast corner of the plateau. The temple complex, to the south, was excavated and restored by de Morgan in 1893.The temple precinct, lying some 50ft/15m above the average level of the Nile, was enclosed by a brick wall, entered on the south side through a massive gateway built by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos. The left hand (west) side of the gateway has been carried away by the Nile, but the right hand half still stands. It has reliefs showing Neos Dionysos presenting various offerings to the deities of Ombos.
Useful tips: ACCESS. By road (the road skirting the Nile) or rail from Aswan, 25mi/40km south.
The temple of Suchos and Haroeris, essentially two buildings combined into one, is noted for its reliefs by Philometor, Euergetes II, and Neos Dionysos.
On the terrace in front of the temple is a small, badly ruined birth house (mammisi), built or restored by Euergetes II, the facade of which faced southeast. Of the surviving reliefs one, on the west side, is worth notice: it shows Euergetes and two gods sailing in a boat through a papyrus swamp swarming with birds, with an ithyphallic Min-Amun-Re standing on the left. On the south side is an underground staircase leading down to the river, on the banks of which are the remains of a Nilometer similar to the one at Edfu.In the open space east of the birth house and north of the temple are two large and handsome blocks from an architrave, one of them bearing the name of Neos Dionysos; the remains of several small structures, including a Roman doorway and a ruined chapel standing on a platform; two wells, one large and one small, with a water channel leading to a small pool in which young sacred crocodiles may have been kept; a small chapel dedicated to Suchos by Caracalla; a Coptic church, with only one column still standing; and a large Coptic house.
To the south of the temple court is a small chapel dedicated to Hathor, of red sandstone, built in the time of Domitian (unfinished). In one room of this are the mummies of sacred crocodiles found in the vicinity.
On the east side of the valley many of the Egyptian Nubians displaced by the construction of the Aswan High Dam (some 50,000 in all) have been resettled and provided with land. This area, now known as New Nubia, has been divided up into 40 rural districts or village territories with the same names as the 40 village units of "old" Nubia. The new villages are laid out on a regular plan and have all the necessary social services and cultural facilities. There have, however, been difficulties arising from the breaking up of established social structures and the sudden transfer of an exclusively rural population to a partly industrialized setting. It is planned to return part of the transferred population to the shores of Lake Nasser.