CAIRO – 5 November 2020: The joint Egyptian-German mission between the Antiquities Registration Center of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Egyptology Department at the German University of Tübingen started the works of the sixth season of the project of restoring and documenting the Esna Temple (Temple of Khnum) in Luxor Governorate.
Hisham el-Laithi, head of the Antiquities Registration Center and head of the mission from the Egyptian side, explained that the mission's work this season included restoration work, cleaning layers of soot and dirt, removing salts from the walls and ceiling of the temple and showing the original colors of the inscriptions, especially the astronomical inscriptions decorating the ceiling of the temple, which the restoration team was able to restore a large part of during the work of previous seasons.
He indicated that the current season's work will resume until the first months of 2021.
Furthermore, Christian Lights, head of the mission from the German side, explained that the colorful temple inscriptions suffered over the centuries from the gathering of thick layers of soot, dust and dirt, in addition to bird and bats droppings, spider nests, as well as salt deposits.
It is worth noting that the Temple of Esna is located about 100 meters from the west bank of the Nile in the city of Esna. It dates back to Roman era. Its construction began in the era of the Roman Emperor Claudius in the first century AD. Its inscriptions was completed in the era of Emperor Decius, between 251-249.
The temple was dedicated to the god Khnum depicted in the form of a ram, accompanied by his two wives. It suffered during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from urban sprawl. From every direction houses were built around the temple. A house was even built right in front of it controlling the movement of entering and exiting the temple.
In the era of Mohammed Ali Pasha, the temple was used as a cotton warehouse.