Temple of Taffeh

Temple of TaffehTemple of Taffeh

This temple was once situated in the vicinity of the Roman fortress of Taphis (Taffeh) in Nubia. Nowadays it has a place in the central hall of the NMA. It was a gift from the Egyptian authorities in acknowledgment of the Dutch participation in the campaign to save the Nubian monuments near Abu Simbel, which were under threat because of the building of the Aswan High Dam in the Nile. The temple was built during the reign of emperor Augustus. In those days Egypt formed part of the Roman Empire and the Egyptian gods were venerated far and wide: Osiris, his wife Isis and their son Horus were immensely popular.

The temple

The temple was built after the Roman conquest of Lower Nubia. The building blocks arrived roughly hewn from the quarries and were finished on the building-site. They were stacked without mortar or shoved into place by means of a clayey slush. Up to and including the cornices, the walls consist of twelve layers. The stones used to be white, but they have turned brown-grey in the course of time.


The architectural style is traditional Egyptian. In the fourth century A.D. and later, in the eighth century, changes were made. Six columns with capitals support the roof. The façade, not the original one dating from the 1st century, is decorated with winged sun discs and cobras. From the 13th century onwards the Nubians mainly used the temple to house humans and animals.

Object: Temple
Dating from: 25 B.C. -25
Material: Limestone
Size: 450 x 825 x 630 cm
Origin: Egypt, Taffeh
Collection: Egypt
Code: F 1979/4.1-b