Baku, May 19, AZERTAC
Two millennia's worth of soot and dirt covered the ceiling frescoes in the temple of Khnum in the Egyptian city of Esna, protecting the colors underneath.
The city of Esna is home to a few of the most famous ancient Egyptian temples.
Located 485 miles of modern Cairo, the town of Esna sits on the west bank of the Nile.
Esna was one of the most prestigious cities in Ancient Egyptian civilization, during the Roman and Ptolemaic periods their influence can be strongly noted in the temples around in this area including the Temple of Esna, also known as Temple of Khnum.
Now, painstaking restoration work from archeologists has brought these incredible pieces of art back to life.
The frescoes have 46 images of vultures, representing, in turn, the Upper-Egyptian vulture goddess Nekhbet and the Lower-Egyptian serpent goddess Wadjet, who is also depicted as a vulture with open wings, although keeping the head of a cobra and the crown of Lower Egypt. Nekhbet is wearing the Upper Egypt crown.
The restoration was conducted by the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Tübingen and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. They have been working since 2018 to bring the colors of the frescoes back into view.
The temple was dedicated to one of the earliest Egyptian deities, Khnum the ram-headed god who was seen as the god of the source of the Nile. At Esna, Khnum and his consort Neith are treated as the creator deities.
Construction of the religious building had begun during Ptolemaic time but most of the remaining parts are from the Roman era, probably around the time of Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE).
The temple began to attract the interest of archeologists in Napoleonic times, but it was in the latter part of the last century that a more detailed study of it began in earnest.
The whole restoration was funded by the American Research Center in Egypt, the Ancient Egypt Foundation, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The team is now planning to translate all of the Esna inscriptions, as well as study the connection between all the images and writing in the temple. This upcoming work has been funded by the German research foundation.
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