Temple Of Derr – A Splendid Rock Cut Marvel Built By Ramessess II

Rameesess II is one of Ancient Egypt’s best known pharaohs thanks to his long and impressively victorious reign, and the Temple of Derr is a fitting reminder.

Temple of Derr, Lake Nasser

Temple of Derr, Lake Nasser.

Aswan is a very popular part of Egypt, and the area consistently attracts countless tourists every year. The area is of course home to a seemingly endless number of historical attractions, and Lake Nasser cruises have also proved to be incredibly popular. So vast is this lake that it’s actually difficult to believe it is a manmade lake which formed when the Aswan High Dam was constructed.

While the dam and the resulting lake certainly did solve a major water shortage problem, it didn’t come without a price. The area which is today covered in water was once home to many ancient sites. When the dam was being built, these sites either had to be relocated, or else lost to the rising waters. Fortunately, many sites were successfully relocated, and today visitors can explore all of them, most of which are in close proximity to each other.

Visiting The Fascinating Temple Of Derr

Ramssess II is certainly one of the most recognizable figures in Egyptian history because of his long and victorious reign, and the many temples and structures he built during this period. This makes the Temple of Derr a particular treasure due to its original position which was on the eastern shore of the Nile where very few other structures were placed, and also because it is a remarkably fine example of the pharaoh’s preferred rock cut style.

Additionally, during more recent day restorations of the temple, it was discovered to contain some remarkably fine painted reliefs that show the pharaoh’s preference for bright colors that are radically different from other periods. The layout of the temple is also a bit unique in several ways.

Today the original pylon which was once located at the entrance is no longer in existence, but the rest of the temple which was cut into a cliff has been successfully relocated, and it has also been arranged in the same manner as it was when originally built.

This leaves the two square halls, and in the first the pillars and statues do not face the central area of the temple, but instead face the entrance to the hall. Visitors then head into the second hall where most of the remaining painted decoration remains.

Like many other Nubian sites, the Temple of Derr had to be relocated in the 1960s in order to save it from the flooding waters of Lake Nasser as the Aswan High Dam was completed. The current location of the temple is near to the equally popular Temple of Amada, and many visitors will spend a day touring both sites.

A Brief History of the Temple of Derr

The temple actually once stood in the Nubian capital city of that era and is unique in that it was not purely a temple built for “show” or as sort of demonstration of power. Instead, it would seem that the large temple was designed to serve the community and to assimilate the Nubians into Egyptian life.

Later inhabitation by Christians did lead to some damage to the ornamentation and decorations in the temple, but many of these were addressed during the relocation and restoration. Today it is often considered a “must see” attraction on any tour of Nubian monuments or during a Lake Nasser cruise

If you are interested in visiting one of the most unique temples built by Ramessess II the then temple of Derr should definitely be on your agenda, as should its equally impressive neighbor, the Temple of Amada.

Come Discover The Ancient World of the Pharaohs

If you would like to visit sites like the Temple of Derr during your stay in Aswan, or while you’re enjoying a once in a lifetime Lake Nasser cruise, please be sure to check out our Nile cruise holidays. We have been specializing in Egypt tours and Egypt tour packages for almost 60 years already, so you can be certain your travel needs will be our top priority from beginning to end.