Temple of Amada – The oldest Egyptian temple in Nubia
Temple of Amada | For centuries oases and temples have been an important part of the Egyptian tapestry. There was a time when the Nubian Temples were once situated in between the areas where the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser is now located. When the Aswan High Dam was built circa 1900s all the Nubian temples was relocated to higher ground within a four years span.
This is a project that was undertaken by the United Nationals Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). While UNESCO was able to retrieve some of these temples and relocate them locally and even in other countries like Spain, Germany, and the United States there are still some temples that remain at the bottom of Lake Nasser even today.
Back then temples were constructed to honor Pharaohs, male and female deities and other religious and mythological figures. Rocks and stones were the materials used in construction so that the buildings would last for years to come. On these stone walls, one could see different scenes which were carved and later enhanced with brilliant colored paints. Some of these scenes on the temple walls included fighting Pharaohs to rituals being performed by the deities.
The Temple of Amada, the oldest Egyptian temple in Nubia, was first constructed by Pharaoh Thutmose III of the 18th dynasty and dedicated to Amun and Re-Horakhty. His son and successor, Amenhotep II continued the decoration program for this structure. Amenhotep II’s successor, Thutmose IV decided to place a roof over its forecourt and transform it into a pillared or hypostyle hall. During the Amarna period, Akhenaten had the name Amun destroyed throughout the temple but this was later restored by Seti I of Egypt’s 19th dynasty. Various 19th dynasty kings especially Seti I and Ramesses II also “carried out minor restorations and added to the temple’s decoration.” The stelas of the Viceroys of Kush Setau, Heqanakht and Messuy and that of Chancellor Bay describe their building activities under Ramesses II, Merneptah and Siptah respectively.
Even though many describe the interior walls of the temple as dull and crumbling, it has to be said that the temple is home to some beautifully preserved features, including several very fine cut reliefs featuring vibrant colors.
The best-painted reliefs await visitors in the temple’s innermost rooms, many of these painting show Thutmose III and Amenhotep II making offerings to the Gods or partaking in other ritualistic activities.
There were two historically important inscriptions found at Amada Temple. The first inscription was made by Amenhotep II during the third year of his reign, and it describes in great detail his ruthlessness during battles in Asia. For example, he mentions how he personally executed the seven chiefs of the Takhesy district with his own sword before hanging them upside down from the prow of his boat. The second inscription is also one of brutality but relates to attempted invasion from Libya.