The Temple of Taffeh - an ancient Egyptian Temple of about 20 c. situated in Europe

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands.
Limestone, 4,50 m x 8,25 m x 6,30 m, Provenance: Taphis (Taffeh), Egypt
Dating: 25 B.C. - 25 A.C.; F 1979/4.1-b

Egypt, in the period around the beginning of the new era is territory within the framework of the Roman Empire. This is the period of governance of its founder and first Emperor Gaius Octavius Augustus. At that time the Egyptian civilization have already several millennia history with periods of bloom and decay of the cultural and economic life in the wide fertile valley of the great river Nile. Thousands years of grandiose architectural projects that evoke admiration and today of their scale and grandeur bearing traces of one great civilization. And in our days, nearly 20 centuries since the beginning of the new era, anyone who had the opportunity to visit Egypt in places of its ancient cities, is remained fascinated forever. This is an extremely cultural heritage of all mankind. Many museums in Egypt and around the world are dedicated to the cause to preserve and display this wealth. One of the richest museum collections related to the history of Egypt is in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden. When entering in the museum, you find yourself in the spacious central lobby and in the very first moment before you is displayed one of the most curious artefact, you stand in front of a true original ancient Egyptian Temple from Taffeh, preserved by the happy coincidence of the circumstances!

This same Temple, ever built in the beginning of our era, was located close to the Roman fortress of Egyptian village Taffeh (Taphis) in Lower Nubia. The path of the Temple from Taffeh in Egypt to the museum in Leiden has its story. When in 1960 the Egyptian government decided to be built Aswan High Dam, the question arose how to be preserved the numerous monuments and archaeological sites, which are spread over the territory, on which is to build the dam lake in Nubia. In this cause participates UNESCO, the world organization for the protection of cultural heritage of the planet and organizes an international discussion about saving the archaeological sites in Nubia. A number of international organizations, scientific and cultural institutes, and several countries took part in the vast international rescue mission. The Netherlands also participated. A sign of gratitude, the Egyptian authorities give of these countries a few monuments, including Egypt provides of The Netherlands the ancient Temple of Taffeh (Taphis), which became part of the Egyptian collection of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, Netherlands.

The Temple of Taffeh, in its original location in Egypt, was ordered to be built by Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus and had a total weight of 250 tonnes. It was built of 657 blocks brought from quarries. The building was built as the blocks were placed without mortar and binder, using only clay slurry. The walls of the Temple are constructed of 12 layers of white stones, but in the centuries they have gained a brownish color. In Egypt, the Temple survived in good condition almost 20 centuries. Between 1960 and 1071 the Temple of Taffeh was dismantled stone by stone and in 1971 was transported to Leiden, where it began to be build anew in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Dutch National Museum of Antiquities), and are provided all climatic conditions for its long-term preservation and storage. Just a few of the damaged blocks were replaced. Built in the early first century A.D. in traditional Egyptian architectural style, the Temple underwent some modifications in fourth and through eighth centuries. Compositionally the Temple has six columns with capitals supporting the roof. There is a special sculptural decoration of the facade over the entrance. Opposite the entrance is specially made architectural niche where once was placed statue. On one of the walls there is a carved inscription in Greek and Christian cross.

The Temple of Taffeh can be visited separately from the museum. Located in the central lobby, it's the first exhibit you can see immediately, entering the museum in Leiden.

Source of information: Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, RMO), Leiden, Netherlands
                     Address: Rapenburg 28, 2311 EW Leiden

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Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (fragment), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (fragment), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Egyptian Temple of Taffeh (inside), Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands

Related links

http://www.rmo.nl/english/collection/history/history-collection

http://www.leidenconventionbureau.nl/en/locatiezoeker/national-museum-of-antiquities-1