Aghurmi Temple near Siwa, Egypt



Located 4 km from Siwa is the temple Aghurmi. This temple probably housed the famous Greek oracle of Jupiter Amun (Darius) and dates to the 26th Dynasty, though there was possibly an earlier temple located on this spot. The temple has a forecourt, a vestibule and a sanctuary.

The base of the western column of the Doric-style facade, erected by the Greeks, remains. It's remarkable to note the decorations which show King Ahmose making offerings to the gods, and on the reverse side the Siwan governor doing the same. This suggests that the Siwa was far enough removed from the Egyptian Empire for her leaders to rule almost as king.

Yet this must have been a well known religious center, for when Alexander the Great came to Egypt for the first time, he headed directly to Siwa to consult the oracle in about 331. Thus, the religious significance of this site must have been known prior to Alexander's occupation and the beginnings of the Greek period of Egypt's history. In fact, it was this temple that the Persian King, Cambyses sent an army of 50,000 men to destroy in about 524 BC.

They were lost in the desert between the Kharga and Siwa Oasis, never to be heard of again. Nearby is the rock of Aghurmi, marking the ancient town, and just by this is a second Temple of Amun, built during the 30th Dynasty and known as Umm El-Ubeyda. Most all that is left of the second temple is a wall covered with inscriptions.

Last Updated: September 6th, 2011

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