Gerf Hussein

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The freestanding courtyard of Gerf Hussein temple
The inside rock-cut temple of Gerf Hussein by David Roberts.

The temple of Gerf Hussein was originally a partly free-standing, and partly rock-cut (i.e. hemispeos) temple of pharaoh Ramesses II, which was built by the Viceroy of Nubia, Setau, at a site some 90 km south of Aswan.[1] It was dedicated to "Ptah, Ptah-Tatenen and Hathor, and associated with Ramesses, 'the Great God.'"[2] Gerf Hussein was known as Per Ptah or the "House of Ptah."[3] An avenue of ram headed sphinxes led from the Nile to the first pylon, which like the courtyard beyond is also free standing.[4] The courtyard is surrounded by six columns and eight statue pillars.[5] The entrance to a peristyle court "is decorated with colossal Osiris statues."[6] The rear portion of the building which is 43 m in depth was carved out of rock and follows the structure of Abu Simbel with a pillared hall featuring two rows of three statue pillars and, curiously, four statue recesses, each with divine triads along the sides.[7]

Beyond the hall lay the hall of the offering table and the barque chamber with four cult statues of Ptah, Ramesses, Ptah-Tatenen and Hathor carved out of the rock. During the building of the Aswan dam project in the 1960s, sections of the free-standing portion of this temple were dismantled and they have now been reconstructed at the site of New Kalabsha. Most of the rock cut temple was left in place and is now submerged beneath the waters of the Nile due to their poor condition.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Dieter Arnold, Nigel Strudwick & Sabine Gardiner, The Encyclopaedia of Ancient Egyptian Architecture, I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2003. p.98
  2. ^ Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell Books, 1992. p.260
  3. ^ Grimal, p.260
  4. ^ Arnold, Strudwick & Gardiner, op. cit., p.99
  5. ^ Arnold, Strudwick & Gardiner, p.99
  6. ^ Grimal, p.260
  7. ^ Arnold, Strudwick & Gardiner, p.99

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Coordinates: 23°17′00″N 32°54′00″E / 23.2833°N 32.9000°E / 23.2833; 32.9000