Derr Temple

Firstly, The Temple of Derr was demolished in 1964 to safeguard it from the floods of; Lake Nasser, as were many others in Nubia. Later, it was relocated from its main location on the Nile’s east bank; a few kilometers to the south; to a new place near the temple of Amada. This is another of Ramesses II’s rock-hewn temples; constructed to commemorate his Sed celebration around the 30th year of his reign. In many ways; this temple resembles his other Nubian speos style temples; such as Abu Simbel.

It was known as the “Temple of Ramses-in-the-House-of-Re” by the ancient Egyptians. However, unlike many of his most well-known temples in Nubia; which appear to have been built primarily as a display of his power, often in remote locations with little actual priestly activity; many of his most well-known temples in Nubia were built; on the other hand,  it appears, primarily as a display of his authority; often in remote areas with little actual priesthood activity.


This one, though, was constructed in a considerably more populous area. on the other hand, Amelia Edwards claims that the village where it once existed was the Nubian capital at the time of her visit during her travels in Nubia. However, considering the temple’s tiny size and well-known shabby construction; it’s difficult to assume Derr was a vibrant community at the time the temple was built. Also, due to it being used as a church by early Christians; portions of the temple’s ornaments were lost; as they were with other rock-hewn Nubian temples.

However, a handful of scenes have survived; including one representing a procession of his offspring, with females on one side of the temple and boys on the other; a theme Ramesses II frequently utilized. in addition, the paint is typically vibrant where the reliefs have been retained. Also, the pylon that must have been in front of the temple; as well as the forecourt from which the temple was most likely approached; have both vanished.

What remains of the cliff-cut temple; which today consists primarily of two pillared chambers and the rear sanctuaries; all aligned north-south. Both halls are mostly square; as far as we know.

The first is around fifteen by twelve meters in size; with three rows of four pillars cut into the rock but potentially employing masonry for roofing slabs. on the other hand, the third row is made up of Ramesses II’s engaged Osiride Pillars; which are larger than the rest. This is a common topic in many of his Nubian temples; albeit the arrangement here differs from the customary one; in which the pillars and neighboring sculptures face the temple’s central axis; instead facing the courtyard.


On the side walls of this first hall; low relief pictures of combat are depicted; while themes of triumph are depicted on the back wall. The temple’s axis runs through the second hall; which is twelve by thirteen meters and five meters high. It is topped by a transverse architrave and has six tapered pillars positioned on projecting bases. The method of sketching out the plan and the low relief work were both done incorrectly here.

The ceiling was stuccoed and then painted with a sequence of vultures running parallel to the main axis. A frieze of uraei alternates with the imperial cartouche of Ramesses II along the upper half of the walls.

Lower on the walls are scenes depicting Ramesses II’s jubilees; cleansing, and reception of the bark, all with a religious theme. Shu, Tefnut, and Montu appear in other sequences. Pharaoh and a deity, such as Weret-hekau, Menhit, Ptah; and Amun-Re, are shown on the sides of the pillars.

Full Details

“But more fascinating than all these – more interesting because more unusual – is a sculptured palm-tree against which the monarch leans while presenting a gift to Amen-Ra;” Amelia Edwards writes in her book “A Thousand Miles Up the Nile.

“The trunk is depicted with meticulous accuracy; and the branches, while formalized; are precise and elegant in their curvature. The tree is merely a decorative element. It may have been introduced in relation to the district’s prosperity; the date harvests; nonetheless, it bears no religious significance and is notable solely for the naturalness of the treatment

Such naturalness is remarkable in this period’s art; since the traditional persea and the equally traditional lotus are nearly the only vegetative forms depicted on the Temple walls.” Three chapels flank the second pillared hall. A sculpture group consisting of Ptah, Amun-Re, Ramesses II; and Re-Horakhty was found in the centermost of these sanctuaries; which was meant to accommodate the sacred bark as images of priests transporting the boat on the walls suggested.