Temple of Amun (Tanis)


The major attraction of Tanis is the statuary tumbled all over, but there are teh faint remains of a temple dedicated to Amun here, although only foundations remain. Two huge mudbrick walls surround the entire site, and the faint walls of the temple pylon itself can be found.

Very little rmeains of any of the walls — indeed, looking at the map at left, it is hard to compare any of the structures we saw with the plan. The French have been excavating this site, and have discovered the tombs, the walls of the temple, a temple of Horus, and the faint remains of a temple of Mut.


faint foundations of the temple

Almost nothing remains of the temple of Amun here (except the perimeter walls that surround the entire necropolis. It’s likely that these walls are reconstructions of stone found at the site.


mudbrick walls that surround the site

Rulers from the 21st and early 22nd Dynasties added to the temple complex, and Nectanebo I (380-362 BC) used stone from earlier building projects of Sheshonq and Psamtek to construct the sacred lake. 

The nilometer and huge cisterns remain, which is impressive, considering the distance that the modern nile is to the site. Tanis sits up a huge hill and I can only surmise that it was surrounded by water at one time, to fill the sacred lake and the nilometer.


the cistern (well) on the site, connected to a nilometer, shown below

Nearly all temples have a nilometer — it was used to track the inundation of the Nile and predict the crops — and thus set the tax rates. A good inundation meant good crops, and thus the pharaoh and the priests could levy higher taxes.

In some cases you can walk down to the bottom of the nilometer and see the markings. The shaft on Elephantine has depths written in several different languages — hieroglyphs, demotic, greek, and others.

A few bare foundations are all that remain, but you can make out the outlines if you really look (and have a good imagination!)


the bottom of the cistern/nilometer, still with a little water


the higher mudbrick walls on the permieter — 10 meters tall or more


fallen obelisks inside the undulating walls of mudbrick


one of the large pieces of a frieze, just laying about


random stacked stones, making an entranceway to the “temple”


more stone pieces, salvaged from around Egypt and made into monuments


another piece of carved frieze, with deep cartouches of Ramesses II


a triad statue, amidst the colossi and other fragments

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