Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor (Deir el-Medina)

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The Hathor Temple is an ancient Egyptian Temple in the "workers' village-settlement" of Deir el-Medina. Built by Ptolemy IV Philopator, the Ptolemaic era temple is one of the largest structures in the workers' village of Deir el-Medina. It was dedicated to goddesses Hathor and Maat.

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The building itself is small but belongs to one of the best preserved examples of a temple from that period that is still standing today.

Construction of the temple began during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator (221–205 BCE) and continued during the reigns of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–164; 163–145 BCE) and Ptolemy VIII Euregetes II (170–163; 145–116 BCE).

During the Christian era, the temple of Hathor was converted into a church from which the Egyptian Arabic name Deir el-Medina ("the monastery of the town") is derived.

circa 220 BCE

The Temple of Hathor lies north-east of the ancient village inside a mud-brick wall enclosure. It is the last Egyptian temple to feature a brick enclosure wall imitating a fortress. Ruins of several older structures lie beneath, or partly beneath the temple enclosure that were systematically torn down in order to vacate space for the new edifice.

The architectural plan of the Hathor temple, built of sandstone, features a small vestibule with two columns. Steps at the rear of the vestibule lead to a pronaos defined by two columns, pillars, and curtain walls. A tripartite shrine at the back of the temple is dedicated to Amun-Sokaris-Osiris, Hathor-Maat, and Amun-Ra-Osiris. A flight of stairs leads from the western side of the pronaos to the roof.

circa 220 BCE

First systematic excavations of the temple began in 1939 under the supervision of French Institute.


circa 220 BCE

Built in the form of a pylon, it provides access to the outer vestibule of the temple. Other than the door it self and the architrave above it, the facade is entirely plain.

circa 220 BCE

Hypostyle Hall and Pronaos
The vestibule or the hypostyle hall contains two papyrus columns. The walls of the pronaos are decorated with the scenes of Ptolemy VI worshipping various gods. The columns with papyrus capitals are done in the late period style. The pronaos leads to three chapels; the door of the central one is surmounted by seven heads of the goddess Hathor. A staircase led to the terrace above the building.

circa 220 BCE

Central Chapel
The middle chapel was dedicated to Hathor and its entrance was accordingly decorated with a frieze of seven Hathor heads.


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