Dendera is an archaeological locality in Egypt just outside the town of Qena (62 km north of Luxor) in the region of Middle Egypt.
The modern Arab town is built on the ancient site of Ta-ynt-netert which means ‘She of the Divine Pillar’, or Tentyra which is Greek for Dendera. It was the capital of the sixth nome or province of pharaonic Upper Egypt, also named Nikentori or Nitentori, which signifies willow wood or willow earth. Others give the derivation from the sky and fertility goddess Hathor, also associated with Aphrodite, who was specially worshiped there. The crocodile is recognized as the deity of the city and was also venerated as such in other Egyptian cities, which caused many quarrels, notably with Ombos.
TOUR ATTRACTION: The Dendera Temple complex which contains the Temple of Hathor is one of the best, if not the best, preserved temple in all Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. The present building dates back to the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was completed by the Roman emperor Tiberius, but it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu (pyramid builder Cheops, second king of the 4th dynasty [c. 2613c. 2494 BC]), in which was found the celebrated Zodiac of Dendera now in Paris; there are also the temples of Mammisi and of Isis, of the Roman or Ptolomaic epoch.
The Dendera Temple of Hathor is undergoing restoration and conservation as part of a highly successful site management plan implemented by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The cleaning of its walls is revealing the ancient coloration. The site is now well labeled and there is a new visitor center where a short film is shown. Visitors can manage their way to the roof of the temple by means of the same stairs, well worn now, that the ancient priests of Hathor climbed to bring their offerings and shrines. There is a small open air chapel on the roof. From here you get to experience the peacefully beautiful panorama of the temple area and the country side.
• By taxi – Service taxis can be hired in Luxor for the round trip. Expect to pay about LE 140-160 and to travel in a police convoy (which can mean some delays.)
• By boat – A number of Luxor hotels, such as the Novotel, organize day excursions to Dendera by coach or Nile cruiser (lunch usually included, journey there and back takes most of one full day, with a short visit only at the actual temple). You can travel to the Dendera site on the Lotus boat, operated by the Iberotel. You can book your ride directly or through an agency.
Read also: The Dendera Zodiac