Esna (Isna) lies 54 km south of Luxor, 49 km northwest of Edfu i 155 km north of Aswan. It's not a very big city (ok. 40 thousand. residents) located at the dams on the Nile – former z 1906 r. and a new one, put into use in 1994 r. These dams are also bridges over the river.
Temple of Khnum
The temple of Khnum is located in the center of the modern town, ok. 200 m od Nilu. When the Copts left the tabernacle, disappeared under the heaps of sand and rubbish. Even now, when only a small part of the temple was excavated (narthex), its rest lies under almost 10–a meter layer, on which modern houses have grown up. The complex is situated in a huge pit surrounded on all sides by walls, on which there are residential houses.
The hypostyle room was brought to light by Augusta Mariette.
In the courtyard in front of the temple there is a statue of the lion-headed goddess Menhit, consort of Khnum of Esna. Six massive columns with composite heads support the building's intact roof. North-facing facade with curtain walls (40 m in length and 17 m in height) comes from Roman times (I w.) and is ornamented with cartouches of emperors: Claudius, Titus and Vespasian. Above the entrance to the architrave, there is a slightly damaged winged solar disk, accompanied by inscriptions in honor of the imperial founders of the temple. Inside the hypostyle hall, the ceiling is supported by four rows of six enormous columns with composite capitals.
Rear, the western wall of the hypostyle hall is one of the oldest parts of the temple, because it is decorated with reliefs and inscriptions from the times of Ptolemy VI Philometor and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II from the mid-2nd century BC. There are very interesting inscriptions inside the temple, m.in. two cryptographic hymns to Khnum, one written almost entirely in rams' hieroglyphs, and the other with crocodile signs . They were placed in the corners of the hypostyle room, right behind the curtain walls - one by the small door, used by priests to enter and exit the temple, second – on the opposite side of the main entrance.
The ceiling of the temple is decorated with astronomical images, on par with the reliefs from Dandara. Unfortunately, years of using torches, and then the outbreaks have made, that ceiling, and with it colorful decorations, covered with a thick layer of soot.
There used to be a processional road from the temple straight to the harbor on the Nile.