Heliopolis (the City of Sun)

Heliopolis or the city of sun , as the Greeks called it , is an ancient Egyptian city that was called by the Egyptians Annu . It was erected by the priests of Ra as a religious capital of Egypt that included a temple for Ra and college with a great library . The historians say that many great thinkers like Thales , Plato , and Plutarch came to this city and made use of its valuable library .
In the 5th dynasty , the priests of Ra established the temple of Ra on an artificial hill known as the high sand to the north of the town . This high sand was a symbol for the place from which Ra arose to the universe .

The interior plan of the temple involved an open court in which there was a Benben Stone that was believed to catch the sun rays every morning to highlight that Ra was in his temple . In the lower part of this Benben stone or obelisk there was a place for leaving the sacrifices for the sun god . As it is recorded , about 100 , 600 meals of bread , beer , and cake were sacrificed by the kings , priests and royal court for the god of sun .

The main plan of the temple was surrounded by a thick , high wall . It is registered that a large mud-brick replica was established next to this thick wall to be the place of Ra's solar sun . The old temple was renovated at the reign of Sesotris I who added two handsome granite obelisks with metal caps on their top to reflect the rays of the sun in the entrance of the temple .
Some historians say that Mary rested in that city and washed the clothes of her son Jesus in the water of the temple's fountain that was located nearby the temple . The major part of this city disappeared now but the myths around it still exist .

The religious system of Heliopolis remained from the third to the fifth dynasty . After that the mythology of Memphis appeared and the two mythologies began to merge together . Since the fifth dynasty , and after the priests of Heliopolis attempts to spread the name of their god allover Egypt , the Egyptian Kings paid a great attention to the association of themselves to the gods by making up new myths such as the ennead which is a group of nine gods .
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A panoramic view of Esna Barrages, Qena



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