Medinet Madi

Medinet Madi, City of the Past (Biahmu Dja during the Middle Kingdom and Narmouthis for the Greeks), is considered by some to be the most important ancient site in the Fayoum.

Located on a small hill and commanding a strategic position to guard the southwestem entrance to the Fayoum, the site was probably occupied in prehistory.

Excavators have found two distinct towns in the archaeological debris.

medinet madi

Middle Kingdom Temple

Built in the Tweliih Dynasty by Amunemhet III and IV and dedicated to Renenutet, the serpent goddess, this temple is the only known Middle Kingdom temple in Egypt, hence its importance.

It was part of an ancient expansion and reclamation effort.

Expanded during Ptolemaic times, the temple lights to stay above the sands that encroach from all sides.

Facing south, the artifacts include an avenue of sphinxes and lions, and, on the ruined temple walls, now only a few meters high, a few reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.

To the east of the temple are mud-brick storerooms and foundations.

Ancient debris litters the entire site.

medinet madi

Second-century Ptolemaic Temple In 1995, a Ptolemaic limestone gate was discovered east of the temple. Excavation revealed that a second temple lay under the debris.

In front of the gate are two crouching lions and a Sphinx.

The mud-brick temple has sandstone doorways and its ruins rise to about 4 meters (13 tt).

In the debris, tablets and papyri have been found. The most important to date are four third-century oracular Demotic docrunents.

Third-century Ptolemaic Temple By far the most outstanding of these temple complexes, the third temple at Medinet Madi was dedicated to the cult of the two crocodiles.

Nearby, and almost more important than the temple is a crocodile farrn where the famous gods were bred, hatched, sacrificed, embalmed, and preserved.

In this, the only known crocodile farm in Egypt, ancient eggs and mummilied bodies are among the treasures archaeologists unearthed.

medinet madi

In the medieval romance poem, ‘TheStory of Abu Zayd,’ which was told and retold in coffee shops throughout the Middle East, Medinet Madi was destroyed by Abu Zeid when the king refused him and his soldiers food and shelter.

The site was first excavated by Achille Vogliano in 1935-39. An Italian team.

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