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Karanis Site Museum

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Karanis (Kom Oushim) is situated 30Km north of the city of El-Fayoum. In old Greek documents this region was called Karanis and it contains 2 Temples in the north and another in the south, both dating back to the Ptolemaic Period, as well as some cisterns, public baths and houses etc. The Kelsey Museum houses more than 45,000 objects from Karanis, but this large figure does not include all of the finds. The University of Michigan, between 1924 and 1935, excavated this Greco-Roman site, dividing the artefacts with The Egyptian Government when the excavations were finished. Next to the two Temples there is a modern museum, which also exhibits some of the finds.

The plan of the 2 Temples is similar to the plan of all the Ancient Egyptian Temples of the New Kingdom with the same elements, the only difference is that the 2 Temples of Karanis contain offering tables (Altars) and burials for the mummies of the crocodile, which was the sacred animal symbolizing the God Sobek. Each Temple consists of a pylon and 3 small halls, then the sanctuary. To the western side, at the front of the Temple, there is an aquarium, which was dedicated to the followers of the crocodiles. They were constructed during the reign of the Emperor Nero, but restored during the reign of the Emperor Commodes. Like the southern Temple the northern one was consecrated for the cult of Sobek but also to other deities such as Amon, Serapes, Zeus, etc.

A dwelling area was discovered in Karanis, the houses built out of mud-bricks, and red bricks, with vaulted roof and stairs, gates, windows, kitchens, and stables. Some walls were painted and covered with colourful decorations.

To the east of the city there is a cemetery, which also dates back to the Ptolemaic Period. Recently a great number of artefacts were found, including: ostracas, jars, glassy vases, and coins, as well as a large number of papyrus, written in Greek, and of great value, which provide us with details about the aspects of life during that period, like trade deals, taxation documents, and civil contracts. Remains of Public Baths, built of burnt brick, were also discovered.

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