'Sacred lake and mammisi at Dendera.'
On the grounds of the Hathor Temple at Dendera a low wall punctuated by gates surrounds the rectangular basin of the sacred lake. In the heyday of the temple the lake provided a reservoir for the water used in offerings and rituals of purification, and it was there that the priests bathed at dawn before entering the temple to begin their service. Empty of water, a grove of palms nowadays occupies the bottom of the reservoir.
In the background we see the mammisi or 'birth house', which was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus.
A temple may have been present at Dendera as early as the reign of Pepi I (around 2270 BC) but most of the present buildings and remains can be dated from the fourth century BC till the first century AD. Photo Mick Palarczyk.