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1. Medinet Madi

2. Qasr Qarun and Dionysias

3. Karanis

4. Lake Qarun

5. Wadi Rayan

6. Fayoum City

7. Water wheels

8. Qasr el-Sagha

9. Umm el-Baragat

10. Dimai

11. Monastery of Gabriel


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Southern temple at Karanis, Fayoum Oasis, Egypt

Southern Temple at Karanis.

City of Karanis, Fayoum Oasis, Egypt

Remains of the town on Karanis.

The history of Karanis goes back to the 3rd century BCE, when Greek mercenaries founded it, and lasts until the 5th century CE. The location was strategic, midway between the old centres of northern Egypt and the increasingly important Fayoum Oasis.
It was clearly a rich town, although never large. Perhaps up to 5,000 people lived here, but 2 temples were built to worship variations over the god Sobek; Petesouchos and Pnepheros.
The Temple of the South is slightly better preserved than the Temple of the North. The layout of the two is quite similar, and they both contain the fascinating house of the crocodile, where a live crocodile lived and was venerated. It lies in the heart of the temple, and has a small door on the side leading into a room about 6 square metres large. Around this, there area a number of rooms and staircases leading one story up, from where humans could deal with the crocodile.
The town of Karanis is all over the area, but most of it is little excavated. The Greaco-Roman bath house mentioned in guide books is little more than a bath tub with a roof where there now only are some remains of the original wall-decorations left.
Crocodile sanctuary at Northern Temple at Karanis, Fayoum Oasis, Egypt

Crocodile sanctuary at Northern Temple at Karanis.

By Tore Kjeilen