The Dandara complex is one of the best-preserved temple enclosures in Egypt. Its huge temenos wall contains two monumental gates enclosing the main temple dedicated to the goddess Hathor, the small temple of Isis, two mammisi and a ruined Coptic church.
Two of the buildings at Dandara are important in relation to astronomy: the temple of Isis, orientated (presumably deliberately) upon the rising position of Sopdet (Sirius), one of the celestial manifestations of Isis, and the temple of Hathor. This fact that the latter is oriented astronomically is established by the various stretching-of-the-cord ceremonies and related texts engraved on its walls. The decorations also include various feast calendars, the famous circular Zodiac in the ceiling of a small chapel (a replica, the original now being in the Louvre Museum in Paris) and a second Zodiac on the ceiling of the hypostyle hall.
The temple at Dandara includes the remains of constructions by Old, Middle and New Kingdom pharaohs. For example, the temple of Isis shows evidence of early foundations with slightly different orientations. However, most of what is seen today is the work of the Ptolemaic rulers and the first Roman emperors. The circular Zodiac apparently dates to the reign of Ptolemy XII or perhaps to that of his daughter Cleopatra VII (c. 50 BC) while the astronomical decorations on the ceiling of the hypostyle hall were apparently created during the reign of Tiberius or even later.
The Zodiacs represent an important astronomical feature of the temple of Dandara. Recent studies suggest that they were maps of the heavens showing stars, asterisms and constellations belonging to the different astronomical traditions existing in Ptolemaic Egypt. The monumental temple of Hathor is orientated to the rising of Meskhetyu (Ursa Major) in the north-east but its axis is also perpendicular to the course of Nile. This suggests that, as at Karnak, the location of Dandara was carefully selected to combine astronomical and topographic orientations reinforcing the cosmic symbolism of the whole landscape. In the Ptolemaic period there was a close connection between the temples of Dandara and Edfu, and a divine pilgrimage took place between the two sacred precincts.
Egypt ; Arabic: مصر, Miṣr or Máṣr) is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Western Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 82 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.