Cat_goddess_Statue. Image : Wikipedia

Bastet , the ancient ruins of Egypt were erected by the ancient Egyptians as their symbol of affection with the cat goddess known as Bast or Bastet who was also represented as lion-headed woman. She was considered as the protective goddess and the goddess of love and fertility for the ancient Egyptians. In the ancient Egyptian beliefs Bastet was known was one of Ra’ daughters, The god of the Sun and the most important god in ancient Egypt. The name (Bastet) means the warmth of the sun. Bastet was also linked by the Greeks with their Goddess Artemis.

Ruines_of_Bastet_Temple. Photographer : Mohammed Mamdoh ( Author )

Bastet , the ancient ruins of Egypt comprise of Bastet Temple which is located in the eastern Delta city known as (Per-Bast) or (Per-Bastet) which means the House of Bastet. Later the Greeks called it (Bubastis). Nowadays it is a tourism archaeological site called (Tell-Basta) on the south-eastern edge of the modern city of Zagazig, which is situated about 80 Km north-east of Cairo. The constriction works in the Bastet temple began in the reign of the 4th dynasty, exactly in the reign of Khufu, who built it to honor Bastet. Afterwards many Pharaohs like: Khafre, Ramses II, Pepi I, Osorkon, & Nkinbu amended it by adding their structures and contributed in expansion of the temple over 1700 years. This amazing temple was constructed with red granite which was brought specially from Aswan across the Nile.

Cat_goddess_Statue. Image : Wikipedia

In the 5th century, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Bubastis. He described the town as having a beautiful temple on low ground in the center of the city and surrounded by tree-lined canals, giving it the appearance of being on an island. A stone paved road led from a Temple of Hermes to a huge carved gateway which dominated the entrance to the Temple of Bastet and inside was a shrine containing a statue of the goddess. Herodotus gave a vivid account of the annual festival of the goddess Bastet, when an estimated 700,000 Egyptian pilgrims would visit the site. Many details of Herodotus’s description were confirmed by Edouard Naville’s investigation of Temple of Bastet for the Egypt Exploration Fund during 1887-1889. During the reign of the 22nd dynasty (945-715) BC, the capital of Egypt moved from Tanis to Bubastis, and the city of the cats became the capital of Egypt for 230 years.

destroyed_columns_Bastet_temple. Photographer : Mohammed Mamdoh

Bubastis was a very important city & the capital of Nome ” Am-Khent “. This  Nome (Subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt, can be understood as a district ) was comprising of the areas of lower Egypt along with the East Delta of the river, Nile. Bubastis was the Eastern gateway of Egypt which was linking between Asia and Memphis, and it was located on a very strategic geographic position, on Sizostrees canal or the Canal of the Pharaohs, the ancient Suez Canal which today works as a juncture between the Nile River and the Red sea.

Burials-of-Bubasts. Photograph by Author : Mohammed Mamdoh ( The Lovely Planet team )

Bubastis also is identified with the name of Phibeseth in the Christian Bible, book of Ezekiel 30-17.In 525 BC, the city and the temple was collapsed after the Persian conquest by Cambyses II, which heralded the end of the Saite 26th dynasty and the start of the Achaemenid dynasty.In 1906, a hoard of gold and silver vessels and jewellery was discovered by local workmen near the temple site, the earliest pieces dating to the Ramesside period. Some of these treasures were taken illicitly out of Egypt and were subsequently acquired by Berlin and the New York Metropolitan Museums.

Hieroglyphics_ carved_rock_ Bastet_temple. Photographer : Moahmmed Mamdoh ( Author )

A second similar hoard was found later in the same year from a place just few meters away from the site of the first discovery and is now preserved in Cairo Museum. There are many other worth seen sites in Bubastis or Bastet , the ancient ruins of Egypt like the Cat Necropolis, where many bronze statues of cats were found in a series of rooms under the ground during its exploration. Also this site contains a destroyed palace dated back to the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom Burials, the Ruins of Bastet temple and many other magnificent monuments.

* This article is written after the research made by Mohammed Mamdouh from Egypt as a symbol of dedication to this website.

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