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In ancient Egypt,
festivals were celebrated (completely or partially) in temples. These
were pure and sacred places, where (some) humans could approach the
deities. Thus, it is very important to be clear about the character that
the temples possessed as single entities separated from the world. This
special character is acquired in the mythical foundation, because they
are located in the lands that first emerged."
No other ancient culture constructed temples in such number. Beyond the physical stone of these temples, "we may still sense much of the symbolic nature of these structures, the deeper reasons for their construction." They have been described as mansions of the deities, models of Egypt and the universe, focal points of worship, portals to the divine, islands of order amid the ocean of chaos, spiritual engines etc.
In functional terms, there were two types of temples : (a) the houses of the gods, serving their patron deities and (b) those serving the royal cult of the "son of Re" (before -for his Sed Festivals- and secret rituals and after he died, i.e. in his mortuary cult). Throughout Egypt's history, a tick curtain of silence was drawn between the sacred, pure temples and the outside, profane world.
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