Ruins of the ancient temple of Zeus were excavated in Egypt

The ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek god Zeus were unearthed by Egyptian archaeologists on the Sinai Peninsula.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the temple ruins were found at the Tell el-Farma archeological site in northwestern Sinai.

Tell el-Farma, also known by its ancient name Pelusium, dates back to the late Pharaonic period and was also used in Greco-Roman and Byzantine times. There are also remains from the Christian and early Islamic period.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists excavated the temple ruins through its entrance gate, where two huge fallen granite pillars were visible. He said the gate was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in antiquity.

Waziri said the ruins were found between the Pelusium Fortress and a memorial church on the site. Archaeologists have found a set of granite blocks that were probably used to build a staircase for worshipers to reach the temple.

Excavations in the area date back to the early 20th century when the French Egyptologist Jean Clédat found ancient Greek inscriptions showing the existence of the Temple of Zeus-Kasios, but he did not excavate it, according to the ministry.

Zeus-Kasios is a mixture of Zeus, the god of heaven in ancient Greek mythology, and Mount Kasios in Syria, where Zeus once worshiped.

Hisham Hussein, head of Sinai’s archeological site, said inscriptions found in the area show that the Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138) renovated the temple.

He said experts would study the excavated blocks and conduct a photogrammetry survey to help determine the architectural design of the temple. The temple ruins are the latest in a series of ancient discoveries that Egypt has presented in recent years in hopes of attracting more tourists.

The tourism industry has pulled off the political turbulence after the popular uprising in 2011 that overthrew the longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The sector also received further blows from the coronavirus pandemic and most recently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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