Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of the temple of the ancient Greek god Zeus (Jupiter) in the Sinai Peninsula. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement that the ruins of the temple were discovered at the archaeological site of Tell el-Pharma in the northwest of the Sinai Peninsula.
Tell el-Pharma, 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 dating back to the Christian and early Islamic periods.
Mostafa Waziri, general secretary of Egypt’s High Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of the temple through its entrance gate, where two huge fallen granite columns were visible. According to him, the gate was destroyed by a strong earthquake in ancient times.
Vaziri said that the ruins were found between Fort Pelusium and the memorial church at the site. Archaeologists have unearthed 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 1900s, when French Egyptologist Jean Kleda discovered ancient Greek inscriptions indicating the existence of a temple of Zeus-Kasios, but he never began excavations, according to the ministry.
The name “Zeus-Kasios” comes from a combination of the name of Zeus (in Roman mythology, Jupiter) – the god of the sky, thunder and lightning, in charge of the whole world, the main of the Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology – and the name of Mount Kasios in Syria, where once worshiped Zeus.
Hisham Hussein, director of the Sinai archaeological site, said inscriptions found in the area show that the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138) was restoring the temple. He said experts would study the excavated blocks and conduct photogrammetry to help determine the temple’s architectural design.
The excavation of the ruins of the Temple of Zeus-Kasios is the latest in a series of ancient discoveries that Egypt has been touting over the past couple of years in hopes of attracting more tourists.
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