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Temple of Zeus discovered in Egypt

Featured Temple of Zeus discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of a temple of the ancient Greek god Zeus on the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian authorities said on Monday.

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

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

Pelusium, Pelusion in Greek, was located at the easternmost mouth of the Nile River. Nearly four miles long, the site is surrounded by soft, salt-covered mud and wetlands, the remnants of two Nile branches that once surrounded the city. The ancient name of the city comesfrom the Greek pelos.

On the eastern border of Egypt, the city was of great strategic importance. It was a starting point for Egyptian missions to Asia and a entry point for foreign invaders trying to conquer Egypt. In peacetime, it was an important trading post and in the Greco-Roman period became one of the busiest ports in Egypt, second only to Alexandria.

Ships from the eastern Mediterranean and caravans from Syria-Palestine came here to exchange goods such as wine, oil and honey, which were transported to Egypt and the Red Sea by barges on the Nile and land routes.

The Temple of Zeus was destroyed by a strong earthquake

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists had excavated the temple ruins through its entrance, where two huge fallen granite columns were visible, according to the Associated Press. The gate was destroyed in a strong earthquake in antiquity.

Waziri said the ruins were found between Fort Pelusium and a monumental church on the site. Archaeologists have found a set of granite boulders 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 the French Egyptologist Jean Clédat found ancient Greek inscriptions that showed the existence of the temple of Zeus-Cassius but did not reveal it, according to the ministry.

Zeus-Cassius is a combination of Zeus, the god of the sky in ancient Greek mythology, and Mount Cassius in Syria, where Zeus was once worshiped.

Hisham Hussein, director of Sinai archeological sites, said inscriptions found in the area indicate that the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138) renovated the temple.

He also said that the experts will study the discovered stones and make a photogrammetry to help determine the architectural design of the temple.