THESE ruins are the first at which the traveller arrives on ascending the Nile above Thebes. There formerly existed here a larger Temple, which has long been destroyed; the ruins that remain are of a lesser Temple, which is supposed to have been the mammeisi, or “lying-in house,” – required for that triad of Egyptian mythology which was worshipped at Hermontis. The Temple was built by the celebrated Cleopatra, and  Ptolemy Neocæsar, her son by Julius Cæsar. It formerly consisted of an exterior court formed by two rows of columns, connected by low screens, a small transverse colonnade, and the naos or adytum divided into two chambers. Its sculptured decorations are of an inferior character, and strongly indicate the decline of Egyptian art. Here is a reservoir of hewn stone. A tradition pretends that Hermontis was the birth-place of Moses!

    In the foreground are the ruins of a Christian church; its columns of red granite lie about in confusion. It was built during the Lower Empire out of, it is supposed, the ruins of the larger Temple, of which the substructions only can now be traced. This church was of considerable extent, nearly two hundred feet long and ninety feet wide; the massive blocks of a wall, and the columns, are evidences of the care which had been bestowed upon its erection, and that it was raised when Christianity was the established religion of the land.

    In this view the length of the Temple is seen from the single erect column of the court, and the remaining columns of the pronaos, to the adytum; upon the roof of the naos is the residence of the Sheik of Erment, and every available spot within and about the Temple is occupied by the mud-huts of the inhabitants, – a desecration common to all the sacred structures of ancient Egypt.