The History of San El-Haggar and Tanis

In the first century BC, the Greek traveler Strabo used the term Tanis from the geographer Artemidorus who lived in 100 BC and spoke Tanis as a great city – polis male. This is the first mention of the city.

By 100 AD, the area of the city and its province had turned into the desert as the northern Delta subsided and the lower stretch of the Tanitic branch emerged into the Mediterranean, rendering the whole area into a desert. The area was totally inhospitable, without water for agriculture. It was for this reason that the city had been preserved relatively unscathed from looters and farmers.

Systematic looting and plundering of the temples of Tanis continued through 700 AD and it must be stated that when the temples of Tanis were being built, the ancient Egyptians were themselves reusing materials at Tanis. In order to erect the temples of Amum and Mut, the Kings of the 21st and 22nd dynasties had looted the buildings of old Ramesses IIs capital about 20 kilometers to the south.

They transported obelisk, colossi, and monolithic shrines to decorate their courts and they also demolished pylons, gateways, walls, and colonnades to build their own monuments. They even cut obelisks and gigantic statues for building material. Often the cutting did not remove the decorative stonework from the time of Ramesses II which was found on the inside of the new structures and these reappeared when the Arab masons destroyed these structures.

Because of the abundance of material referring almost exclusively to Ramesses II, archaeologists were for a long time convinced that the main temple at Tanis was largely the work of the great sovereign of the XIXth dynasty who lived in 1295-1187 BC.

This large scale looting, plundering, and transplanting has occurred over the years when a new dynasty came into power.

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