The site gets its name from Arabic kum ‘mound’, a term found in the names of many archaeological sites, and ‘Ombo’, which ultimately derives from ancient Egyptian Nubt, interpreted as meaning ‘the golden (city).’ The city’s temple is dedicated to two deities: the crocodile god Sobek, and the falcon god Har wer (Horus the Elder). Although an earlier temple once stood here already during the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1069 BC), the present structure was built during the Graeco-Roman Period (332 BC–395 AD), with the earliest attested royal name in it being Ptolemy VI Philometor’s (180–145 BC). Most of the decoration was completed by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos (80–51 BC).
The temple has a unique design. Because it is dedicated to two gods, it has two parallel axial passages running through its columned halls, terminating in two sanctuaries, one for each. The southern axis (on the right) is Sobek’s, and the northern (on the left) Harwer’s.
Sobek was a god of fertility associated with water, the inundation, and vegetation, worshipped here alongside his wife the goddess of love and motherhood Hathor and their son the moon god Khonsu. The god of kingship Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis and, as Harwer, he is in adulthood, victorious over Seth, the murderer of his father. He was worshipped here alongside his wife "Ta senet nefret" ‘The Perfect Companion’ and their son "Pa neb tawy" ‘The Lord of the Two Lands’.
In addition to beautiful column capitals, the temple of Kom Ombo also features fascinating scenes decorating its walls. Calendars list festivals and other cultic activity, along with their dates and accompanying rituals. During the Roman Period, in the 2nd century AD, a scene was carved featuring what are believed to be surgical instruments, demonstrating how sophisticated ancient Egyptian medicine was. In the centre of the very back of the temple, Sobek and Harwer can be been on their respective sides of the temple in a deeply symbolic scene, inspiring awe in ancient pious visitors to this sacred place.