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Philae Temple, Lake Nasser

This post is part of the collection from Classic Egypt – a trip up the Nile

Philae Temple, accessible by boat only, was the last temple on my Nile journey and perhaps the most modernised for tourists.

View from Lake Nasser, Philae Temple, Lake Nasser

After the building of the Aswan dams, the water levels in the Nile rose such that the temple and the island that it was on would eventually be completely submerged. With the help of UNESCO, the contents of the entire island was shifted to a nearby island, originally called Agilkia, in the 1960s. A similar project was also carried out for Abu Simbel.

With the reconstruction of the temple on the new Philae Island, an outdoor theatre was also constructed. It is here, at night, that the island now hosts a sound and light show.

Coptic altar, Philae Temple, Lake Nasser

The temple itself was already bearing marks of previous generations. In one spot, an altar was created by the early Christians, complete with a Coptic cross, as they had used the site as a church. I also got the sense that some of the architecture had adopted more of the Ptolemaic influences – including temples which were more reminiscent of Ancient Greece.

Columns, Philae Temple, Lake Nasser

Sailing around the island, you get a real sense of the shift of time.

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