While in Aswan, my friends and I had visited the Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae UNESCO sites, and I was in awe. Not only for the architectural wonder of these temples built for their Egyptian Gods, but for the shear fact that these temples were dismantled and reconstructed to save them. Last century these ancient Egyptian temples along the Nile River, were in danger of flooding by the rising waters of the Aswan High Damn. In 1960, UNESCO launched a campaign that lasted two decades, which moved both Philae and Abu Simbel to higher ground.
The Sanctuary of Isis complex was dismantled and then reconstructed on the nearby Agilkia Island. The UNESCO campaign protected this and other complexes prior to the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970.
This outstanding archaeological area contains such magnificent monuments as the Temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel and the Sanctuary of Isis at Philae, which were saved from the rising waters of the Nile thanks to the International Campaign launched by UNESCO, in 1960 to 1980.– UNESCO World Heritage Site website
Prior to us visiting Philae Temple, our private guide drove us to the Aswan High Dam in order for us to understand the background on the relocation of this site. If visiting either Philae or Abu Simbel, I highly suggest a visit to the Damn for a short history lesson. It will round out your learning experience on why and how UNESCO stepped in.
More than likely if you are visiting Aswan or Luxor for the temples, you will be hiring a private guide to take you there. It is very important that you hire an official guide in Egypt to take you to the sites, and just not someone on the sidewalk asking you if you want to take a boat ride. On our trip to Aswan and Luxor, plus our cruise along the Nile River, we chose Egypt Gift Tours who I highly recommend. They had professionally coordinated us on private tours for all of our trips from Aswan to Luxor.
The journey is a short boat ride from the shores of the Nile River to a little island where Philae Temple now resides. Our guide handled everything for us, from purchasing the tickets to getting us situated on a boat to bring us to the Sanctuary of Isis.
Don’t forget to tip your boat driver and guide!
Along the way to Philae Temple you can do some shopping, if that interests you. There are typical souvenir shops prior to the dock enterance but if you are looking for specialty items, wait until you get on to the docks. Before hopping on your boat, you will find beautiful hand crafted and alabaster items for sale.
The Sanctuary of Isis at Philae
Philae Temple is considered as one of the last temples to be constructed in the classic Egyptian style. It was completed in around 690 AD and was built for the Goddess Isis, who was one of the most important deities of Ancient Egypt.
Aswan is also called the “Nubian City”, so this temple was considered to be a very honored site among both the local Nubians and the Egyptians. Philae temple was such a sacred site, that the high priests were the only people allowed to live at the sanctuary because the God Osiris was buried on the original temple’s island.
Philae Temple was an impressive site with its columned courtyard, multiple temples, impressive hieroglyphics and the surrounding waters of the Nile River. It is hard for me to imagine loosing this magnificent temple as well as Abu Simbel if not for the efforts of UNESCO, sixty years ago. Piece by piece these temples were dismantled, moved to safer ground and then reconstructed- all in the name of historical preservation.
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