The Temple of Philae

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The Temple of Philae is an amazing example of the ancient temples of Egypt and the most remarkable historical site of the wonderful city of Aswan.


The word Philae, according to the ancient Greek language means the beloved. Many Temples were actually constructed on the Philae Island for the worship of the goddess Isis, as the island became the center of the worship of this famous god for a long period.


The first sections of the Temple of Philae were constructed in the ruling period of Taharqa, one of the Nubian kings that ruled over parts of Egypt during the reign of the 25th dynasty in the 7th century BC.


However, some historical records assert that the oldest section of the Temple of Philae was built in the ruling period of Tuthmosis III at the end of the 15th century BC. Most of the temples of Philae we view today were actually constructed in the Greco Roman period in Egypt. The first temple to be built in Philae was erected in the 3rd century BC.


Afterwards, many constructions were added to Philae with the Temple of Imhotep being the most popular among them.


When the High Dam was built in 1971, the water of the River Nile surrounded the Temple of Philae almost all year long. This would be damaging for the stones of the temple. The problem was to find the most suitable approach to rescue the amazing temple that is now visited by a large number of travelers who spend their holidays in Egypt.


The Egyptian government suggested the project of relocating the temple to the nearby island of Agilika. The process of this relocation started in 1972 when huge bars of iron were positioned in the River Nile around the temple to prevent more damage from occurring. This step of the process took two years to install more than 3000 iron bars around the temple.


Afterwards, the Temple of Philae was divided into huge pieces of stones that were numbered in order to know the position of each stone when the engineers assemble the temple. At the very end and after an extremely long and complicated process, the Philae Temple was relocated to its new place 500 meters away from its original position.


The first part of the Philae Temple is the building of Nectanebo III that was built in the 4th century BC. This is actually the most ancient construction in the whole complex.


. This wide-open courtyard is quite fascinating with huge pillars. The stone capital of each of these columns has many different flower-like shapes.


At the end of this courtyard, the temple of Isis, the main construction of the complex is located. The temple of Isis is one of the most remarkable examples of the blend between the ancient Egyptian and the Roman arts and architecture.


Ptolemy XIII constructed the first pylon of the temple dedicated for the worship of the goddess Isis. The famous portrait of the king attacking his nemesis characterizes this huge well-preserved pylon.


Situated to the west of the impressive pylon, there is the Hadrian Gate. Constructed at the end of the 4th century AD, this remarkable gate has some notable features. This was among the last sections to be added to the Temple of Philae.


Another interesting section at the complex of Philae is the small yet charming temple dedicated to the goddess Hathour built in the 2nd century BC.

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