more photos

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site details

0700-1700 daily
E£12 entry
ferry from the dock in

E£20 for boat to
the island (6-8 people)

relevant links

travelogue 2/10
travelogue 2/11
travelogue 2/12


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agha khan
riding camels
high dam
dome of the winds
elephantine island
kalabsha temple
high dam memorial
unfinished obelisk
kiosk of qertassi
st simeon


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Temple of Kalabsha

The temple on Kalabsha is the largest freestanding Nubian temple in Egypt. It, took, was relocated by UNESCO with the building of the High Dam. It is now marooned on a small island reachable only by boat, near the west end of the dam. The area was under military control until 1987, and only since the early 90s has the temple been accessible to tourists. Compared to the other temples in the area (notably Philae), it is not crowded and few tourists take an hour or so to wander the site.

the first pylon on the temple, from the boat

The original temple was built in the 18th Dynasty to honor Mandulis, a particularly Nubian form of Horus, and was located bout 50 km south of Aswan. Mandulis is normally shown with an elaborate headdress of cobras and a sun disk. The elaborate temple that now exists is a Ptolemaic-roman version, which was moved to the current site in 1970. The German consortium that moved it cut the temple into 13000 blocks and reassembled them here.

the inner courtyard, roofless now

While Nubia was a powerful force in early Egyptian history, by the time of Ptolemy it was a small, insignificant power. THe Romans had abandoned Nubia by the time Diocletian was in power.

one of the elaborate column capitals in the hypostyle hall

A 30m causeway leads up from the water's edge, which is used for those arriving by boat. THe causeway and pylon are set at a slight angle to the rest of the temple, a detail that has been faithfully represented in the new location. THe first courtyard is strangely shaped, in order to bring the whole temple into line. THe columns on one side of the courtyard are closer together to make everything match up. The temple was never completed.


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dam memorial

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