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Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island is the location of ancient Abu (which means both elephant and ivory in ancient Egyptian), both names a reminder of the island’s importance in the ivory trade.

A stronghold was erected on the island around the beginning of the 1st dynasty (about 3000 BC) to establish Egypt’s southern border.

Abu quickly grew in importance as a customs station and commerce hub. Throughout the Pharaonic era, it served as a key launching point for military and economic excursions into Nubia and the south.

Elephantine Island
Elephantine Island is famous in ancient Egypt for its palaces and temples and for the first cataract.

The island is teeming with archaeological sites and massive ancient ruins just waiting to be uncovered.
During the course of certain digs, the German team from the archaeological institutes has already shed light on some of the old structures that have survived through the ages.
During the excavations expedition, a granite gateway to a temple that was constructed by Alexander the Great was discovered in its entirety; however, the remainder of the temple ruins were difficult to identify.
In addition, two columns that King Ramses the second had constructed were discovered.

Elephantine Island
Elephantine is located in the western side of the Nile River in Aswan

Elephantine Island Facts

During the 6th dynasty (2345–2181 BC), Abu grew in significance as a political and commercial center, and despite ups and downs, the island remained significant until the Graeco-Roman era.

Elephantine was the principal cult center of the ram-headed deity Khnum (at first the god of inundation, but from the 18th dynasty venerated as the creator of humans on his potter’s wheel), Satet (Khnum’s wife and protector of the southern boundary), and their daughter Anket.

Every year, the rushing of the flood waters was first heard here on Elephantine. As religious complexes took up more and more of the island, residential sections were forced to relocate to the island’s north or east bank.

When Christianity was established as the imperial Roman faith in the 4th century AD, the temple town of Abu experienced its coup de grâce. Worship of the old gods was progressively abandoned after that, and defensive constructions were relocated to the East Bank, which is now the city of Aswan.

Abu’s enormous remains occupy the island’s southernmost point.

The island of Aswan or the island of Elephantine. We have heard a lot about old places with unusual and exotic names, but the truth is that every name has a history, and there are some facts that lie behind every name.

One of the places that make visitors question how the island got its name is Elephantine, which is located on the island.  It is actually a combination of the terms “elephants” and “ivory,” as both Aswan city and the island was historically important hubs for the trade of ivory and granite, respectively.

Some people have suggested that the rocks that surround the island have the appearance of an elephant’s tusk.
Nevertheless, the island may be found immediately downstream of the first cataract, which is located on the border between Egypt and Sudan in the southernmost part of the continent.

Elephantine Island
In ancient times, before the city of Aswan was there, Elephantine Island was the site of a Pharaonic era trading town called Swenet

During the middle period of Ancient Egypt’s history, the city of Elephantine played a significant role. It served as a fort that protected the country’s southern frontiers and served as a starting place for military expeditions that headed toward Nubia and Africa.

According to the beliefs of ancient Egyptians, the god Khnum, who was one of the first deities to be adored and worshipped in ancient Egypt, called the elephantine his home.  The god Khnum was revered by the priests.

The opulent and architecturally insensitive Mövenpick Resort Aswan dominates the northern point.

About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.