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Philae Temple

Philae Temple

Where is the Philae Temple?

Philae was one of the islands located in the Nile River, about seven kilometers from Aswan, with the construction of the famous dam in this city; the temples were submerged, making it possible to visit only by boat. Until the mid-1990s, many of Philae’s monuments were moved to the neighboring island of Agilika as part of a UNESCO project to protect this and other historic complexes before the completion of the new dam. The Temple of Philae, known as the Temple of Isis, was a spot to worship the goddess.

This beautiful temple complex is one of the most picturesque in Egypt. It is located on Aglika Island, south of the old Aswan dam, and you must take a water taxi to the island to get there. The temple was moved to its current location following the construction of the new high dam, which threatened to submerge the old site permanently.

The history of the Philae temple

Philae Temple

The Philae Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple complex located on an island in the Nile River in southern Egypt.

The temple complex was dedicated to the goddess Isis, who was worshipped as the mother goddess of fertility, love, and magic.

The original Philae Temple was built during the Ptolemaic dynasty, between the 4th century BC and the 3rd century AD. However, much of the temple’s architecture dates from the Roman era,

When successive pharaohs and rulers expanded and renovated the temple complex including Augustus Caesar and the Roman emperor Trajan.

The temple complex was constructed on the site of an earlier temple complex, which had been built during the Old Kingdom era, but had been largely destroyed by flooding from the Nile River.

The Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt chose to rebuild the temple complex as a grand tribute to Isis, one of the most important deities in their religious pantheon.

Over the centuries, Philae Temple was added to and modified by successive pharaohs and rulers. Even after Christianity arrived in Egypt, the temple complex became an important religious center for Isis’s worshippers. However, with the decline of the ancient Egyptian religion, the temple complex gradually fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned.

Philae Temple Transfer

Philae Temple

The original Philae Temple, which was built during the Old Kingdom era, was largely destroyed by flooding from the Nile River.

The temple complex was later rebuilt during the Ptolemaic dynasty and was further expanded and renovated during the Roman era.

However, the temple complex was again damaged by flooding and earthquakes over time, which caused parts of the temple to collapse and led to the erosion of some of its structures.

In the 20th century, the temple complex was also threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam, which would have submerged the island of Philae and the temple complex underwater.

To protect the temple from flooding, it was dismantled and relocated to the nearby Agilkia Island, reconstructed, and restored to its former glory.

The Construction of the Temple of Philae

Philae Temple

The Temple of Philae was initially built during the reign of the Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom era, but much of the temple’s current architecture dates from the Ptolemaic and Roman eras.

The original temple was built of sandstone and dedicated to the goddess Isis, one of the most important deities in the ancient Egyptian religion.

Over the centuries, successive pharaohs and rulers, including the Ptolemies and the Romans, expanded and modified the temple.

During the Ptolemaic era, the temple complex was expanded and refurbished, with new structures and courtyards added.

The temple was also decorated with intricate carvings and hieroglyphics, which depicted scenes from the life of Isis and her husband, Osiris.

The temple complex was further expanded and renovated during the Roman era, adding new buildings and arcades.

The temple was also decorated with Roman-style reliefs and artwork, reflecting Roman culture’s influence on the ancient Egyptian religion.

Despite being damaged by floods and natural disasters over the centuries, the Temple of Philae remained an important religious center for worshippers of Isis until the decline of the ancient Egyptian religion.

Why is the Temple of Philae important?

The sanctity of the city of Philae during the Greco-Roman era exceeded many other towns in Egypt, as it became a center for the worship of the god Isis, which was revived during the period 552-664 BC,

as the Ptolemies sought to please the Egyptians by building temples for their beloved gods.

Ptolemy II began building the main temple of Philae for Isis. A temple was made for her consort, Philae, on a nearby island called Begih, and their son Horus or Harandot, as the Ptolemies called him, had his temple in Philae.

The priests would make their solemn way into the sacred precincts of the Philae temple with incense and burnt offerings. The deity’s statue would be ceremonially washed, clothed, and adorned in the temple and suitably implored and adored until she was once more undressed and passed and dragged and replaced in the sanctuary until the following day.

Despite the flooding and vandalism by the early Christians, the Philae Temple is one of the most magnificent holy places in Egypt.

The columns of its hypostyle hall have been amazingly preserved, and reliefs such as carvings in the musical scenes in the Temple of Hathor have retained much of their ancient beauty. Trajan’s Kiosk was Unfinished is a favorite of Victorian artists.

The ruins of the Philae temple cover four main eras: the last part of the Pharaonic era, the Ptolemaic era, the Roman era, and the Christian era.

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.