Qasr Ibrim, the sole Nubian monument still visible on its original location, was previously perched on the lip of a 70-meter-high cliff some 60 kilometers north of Abu Simbel, but now it is surrounded by water, which laps at its margins.
From 1000 BC forward, there is evidence that Ibrim served as a military town, and that in 680 BC, the 25th-dynasty Pharaoh Taharka (690–664 BC), who was of Nubian descent, constructed an Isis temple out of mud brick.
With its six temples that converted to Christianity two centuries after the rest of Egypt during the Roman era, the town was considered one of paganism’s final strongholds in Egypt.
It later developed into one of the most important Christian cities in Lower Nubia, and it managed to hold out against the Muslims until the 16th century, when a force of Bosnian mercenaries serving with the Ottoman army captured and occupied the place.
Its name, “Fort of Ibrim,” comes from the Arabic word “Qasr,” which translates to “fort.”
It was originally known by the ancient name Pedeme, which comes from the Meroitic language. In the ancient texts, it was referred to by the name Primis; in Coptic, it was called Phrim; this name was corrupted into Ibrim in Arabic.
We really do not know the exact origin of the site, though it is possible that it was initially constructed during the Middle Kingdom when the kings of the 12th Dynasty were working to establish control of the trade route along the Nile.
However, the earliest archaeological evidence for the site dates back to approximately 1000 BC. This is a significant amount of time after the Middle Kingdom had come to an end.
It is obvious that its location, so high above the Nile, was immediately recognized for the strategic importance it possessed, and as a result, there were battles fought over its ownership throughout the centuries and even into modern times.
They remained and were married into the local Nubian population, who used a portion of the cathedral as a mosque during their time there.
A sandstone cathedral erected above Taharka’s temple, dating from the 8th century, is the most spectacular of the remaining structural relics.