Philae Things to Do

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    by June.b
  • Things to Do
    by June.b
  • Things to Do
    by June.b

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    Other Structures in Philae

    by June.b Written Jun 16, 2011

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    There are several other structures around Philae Temple. South (I think) of the island, you can still see the metal pylons protruding from the lake where the original location of the Philae Temple is prior to relocation. (See pic)

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    Antechambers inside the Temple of Isis

    by June.b Written Jun 16, 2011

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    The chambers inside the temple of Isis is illuminated by dark yellow lightings so you will see the carvings on the walls. Creepy when I was there because I was the only one inside, in fact, there were only 1 group of tourists of about 4 people with their guide in the island, and the guard, and I think 2 military officers, who are all outside of the temple. (Below is a description provided from touregypt.net)

    Three small antechambers, flanked by dark rooms, leads to the sanctuary which is lit by two small windows. It still contains the pedestal placed here by Ptolemy III Euergetes I and his wife Berenice for the image of Isis in her sacred bark. The granite shrines (naos) were removed to European museums during the 19th century. From her sanctuary, the statue of Isis would have been carried out in processions from the temple on her ceremonial barque to make the short crossing to the island of Bigeh to visit the tomb of her spouse, Osiris.

    Surrounding the sanctuary are the Osiris chambers reached by a short staircase on the west side of the temple which leads to the roof. Having Osirian rooms on the roof of the temple was standard during the Graeco-Roman Period, though here they are sunk well below the level of the roof at each of its four corners. The Osiris room has its own vestibule with scenes of gods bewailing the dead Osiris, and the inner room contains scenes relating to the collection of the god's sacred limbs.

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    The Temple of Isis

    by June.b Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    Entrance to the inside of the temple
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    When you enter the second pylon, there is a small open court, which is part of a hypostyle hall -- huge columns.

    The court at one time had a colonnade on its east and west sides, but today contains only ten columns. The little court was separated from the vestibule beyond it by screen walls uniting four columns, behind which four other columns helped support the roof of the hall. On the east site, the reliefs have been replaced by Coptic Christian crosses before which a Christian altar was erected in about 500 AD. At that time there were dedicated several churches here, including one to the Virgin Mary and one to Saint Stephen, the former being the standard Christian substitute for Isis and the second a highly appropriate replacement for Harendotes. On the side doorway leading to a room on the right is another inscription to Bishop Theodorus, made during the reign of Justinian 527-565 AD), claiming credit for this "good work". A similar inscription commemorates the archaeological expedition of 1841 sent by Pope Gregory XVI. (description provided from TourEgypt.net, I'm not claiming the credit).

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    The first Great Pylon

    by June.b Updated Jun 11, 2011

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    Aside from the Trajan's Kiosk, the 150 feet X 60 feet tall first great pylon which looks to me as the main entrance is a very prominent structure in the island. The pylon has 2 towers with the gate in the middle.

    Construction of the pylon was started by Potlemy II Philadelphus, concluded by Ptolemy III Euergetes I, the decors were done over a much longer period.

    (See pic) On the right facade of the pylon is a figure of Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos holding a group of enemies and raises his club to smite them, and that's the biggest figure and most noticeable. The restis different figures of Isis, Horus, Ptolemy XII, etc.

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    Trajan's Kiosk

    by June.b Written Jun 11, 2011

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    The Trajan's Kiosk is part of the Philae Temple complex and located just beside the edge of the lake. It was constructed by the Roman Emperor - Trajan and a prominent structure in the Philae Temple complex.

    It's a 14 massive columns structure with carved floral capitals, there must have been a wooden roof during the ancient times, now, it's open-roof. The structure measures 15 X 20 X 15.85 meters high. You'll find reliefs inside showing Trajan as a pharaoh making offerings to Osiris, Isis and Horus.

    Emperor Trajan lived around 100 AD.

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    Philae

    by June.b Written Jun 10, 2011

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    Philae as popularly known today is the main temple complex relocated from Philae island, after the High Dam was built, to the island of Agilika.

    Philae Temple was the center of the cult of the goddess Isis and her connection with Osiris, Horus, and the Kingship, during the Ptolemaic period of Egypt.

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    Philae Temple

    by June.b Updated Jun 10, 2011

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    It is aptly called as Temple of Isis, popularly called Philae Temple, but in actual Philae - the island where the temple of Isis used to be located is already under the water due to the rising water of the dam.

    The temple in Philae was relocated in a nearby island called Agilika. Agilika was landscaped to replicate the original Philae island. So the temple and other relics are now located in Agilika island -- relocated there by a multinational team under the banner of UNESCO during the 70s.

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    The Temple of Goddess ISIS mother of Horus

    by goutammitra Written Oct 28, 2010

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    The Goddess ISIS, the wife of Osiris
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    The ancient Egyptian name of the smaller island is Philak, or boundary. As their southern frontier, the Pharaohs of Egypt kept there a strong garrison, and, for the same reason, it was a barrack also for Macedonian and Roman soldiers in their turn. The first temple structure, which was built by native pharaohs of the thirtieth dynasty, was the one for Hathor.

    The island temple construction at Philae was continued over a three-century period by the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty and the rulers of the Roman Principate. The principal deity of the temple complex was Isis, but other temples and shrines were dedicated to her son Horus and the goddess Hathor. In Ptolemaic times Hathor was associated with Isis, who was in turn associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. For centuries the temple complex was the holiest site for Isis worshipers. The temple was closed down officially in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine emperor, Justinian ( 527-565 AD ). It was the last pagan temple to exist in the Mediterranean world (although a Roman temple to Isis remained in England). Philae was a seat of the Christian religion as well as of the ancient Egyptian faith. Ruins of a Christian church were still discovered, and more than one adytum bore traces of having been made to serve at different eras the purposes of a chapel of Osiris and of Christ. The Philae temple was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, until that was closed by Muslim invaders in the 7th century.

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    The Aswan Dam

    by MM212 Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    The Aswan Dam from the lake side
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    Built around 1900 during the British occupation of Egypt, the Aswan Dam was the largest of its kind at the time. The result was a higher water level behind the dam and much land was submerged under water, particularly during the flood season in the summer. The original island of Philae and its ancient ruins were one such victim. For years, the ruins were submerged under water about 6 months per year and tourists navigated between the ruins in boats. In the 1970s, with the help of UNESCO the Temple of Isis and other structures were moved from the original island of Philae to the higher neighbouring island of Agilkia, which was landscaped to resemble the original. Stone by stone, the temples were rebuilt on drier grounds. The Aswan Dam, which was meant to regulate the waters of the Nile, eventually proved insufficient for the task and its height was twice increased, yet it was clear that another larger dam was needed. Thus, in the 1960s the High Dam was created further upstream. The motorway from Aswan to its airport and to Abu Simbel crosses over the Aswan Dam, and it is seen when visiting the ruins of Philae.

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    Christian Conversion of Philae

    by MM212 Updated Mar 19, 2008

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    Coptic Cross
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    Although Philae was the last bastion of paganism and Ancient Egyptian religion in the Roman Empire, it finally succumbed to Christianity in 540 AD when the cult of Isis was finally banned by Emperor Justinian. The Temple of Isis was subsequently converted into a church with crosses carved into the walls and columns of the temple, and pagan symbols defaced. It is a striking juxtaposition of one civilisation and religion over another. The attached photos show some of the carved crosses. A few centuries later, Islam swept the region and replaced Christianity as the dominant religion, though at this point Philae was all but abandoned or the Temple of Isis might have been converted into a mosque.

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    Gate of Diocletian

    by MM212 Updated Mar 18, 2008

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    Side Arch
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    Located at the northern end of the island, near the Temple of Augustus, the Gate built by Emperor Diocletian resembles a Roman triumphal arch. The distinctly Roman structure is made up of three arches, with the centre one much larger than the two on the sides. The central arch collapsed, but the sides are intact. This monumental gate served as an northern entrance to the island of Philae.

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    Temple of Isis - Hypostyle Hall & Inner Sanctuary

    by MM212 Updated Mar 18, 2008

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    Isis and Hathor
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    Past the Second Pylon is the proper Temple of Isis. A small court with a hypostyle hall (the pronaos) leads into the inner temple (the naos), with its 12 chambers, and further into the most sacred sactuary. The walls are intricately carved with hieroglyphs and offering scenes of various emperors and pharoahs.

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    Temple of Isis - Inner Court

    by MM212 Updated Mar 18, 2008

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    The Mammisi - inner courtyard side
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    The Inner Court of the Temple of Isis is enclosed by the First and Second Pylons in the north-south axis and by the Mammisi on the west. The eastern side has a columned portico which leads into smaller chambers. The Court is of an odd shape because the Pylons were not built parallel to each other.

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    The Mammisi

    by MM212 Updated Mar 18, 2008

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    Ceiling Decorations
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    The Mammisi, or the Birth Room, is the House of the Divine Birth of Horus by his mother Isis. It was built by Emperor Tiberius in the first century AD and is located between the First and Second Pylons in the Temple of Isis. The separate structure is intricately decorated with reliefs showing scenes from the birth and life of the falcon-headed god Horus and his caring mother Isis. Two column porticos border two exterior sides of the Mammisi. The eastern portico, whose columns are topped with the head of the goddess Isis (in the form of Hathor), looks onto the Inner Court of the Temple of Isis.

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    Kiosk of Nectanebo I

    by MM212 Updated Mar 18, 2008

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    Kiosk of Nectanebo I
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    This monumental portico was built in the 4th century BC by one of the last indigenous Pharaohs, Nectanebo I of the 30th Dynasty. The Kiosk is located at the southern end of the western Portico and is distinguished by the columns topped with the face of the goddess Hathor. This Kiosk is the oldest surviving structure in Philae and is located to the left of the tourist entry point on the island.

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