Temple of Philae Aswan

Temple of Philae Aswan

Philae aka Pilak in ancient Egyptian text meant the end and was used to describe the southernmost tip of Egypt. The temple of Philae in Aswan is a famous landmark which is believed to have started by Ptolemy II and finished by the Roman Emperors. The temple of Philae is built in the honor of goddess Isis who is the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. All these three gods played a very crucial role in Egyptian culture.

More about Isis

Isis was a very important figure and was widely worshipped among people during the ancient Egyptian era. The goddess is linked with funeral rites but is also the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus after which she was also designated as the giver of life, protector of the kings and a healer. Isis was also known as the mother of god and was mostly represented by a throne on her head. During the Roman period her cult spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. There was even a temple dedicated to her in London.

The Rediscovery

The temple of Philae in Aswan is said to have been nearly lost after the construction of the high Aswan dam in the 1960s. The temple however was rescued due to a joint venture of the Egyptian government and UNESCO. The whole island was dried by pumping the water and by surrounding the same with a dam. After the pumping of water every stone block from the temple complex was removed and labeled and the same was reassembled again just like a colossal jigsaw puzzle on the higher ground of the Agiika Island. The whole restoration and shifting work of the temple took almost ten years but the result of saving one of the most beautiful of temples of ancient Egypt was worth all the time, Money and efforts.

More about the temple

The Temple of Isis is among the greatest of temples from ancient Egypt and is spread over a large area covering almost a quarter of the island. The temple is the main one on the island and is very huge, complete and has pylons and beautiful scenes painted. The temple shows similar style with other temples of the New Kingdom and also shares similarities with elements from the Greco roman period. The temple consists of the 1st pylon or the great traditional pylon which has two towers and an open court which moves to the 2nd pylon. After this is the Hypostyle Hall with 10 columns, and then 3 vestibules leading to a sanctuary. The Kiosk of Trajan, the Chapel of Osiris, The Temple of Horus, The Temple of Hathor, The Gateway of Tiberius, the Gateway of Diocletian, and the Temple of Augustus.

The Temples of the island were neglected, and some of them even destroyed, the main Temple was converted to a church for some time. After all the damage many restoration works have helped in making the temple accessible to tourists again and it’s noted that the Temple of Philae was reopened in 1980.