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Aswan Travel Guide

Best of Aswan

The Temple of Philae:

Philae Island was a rocky island in the middle of the River Nile, south of Aswan. Philae in Greek or Pilak in ancient Egyptian, meaning 'the end,' defined the southern most limit of Egypt. It was begun by Ptolemy II and completed by the Roman Emperors. The Temple of Philae was dedicated to the goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. These 3 characters dominate ancient Egyptian culture and their story possesses all the drama of a Shakespearian tragedy. The Temple of Philae

For many centuries the temple of Philae complex was the holiest site for Isis worshippers. Philae was officially closed in the 6th century, by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. The temple was a seat of the Christian religion as well as of the ancient Egyptian faith. The 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 temple was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, until that was closed by Muslim invaders in the 7th century.

Isis was a important figure in the ancient world. She is associated with funeral rites but as the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus she is also the giver of life, a healer and protector of kings. Isis was known as 'Mother of God' and was represented with a throne on her head.

During the Roman period her cult spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. The temple was nearly lost under water when the high Aswan dam was built in the 1960s. Fortunately the temple of philae was rescued by a joint operation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO.

Other Attractions in Aswan:

The Temple of Kom Ombo
The Temple of Edfu

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