Day 283… The Nile, Elephantine Island and white-sailed feluccas: welcome to Aswan. This Nubian city is Egypt’s southern gateway to Africa and an important market town – here we take time to check out one of the country’s best bazaars as well as a trip out to the mind-blowingly cool Philae Temple by boat along the Nile. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was painstakingly cut into 40,000 pieces, moved and reassembled after the construction of the Aswan High Dam flooded its original island location.
Philea and Isis herself is a very 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. She 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. There was even a temple dedicated to her in London.
The movement of the temple was a by a joint operation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO. In an engineering feat to rival the ancients the whole island was surrounded with a dam and the inside pumped dry. Then every stone block of the temple complex was labelled and removed later to be assembled, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, on the higher ground of Agilka island. The whole project took ten years and has saved one of Egypt’s most beautiful temples from certain destruction.
Then its back for an early dinner and a quick rousing game of pool, before we have to arise at 3am. Good lord I’m gunna die.
*** It must also be said at this point that that this hotel we are at here in Aswan has to be THE WORST I HAVE EVER SEEN on ANY tour. I honestly think it should not be open. The walls are only 1 or 2 bricks thick, letting you feel the heat of the sun through the wall and construction noisily made between 5pm and midnight for some odd reason. There are holes and broken pipes everywhere… cracks in th the walls of rooms to the outside world… the elevator is not enclosed in the the building and rides exposed to the elements, electrics and all (if it ever rains you WILL get wet INSIDE THE lift)… the top floor has no roof so level 4 is also exposed to the elements… literally everything is covered in a thick layer of dust… bathrooms don’t flush often and fittings go are all broken… the list goes on and on and on and OMG!! Still… nice activities and stunning sights and lovely people… just the hotel sux a lot.