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Philae Island is an island in the middle of the River Nile, one of the strongest forts, along the southern borders of Egypt, separating the Nile into opposite channels in Aswan. It used to contain the Temple of Philae, which was moved from its original location on the island of Philae to its current location on the island of Agilka, in the wake of the High Dam.
Its name means in Greek the beloved, however it has another name in Arabic; Anas Al-Wojod, in attribution to the legend of Anas Al-Wojod of the Arabian Nights. Philae Island had other ancient and Coptic names; Bilak, which means the end, or the border because it was the last borderline of Egypt in the south. The island was dedicated to the worship of the goddess Isis and contained other temples for Hathor, Amenhotep and others. The flood used to cover the island and its temples for 6 months each year, however, approaching the completion of the High Dam construction, the situation got worse and the antiquities were exposed to get fully drowned for good. However, UNESCO managed to undertake a magnificent rescue mission to save the temple of its dreadful fate, Isis Temples Complex was dismantled, moved and reassembled over a nearby island called the island of Agilka; prepared as much as possible so as to be similar to the island of holy "Isis" Holy, Philae Island.

The oldest parts of the temple dates back to the fourth century BC, but most of the existing parts were built by the Ptolemaic and Roman rulers, over intervals of time that lasted until the third century AD. Early Christians added their touches on the island by turning the hall of the main pillars of the temple into a small church, and built two churches at its site, moreover, their period witnessed some distortion of some of the inscriptions of the temple, as replaced by Christian inscriptions, which in turn suffered distortion and the impact of time.

Originally built for the worship of the goddess "Isis", as it was believed to find the heart of her husband "Osiris" (after his evil brother, Set, killed and cut him into pieces) on the island of "Philae"; that is why the island became so sacred.Today, visitors reach in boats to the island "Agilka", where the temple is located now, they drop in at the Hall of Nectanebo, the oldest part of the "Philae collection". Going north, there is the external temple courtyard, lined with rows of columns on both sides, until it reaches the entrance to the temple of "Isis," where there are towers of the first edifice. In the central courtyard of the temple of "Isis", there found the "Mammisi" or "house of birth", which is dedicated to the god "Horus", ancient ritual of Mammisi was held in celebration the birth of God, and the kings were keen to participate in this ritual in affirmation of their belonging to the descendants of the god "Horus."

Temple of Philae

Egypt was a prosperous part of the Romanian Empire, it was significantly wealthy and prosperous. It had new cities built; the most famous buildings, constructed in Egypt in the Roman era on the island of Philae, was the so-called "the Bed of Pharaoh" or the kiosk of Trajan after the name of the Roman governor, Trajan.

A large number of temples were constructed on the island of "Philae", perhaps the oldest of these temples is dating back to the reign of King Thutmose III (1490-1436 BC). In the fourth century BC, King "Nectanebo" (378-341 BC) built a giant temple, then "Ptolemy Veladlv", third century BC, built his great temple, and then followed by many of the Ptolemaic kings and Roman rulers; island of Philae was jammed with temples.

Furthermore, there are a large number of statues of the kings of ancient Egypt on the island of Philae.

The first ruins on the island of Philae are dated back to the reign of King Taharqa (Dynasty XXV). The Temple of Isis is considered one of the largest and most important monuments of a group of large and small temples over the island of Philae. This temple occupies about a quarter of the island's area. Other monuments on the island include are the compartment of "Nectanebo I" (Dynasty XXX), two rows of columns dating back to Roman times, the Greeks - Roman Temple of Orisnovis, Temple of Mandolees (from Roman times), and the Temple of Imhotep (from the Ptolemaic period). The temple of Hathor (the Ptolemaic period) is one of the most important small temples that surround a set of large temples and the compartment of Trajan.

Since the completion of the first Aswan Dam in 1902, the Nile water over floods the island over the most of the year, thus jeopardizing its valuable assets of peerless monuments, including precious ancient temples, booths, columns and Pharaonic gates, all embodying and representing examples of the Roman Hellenistic and Pharaonic architecture.

Nectanebo, one of the last original kings of Egypt, built a temple on the island of Philae in the first half of the fourth century BC, and later on, the Ptolemies, who ruled the country for 300 years and embraced the cult of Isis, added their own shrines and tombs on the island

Building the High Dam changed the situation drastically; as being located between the new and old dam, it will become partially submerged, throughout the year.

In addition, the daily draw of water to drive turbines that generate electricity could mean the presence of continuous ripples over almost 3 meters from the water level which in turn leads to the destruction of stones quickly. Failing to find a solution to this problem would have caused the disappearance of this breathtaking island from the map.

When this issue was raised as a pressing problem, the response was the campaign to save Nubia. It should the determination and commitment of the international community to save this area, marked with beauty and historical importance, however the question was not just saving the Philae but how to save it.

Examining the findings of this project and in particular the impact of artesian water on the monuments, the high cost requirements of the project, experts recommended another project, submitted by the Egyptian government to transfer the monuments to the island Agilka.

The rescue operation started in 1972, when ships began to dig and hammer piles to fix the first plate steel out of 3000 plates in the bottom of the Nile, so as to form a temporary dam to hold the water around the island. This step took two years to surround the island by two rows of 12 meter long piles. Within the created vacuum, a mixture of water and washed sand from the quarries of the waterfall, 5 km away, was poured, this mixture was transported across the lake through pipes, which allowed water leakage, leaving the sand to support the steel against the pressure of the lake, and so complete a life preserver around the island.


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