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Temple of Kalabsha, Aswan, Egypt. 2016 | by Grangeburn
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Temple of Kalabsha, Aswan, Egypt. 2016

The open court of the temple with the doorway to the hypostyle hall. On the lintel above is the winged-sun disc.


Kalabsha is another Nubian temple which was part of the rescue operation for monuments threatened by the rising waters of Lake Nasser. The temple was transported to the present site courtesy of the German Federal Republic in a salvage operation sponsored by UNESCO in the 1960s. Its original position was 56km south of Aswan until it was dismantled and moved to the island now called New Kalabsha, just south of the Aswan High Dam. It can be seen from the Dam through a good pair of binoculars.

Kalabsha Temple, ancient Talmis, was built over an earlier New Kingdom site during the Roman Period for Caesar Augustus. It was dedicated to Isis, Osiris and Horus-Mandulis, who was the Roman aspect of the Nubian solar god, Merwel. This is perhaps the finest example of a freestanding temple in Nubia and is constructed from sandstone blocks. A granite gateway which was discovered when the temple was relocated was given to the Berlin Agyptisches Museum. The quay leads to a pylon which is built at a slight angle to the rest of the temple. The temple was built in the traditional Egyptian style. An open court, Ptolemaic columns and screen walls lead to the hypostyle hall which is decorated with scenes of rituals depicting Min, Khnum and other gods of Southern Egypt. The sanctuary area consists of three chambers each leading into the one behind, with a pair of columns in each room. The Holy of Holies was in the farthest room, which was later used as a Christian church. Augustus is depicted on the walls offering to Mandulis. There is a passage surrounding the inner temple building similar to other Ptolemaic temples.

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Taken on February 5, 2016