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Philae Temple Excursion, Egypt

As the water rose behind the small dam, it became apparent that the Temple of Philae would now be partly submerged for half of the year on its island, with tourists having to pass through the halls and colonnades by boat. With the construction of the High Dam, it became apparent that the temple would be completely submerged, along with several other key Nubian monuments. UNESCO launched a bold scheme to save these monuments and they were moved block by block to dry land.

Philae was moved to another island, to preserve the special atmosphere of the temple. It was a centre for the cult of Isis, whose worship spread far and wide in the Roman Empire, and was Christianity's principal rival between the third and the fifth centuries.

Today, after a short boat ride, you disembark into a colonnaded courtyard which leads into the temple itself, flanked by wonderfully carved pylons. Off to the side is the Kiosk of Trajan, a small compact temple with delightfully carved columns.

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Audley Travel specialist Cheryl

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