Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Notes from an Ancient Land: Philae & the Armed Guards

The Ancient Temple of Philae, dedicated to Isis and still attracting worshipers today, sits on a small island in the water between the two dams just south of Aswan. It was not built here originally by the ancient Egyptians, but rather on a small island slightly further south by the Ptolemies and dedicated by Cleopatra herself. That island is now completely under water, drowned by the rising waters after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The temple was dismantled and reassembled on its new home island. It is not easy to photograph the temple from afar as much of the surrounding land is secured and inaccessible, part of the very tough security that guards the entire High Dam area. With special permissions and clearance, access to the high rocks of Bega Island was granted and so the stake out for sunset and rising temple lights began.

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