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Temple of Kalabsha

About the Temple of Kalabsha

Nubia has always been a land of gold and treasures. The people, their habits, and the monuments of Nubia have always been quite distinctive than other historical sites in the land of the Nile. Today we will be exploring the temple of Kalabsha; one of the Nubian monuments often visited by tourists who travel to Egypt.

Relocated after the construction of the High Dam, like many other monuments in Southern Egypt including the Temple of Abu Simbel and the Philae Temple, the Temple of Kalabsha is smaller but yet never less charming.

Geographical location of the Temple of Kalabsha

The old or the original location of the Temple of Kalabsha was on the West Bank of the River Nile about 55 kilometers to the South of the center of the charming city of Aswan. However, after the construction of the High Dam, the water of the flood of the Nile used to cover the temple about nine months every year.

This was why the temple was relocated to its current location at the shores of Nasser Lake in the southernmost region of Egypt.

The Temple of Kalabsha is now factually located 1100 kilometers to the South of Cairo, the Egyptian capital, 700 kilometers to the South West of Hurghada, 400 kilometers to the South of Luxor, and about 1300 kilometers to the South West of Sharm El Sheikh.

Today, the easiest way to reach the temple of Kalabsha is through taking a motorboat to the location of the temple on the shores of the Nasser Lake. Moreover, many travelers who tour Egypt prefer to visit the temple as part of their visits’ program during their Nile Cruise journey from Aswan to the remarkable temple of Abu Simbel.

The history and the construction of the Temple of Kalabsha

The Temple of Kalabsha was constructed by the Roman Emperor; Augustus Octavius during the end of the first century BC. The temple was considered to be one of the largest and most prominent temples of Nubia during the reign of ancient Egypt.

The Temple of Kalabsha was actually dedicated to the worship of one of the gods of Nubia that was called Mandolis, the Nubian form of the ancient Egyptian god; Horus who was associated with fertility and the sun in the religious beliefs of the Nubians.

The rescue and the relocation of the Temple of the Kalabsha

The historical sites of Nubia have actually faced the threats of drowning under the water of the River Nile three times before the contraction of the High Dam. This was back in the years 1902, 1912, and 1932.

However, after the construction of the High Dam it became clear that the level of the water would be increasing largely. This was why Egypt had the initiative to call the UNESCO to have an international call to rescue the monuments of Nubia including the Temple of Kalabsha of course.

The UNESCO has commissioned a number of international experts to prepare a report concerning the feasibility of relocating the monument of Nubia. In 1960, the UNESCO announced an important call to all the countries in the world, in the first time in history, to participate in this huge project that faced many obstacles and hardships.

The temples that were dismantled, numbered, relocated and put back together under the huge project of the UNESCO included many famous monuments today like the marvelous Temple of Abu Simbel, the Temple of Philae, the Temple of Kalabsha, the Temple of Beit El Wali and many other Nubian temples.

The description of the Temple of Kalabsha today

The Temple of Kalabsha, as many other monuments in Nubia, welcomes many tourists coming to enjoy their vacation in Egypt.

The first thing tourists spending their vacation in Egypt view when they come near the Temple of Kalabsha is the little port that used to overlook the River Nile and welcome the boats arriving in ancient times with many worshipers to visit the temple.

When the guests leave the boat, an ascending rout that is 30 meters long take them to the steps located at the entrance of the remarkable Temple of Kalabsha.

A pylon dominates the facade of the Temple. However, it contains no scenes or inscriptions of any type. The pylon has an opening that leads to the inner part of the temple.

To the left hand side of the entrance inside the Temple of Kalabsha, there are some inscriptions of the builder of the temple, the Roman Emperor Augustus presenting the offerings to the god Horus. There are also some writings by Egyptian Copts who resorted to the Temple to escape from the brutality of the Roman rulers of Egypt in the first days of Christianity in Egypt.

Afterwards, there are two small chambers that were used by the priests to reach the roof of the Temple to know the time and the dates of certain religious events.

An open courtyard that contains 14 columns that has some remarkably decorated stone capitals then follows the pylon. There are also four side chambers at this courtyard.

Afterwards, before we reach the sanctuary of the Temple, there are some wonderful scenes of different section in the ancient Egyptian history that historians were able to understand and identify the characters only in some of them. There is the Roman Emperor dismissing the pigs out of the temple for religious reasons. There are also some scenes of Nubian kings defeating their enemies.

The Temple of Kalabsha has a Nilometer that was used to measure the level of the water of the River Nile. This gadget consists of a circular hole with some steps that lead to the bottom of the hole. It was used to know the percentage of the flood of the River Nile in order to estimate the value of the taxes to be paid by the peasants of ancient Egypt.

This Nilometer was established in the reign of Ptolemy IX during his ruling period in the 2nd century AD.

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