After the breakfast, we started an hour long drive through the town of Aswan to see the temple of Philae.
This post is part of the Egypt Series. Other posts in this series:
- How to fly from NYC to Cairo in business for $12
- Cairo diaries: 3 day Cairo itinerary
- Unforgettable Nile river cruise
- Exploring Luxor and Karnak temples
- Valley of Kings and Queen Hatsheput temple in Luxor
- Temples in Edfu & Kom Ombo & Galabiya party
- High dam and Philae temple in Aswan – This post
- Incredible temples of Abu Simbel
Temple of Philae
Located in a small island in the reservoir of Aswan dam, this temple was built during the Ptolemic kingdom. Due to Nile floods, it was completely underwater for several years. With the help of Unesco, this temple was systematically dislocated and moved to a nearby island. Bonkers, right?
We took a short ferry boat to the island and had a great time exploring and seeing views of lake Nasser.
We tried to refrain from shopping during our trips to avoid bringing silly tchotchkes home, but finally broke down and bought a beautiful necklace.
Aswan high dam
With water being the lifeblood of Egypt, Aswan high dam was constructed in 1970s after the low dam, which was created in 1902, was no longer sufficient. This 364 foot high, nearly 2 mile long dam holds enough water to last all of Egypt over 5 years.
It was quite a challenge to build this dam not only because of the 1-billion-dollar price tag but also with the logistical challenges that it brought. Nearly ninety thousand Egyptian and Sudanese Nubian nomads had to be relocated and the ancient temple of Abu Simbel had to be moved to make way for this reservoir.
It was quite fun to drive over the dam, which is highly regulated and patrolled by the Egyptian government. We had 10 minutes to admire the beautiful views on both sides of the dam before getting whisked away to our next stop.
Our last stop before heading back to the cruise was visiting the unfinished Obelisk. This is the quarry where the best candidates were identified. They were then precisely cut into long obelisks before getting transported to their final destination along the Nile.
We also learned about how the obelisks and columns were transported and vertically hoisted without any modern machinery.
Nubian Village excursion
In he evening, we had an optional tour to visit a Nubian family and experience a camel ride.
Some members of our group went on this excursion, but we decided to skip it and instead enjoyed a leisurely evening watching the sunset on the Nile.
We enjoyed the small pool and hot tub on the roof deck of the cruise. The sunset was beautiful and we had a great time during our last night on the Nile River.
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