Philae is an island in Lake Nasser, Nubia. It was formerly an island in the First Cataract of the Nile River and the previous site of an Ancient Egyptian temple complex in southern Egypt. The complex was dismantled and relocated to nearby Agilkia Island during a UNESCO project started because of the construction of the Aswan Dam, after the site was partly flooded by the earlier Aswan Low Dam for half a century.
Philae was, as the plural name indicates, the appellation of two small islands situated in latitude 24° north, just above the First Cataract near Aswan. Philae proper, although the smaller island, is, from the numerous and picturesque ruins formerly there, the more interesting of the two. Prior to the inundation, it was not more than 1,250 ft long and about 400 ft broad. It is composed of Syenite stone: its sides are steep and on their summits a lofty wall was built encompassing the island.
Beyond the entrance into the principal court are small temples, one of which, dedicated to Isis, Hathor, and a wide range of deities related to midwifery, is covered with sculptures representing the birth of Ptolemy Philometor, under the figure of the god Horus. The story of Osiris is everywhere represented on the walls of this temple, and two of its inner chambers are particularly rich in symbolic imagery. Upon the two great propyla are Greek inscriptions intersected and partially destroyed by Egyptian figures cut across them.
Photo Credit: Mikael