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Things to do in Nubia

Best attractions to visit in Nubia

1. Elephantine - Nubia

Elephantine

Located on the Nile River in the northern part of Nubia, there is a small island called Elephantine that has some of the largest archaeological sites in all of Egypt. The island falls within the jurisdiction of Aswad, southern Egypt. Elephantine extends over 1200 meters from north to south and 400 meters in an east-west direction. It can easily be accessed by a boat or ferry from the west bank hillsides of the Nile. In ancient times, Elephantine was known as Abu and was considered to be the border between Nubia and Egypt. According to Egyptian mythology, this island was where Khnum (the ram-headed god of the cataracts) once resided. He was tasked with guarding and controlling the waters of Nile. Apart from Khnum, two other deities were thought to have dwelled on this island. These included Satis (the goddess of war) and her daughter Anuket (the goddess of fertility). Various artifacts have been unearthed from Elephantine - most of which date back to pre-dynastic times. These include the famous Elephantine Calendar of Things. Following the Dynasty regimes, the island became a major source for granite and limestone which was used in constructing pyramids, sphinxes and other monuments. The temples of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III are also located on this island - making it a popular tourist attraction of Egypt.

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2. Great Temple of Ramses II - Nubia

Great Temple of Ramses II

The Great Temple of Ramses II is comprised of massive rock structures that were made to house the second king of Ramesses. The temples stand one with another and the first one is able to run from the Abu Simbel downriver to the Philae. The construction of the temple is complex. The temples were built in the year 1244 BCE. The Temple of Ramesses was created for the beloved Amun. Tourists can enjoy six rock temples which are present in the Nubia reign. The purpose of these temples was created to impress the neighbors of the Egypt.

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3. Kalabsha Temple - Nubia

Kalabsha Temple

The Temple of Kalabsha is one of the oldest Egyptian temples in the area. The temple was located in the Bab al Kalabsha which is approximately 50 km from the Awan region. The temple is old enough to be constructed in the era of Augustus and was never finished as the reign of the ruler ended abruptly. The temple was designed as a tribute to lower Nubian sun god. Tourists are able to look through the carvings of the wall that give an insight into the history as well as the quality of construction of the pyramid.

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4. Temple of Amada - Nubia

Temple of Amada

The Temple of Amada is one of the oldest temples in Egypt. The tomb was constructed by the Pharaoh Thutmose III. The temple was constructed in the 18th Dynasty. The tomb was constructed by Amenhotep II. The structure is maintained through a wide variety of decoration programs. The name Amun was destroyed while a few minor restorations were made which can be viewed by tourists. The carvings, inspections and the drawings on the wall of the temple outline the history as the makers of the temple saw.

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5. Dendera Temple complex - Nubia

Dendera Temple complex

The Dendera Temple Complex is a 19th Century temple which is complexly built around the 2.5 kilometer region. The complex is located in south-eastern Dendera, Egypt. The temple is one of the best preserved temples in the area and it is complex to use. The area is known as the sixth Nome of Upper Egypt. The complex is spread out over 40,000 square meters. The hefty mud brick has an enclosed wall. The site has popularly been used for building chapels and shrines. Tourists can enjoy mud brick compound walls which can be seen from the temple roof.

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6. Abu Simbel - Nubia

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is a small village in Nubia, located in Southern Egypt (towards the Sudan border). The village is known for its two massive rock temples, which have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. These temples were carved out of the mountainside when Pharaoh Ramses II ruled Egypt in the 13th Century BC. The temples were built to serve as a lasting monument to the Pharaoh himself and his queen Nefertari, as well as to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The Great Temple at Abu Simbel is another important landmark. It was constructed in 1265 BC, after nearly 20 years of work-in-progress. The temple was dedicated to ancient Egyptian gods Amun, Ptah and Ra-Horakhty. Four colossal statues stand at the main entrance, as homage to the gods who look after the temple. Abu Simbel’s temples stand over 40 meters in tall. It is widely believed that the temples’ axis was positioned as such by ancient architects that on February 22nd and October 22nd each year, the sun rays would penetrate the inner sanctuary and illuminate all the sculptures carved on the back wall, except for the one of Ptah - the god of the Underworld. With its historical monuments, a daylight tour of Abu Simbel is a must.

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7. Philae - Nubia

Philae

Philae is a small island that is located in the reservoir of Aswan Low Dam on Lake Nasser, Egypt. This site once contained an entire temple complex from the Ancient Egyptian era. The construction of the Dam in 1902 led to several floods in the region and this prompted the government to relocate the temple network to the nearby Agilkia Island. During the time of the Pharaohs, Philae served as a worshipping ground. Several temples and monuments were constructed to praise the gods, along with tombs of the elite so as to make their journey to the afterlife, smooth and peaceful. The region also had a strong garrison to keep Romans and Macedonians at bay. Following the Pharaohs, the Ptolemaic dynasty led to rapid expansion and development in the region. The principal deity worshipped in Philae was the Isis. However, other temples were built to honor Harendotes and Hathor. Apart from Ancient Egyptian culture, Philae served as a seat for the Christians in the area as envisaged by the ruins of a Church discovered in the 17th Century AD. Today, the small island is a major reservoir for Egypt and serves as one of the most popular tourist attractions of the northern Egypt.

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