(Hot?) Dam and Philae Island (Cheesesteaks?)

An early flight to Egypt’s Sector #1; Aswan. Everything is north from here. It’s adjacent to Sudan and full of Nubian culture, influence, and history. It’s here the Nile begins in Egypt. Aswan means, a city of trade, and it’s just that. Everything coming from Africa had to come through here to be traded. Alabaster, granite, and limestone were some of the primary goods. The city linked two civilizations; the Nubians and their gold mines to the Egyptians. There have never been any problems between the two cultures.

Our bus moved a still sleepy smarTours group to the middle of the “new” Aswan Dam for a stop and look toward Lake Nasser to the south and the beginning of the Nile in Egypt t0 the north. It’s not a “hot dam” today as the March sun is just rising and the temperature is flirting with 60 F with a chilling wind. It can get well over 120 F. in the summer.

In June and September, the Nile would flood. The floods would leave a layer of silt that formed the agricultural nature of the area.

This area is actually called Upper Egypt, and the north, Lower Egypt. Why? Because the Nile (the longest river in the world) is one of only a few that flows south to north. Sometimes it’s a little weird getting your East/West bearings, and with jet-lag, whether the sun is rising or falling behind the horizon.

Views from the “New” High Aswan Dam

Obviously, there has always been a need to control the Nile, to preserve its water, and more recently, to harness its power. The New High Dam has met those needs. The new dam covers 32,000 acres, and is 3,800 meters long on top.

The original “Low” Dam was constructed from 1898-1902. The new high dam construction began in 1960, and completed in 1976 with the help of many other nations and thousands of workers. Many Nubians were drowned during its construction, and people from 42 Nubian villages had to be relocated. Because many ancient temples would be “drowned” by newly formed Lake Nasser, some of them were deconstructed and given to the nations who helped in the building.

The beautiful Temple of Dendur was donated to the US, moved stone, by stone, and reconstructed in a special addition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It’s always been Marsha’s and my mecca at the Met. To see its place of birth was astounding and moving. If you’ve never been. NOW, you must go!

Philae Island (Agilika Island) – The Temple of Isis

Nope, no cheesesteaks in this Phila. The Temple of Isis had attracted pilgrims for thousands of years. But, after the building of the original Aswan dam in 1902, the temple was flooded for six months of the year. The new High Dam would have submerged it forever, so the massive complex was dismantled stone by stone, moved 20 meters higher, and reconstructed on Agilika island.

From the Old Dam to the Island

We explored the Temple of Isis, the Temple of Hathor, the Kiosk of Trajan, and the extent of this amazing reconstruction (still in progress)

What a gratifying experience to be here, moved and preserved after continuous use since the 7th century BC.

Reluctantly had to sail back to our bus, but excitedly moved into our riverboat for our cruise up the Nile from upper Egypt to lower (huh?).

Up early to the sunrise from our cabin window, sailing to Komombo. Are you rested and ready?
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to (Hot?) Dam and Philae Island (Cheesesteaks?)

  1. Sekita Ahlstrom says:

    It is so wonderful to be travelling with you two again. Lots of love from Sekita

Let us know if you enjoyed the post!