The ancient Egyptians called the Philae islands “P-aaleq” which has the dual meaning of end and creation. In 1902, the Aswan Low Dam was completed on the Nile River. This threatened many ancient landmarks with submersion, including the temple complex of Philae. By 1960, UNESCO had decided to move many of the endangered sites along the Nile to safer ground. The Philae Temple Complex was dismantled and moved, piece by piece, to Agilika Island 550 meters away. Here it was reassembled in the wake of the High Dam, where it remains today. That project lasted from 1977 to 1980. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It's various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos I, used as the entrance to the island; the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor; Trajan's Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house; and two pylons, celebrating the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. Although antiquities on the island date between the 26th Dynasty and the Roman Period, most of the work is that of the Romans. This was a time of immense popularity of the Goddess Isis, and this was her island, where pilgrims would come from all over the Mediterranean. Construction on the island took place over an 800 year span, and it was one of the last strongholds of Ancient Egyptian Religion which continued to flourish here into the 6th Century.
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