Elephantine Island, Aswan, Egypt
Elephantine Island is one of Egypt’s Nile islands, located in the city of Aswan, with an area of ​​about 1500 meters in length from north to south and 500 meters in width.
Its height is about 12 meters, and the population of this island is 5800 people, the vast majority of whom are Nubians. They live in two villages in the centre of the island, namely the “Siw” and the village of “Koti”, and most of them work in handicrafts, agriculture, and tourism. Nubian character in the streets Sandy and colourful scenery……
The island was known in ancient Egyptian texts as “Abu,” meaning the land of the elephant or ivory. That island was an important port for receiving African ivory extracted from the tusks of elephants. Then the Greeks called it “Elephantine”, meaning elephant ivory, which is the island’s name so far.
Elephantine Island was one of the strongest forts on the southern borders of Egypt in ancient times. This island took on long historical importance that began from the pre-dynastic era until the Roman era. Due to its important location, the ancient Egyptian took it, the capital of the first region of Upper Egypt, its proximity to Granite, semi-precious stones, and gold quarries made it play an important role in the history of Egypt during these ages, especially in its relationship with the countries of the south.
The importance of this island for the ancient Egyptians varied from the religious, touristic, military, commercial and commercial aspects.
The oldest construction work on the island occurred in the late prehistoric times and extended until the early Islamic era…
And the main idol of the island was the idol “Khnum”, which is represented in the form of a ram’s head, and there is a temple for him on the island, but its stones were looted earlier, and only the columns of the main entrance remained, and near it, there is a tomb of rams for the god Khnum.
“Satt” is considered the deity of the region in the era of the ancient Egyptians, and Sat was the goddess of floods according to the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. Various ruling families built temples for her. The first temple belongs to the first and second families, that is, within 2800 years before the birth of Christ. The second temple of the beginning of The Sixth Dynasty, i.e. around 2250 BC, the Third Temple was built by King Senusret I in 1950 before the birth of Christ, and Queen Hatshepsut built the fourth and final temple; in 1480 before the birth of Christ…..
A stepped pyramid was erected on the island that represented the symbolic presence of the king at the end of the Third Dynasty in 2450 before the birth of Christ.
Remains of pottery and stones from prehistoric times were found on the island of Elephantine and a group of antiquities dating back to the ancient Egyptian state, including the temples of Thutmose III; Amenophis III, the temple of Khnum, in addition to a Greek-Roman cemetery…
Also, one of the most important finds on the island is the “Elephantine papyri in Aramaic”, which were found in the homes of some members of the Jewish community who lived there as military protectors during the days of Persian rule in the sixth century BC. On the island of Elephantine also many of the ruins of the ancient city except for the temples, It contains the ruins of the old port and the Nilometer at the southeastern tip of the island and the Aswan Museum.
One of the most important things associated with that island is also the rock tombs carved on the west bank of the Nile in Aswan, northwest of the island, in a mountain slope now known as the Dome of Hawa, which the nobles or rulers of the island chose to be their eternal headquarters in the other world.
On the island, there are remnants of stone temples from different eras, and on the gate of one of the southern halls of the temple, inscriptions represent Alexander II in the form of an Egyptian king. Amon loves him.
There is also a Nilometer on the island, which dates back to 7000 years. Almost all aspects of the life of the ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile River. If the water level rises, a flood will occur. If the water level drops, drought occurs. And both meant disaster. Fortunately, the Nile Hydrometer was invented to read and predict the water level and thus know the country’s fate. [3]
A person who could read the scale of the Nile’s water possessed knowledge of Egypt’s most sacred treasures. Even the prediction of rain before it fell was a key factor in determining peasants’ taxes. It is not strange that this high technology, after its invention, is preserved in temples, and no one is allowed to access it except the priests and rulers.
On the island of Elephantine in Aswan, there are two Nilometers, one in the temple of Khnum and the other in the temple of Sett; the first was in the form of a square basin while the second was of a traditional architectural style. It was in the form of a house with a staircase that sloped to the river with holes in the wall.
There are also booths on the island to commemorate the rulers of Elephantine, the most important of whom is “Haqqa Ib”.
The Elephantine Island Museum (Aswan Museum) is located in the southeastern part of Elephantine Island. The museum building was erected in 1898 as the seat of the chief engineer of the Aswan Reservoir, Sir William Wilcox. The establishment of the Aswan reservoir and those that were later found and excavated by foreign missions. The museum includes antiquities dating back to the pre-dynastic era, as well as some statues of kings and individuals and some mummies of the ram symbol of the god Khnum, various types of pottery, architectural and decorative elements, and some Of the coffins and tools of the daily life of the ancient Egyptians and some funerary paintings.