Not far off the well-beaten-path of ancient temples in Egypt is the Mandulis Temple, also known as the Kalabsha Temple for the island on which it originally stood. This temple is one of several that was disassembled and moved to higher ground in the 1960s, ahead of the creation of the massive Lake Nasser reservoir, which would have submerged them. The reconstructed temple now stands on New Kalabsha Island near the western shore of Lake Nasser, just south of the Aswan High Dam.
Mandulis is a late-Greek-early-Roman-era temple, built around 30 BCE. The temple is Nubian, not Egyptian, but Nubian assimilation into Egyptian culture was pretty much complete by this late date and the temple’s design is typically Egyptian. Mandulis was the Greco-Roman version of the Nubian sun god Merwel.
Lake Nasser cruises include Mandulis in their touring itineraries. Our Splendors of Ancient Egypt program includes a Lake Nasser cruise. If you’re not taking a Lake Nasser cruise, we can get you there by other means, just ask.
Karnak Temple is one of the main attractions in our mystery city. Also nearby are the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Hatshepsut. These are all must-see sites for visitors to Egypt. The city, about 300 miles south of Cairo in the Nile Valley, was the capital of ancient Egypt during its most prosperous and powerful time and the cult center of the god Amun. Even after its prime, the city was legendary throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond for its wealth and beauty. The ancient Greeks and Romans called it Thebes. To the ancient Egyptians, it was Waset. Today it is known by a different name.
Can you name that city?
See below for answers.
This is the so-called Avenue of Rams or Ram-headed sphinxes leading to the 1st pylon (monumental gateway) of the sprawling Karnak Temple in Luxor. Like the famous sphinx at Giza in the north of the country, these sphinxes have the body of a lion. The figures between their legs represent Ramesses II, one of the country’s most influential ancient kings.
Can you name that country?
See below for answers.
Abydos is among the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, with remains of structures and tombs from predynastic times into Ptolomaic times, 3,000 years of Egyptian history.
Abydos began as a royal necropolis of the pre-dynastic capital Thinis and cult center of the regional god Khentiamentiu. Royal burial was well-established here by the time Egypt was unified under Narmer (or Menes, possibly the same person), founder of the 1st dynasty around 3,100 BCE. The kings of the 1st dynasty and two from the 2nd dynasty were buried here before the capital was moved north to Memphis.
The local god Khentiamentiu eventually merged with the god Osiris, king of the dead. Osiris was believed to be buried at Abydos, and the religious significance of Abydos as cult center of Osiris continued after the capital moved. For thousands of years, an annual procession reenacted stories from the life and death of Osiris and drew pilgrims from all over Egypt. A Great temple of Osiris was built, rebuilt, expanded and embellished by successive pharaohs across three millennia.
Egyptians with means sought to be buried near Osiris. Short of that, a personal burial monument (cenotaph or stelae) was placed near the tomb of the god. Thousands of these cenotaphs have been found. A number of pharaohs built mortuary temples at Abydos, although entombed elsewhere. The Temple of Seti I, is one such temple, and the best preserved monument at Abydos today.
Because nearby accommodations are limited, we usually offer Abydos as a day trip from Luxor, about 3 hours drive one-way. An Abydos visit from Luxor is often combined with a stop at Denderah, which is about midway between.