Ancient Town of Elephantine, Aswan
The whole of the southern part of Elephantine, part of which is occupied by the more southerly of the two villages, was once covered by the ancient town of Elephantine, the remains of which were first explored in the 19th C. and since 1969 have been undergoing excavation and investigation by modern methods.
Temple of Khnum
Some 50 yards southwest of the Temple of Satet is a granite doorway that originally gave access to a Temple of Khnum built by Nectanebo II over an earlier temple. During the Roman period large terraces were built on the river side of both temples. The reliefs show Alexander II, son of Alexander the Great, offering sacrifices to various gods, in particular the ram headed Khnum. On a section of wall which is still standing the Emperor, followed by Nile gods, is shown sacrificing to Khnum; the faces of both the Emperor and the god have been deliberately defaced. Close to the Temple of Khnum is the cemetery of the sacred rams, with sarcophagi still in situ (mummies in the Aswan Museum and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo).
Temple of Satet
A few paces west of the Nilometer, surrounded by brick walls, are the substructures of a small Temple of Satet, built over an earlier temple and incorporating a variety of architectural fragments (column drums, blocks bearing the name of Tuthmosis III, Ramesses III, etc.). The inscriptions on the solitary stump of column still standing refer to Trajan as the builder, but there was a temple on this site as early as c. 2900 B.C. The temple is being reconstructed, with financial assistance from German industrial firms, to show its successive phases.
Ancient Residential Elephantine
Various other buildings described by the French expedition in the early 19th C. were later pulled down, among them two temples built respectively by Amenophis III and Tuthmosis Ill. The residential area of the ancient town lay to the southwest of the temple area. During the Old Kingdom the town was enclosed by a wall on the south side, and a gateway in this wall can still be identified.
To the north, between the temples of Satet and Khnum, are the remains of a small temple, formed out of three earlier chapels, dedicated to Hekaib, Prince of the Nome of Elephantine, whose rock tomb is on the west bank.
Views of the First Cataract
From the higher parts of Elephantine, particularly from the Hill of Kom, there are fine views of the rocks of the First Cataract some brown and some black, some rugged and some smooth between which the Nile pursues a tranquil course.
Southwest of the site of the ancient town of Elephantine, at the southern tip of the island, is the so called Kalabsha Kiosk, a structure in the style of a temple of the Ptolemaic period put together from fragments of the Kalabsha Temple left here during the operation for the rescue of the Nubian temples, in the course of which the stones of the Kalabsha Temple were temporarily stored on Elephantine.
Ancient Town of Elephantine Pictures
Map of Aswan Attractions