If you want a first-hand experience of Egypt’s rich ancient culture when you visit, then the New Kalabsha should be on your checklist. This place contains old architecture depicting Egypt’s rich history. The Kalabsha is Egypt’s largest free-standing temple and is also considered by many as one of Egypt’s master architectures in Nubia
This magnificent temple was built in 30 BC in honor and for the worship of the Lower Nubian sun god, Mandulis. The Kalabsha is built with ornate rock carvings and hieroglyphics (old Egyptian writing system) depicting Egypt’s ancient traditions on its wall. The imagery on the walls shows ancient pharaohs and Roman emperors paying obeisance to the Egyptian gods.
The construction of this magnificent temple started towards the end of the Ptolemaic Dynasty but it was not until during the rule of the Roman Emperor, Augustus that it was completed.
Until 1970, the temple was located at Talmis, Kalabsha but it was moved close to the temples Beit al-Wali and Kiosk of Qertassi. The temple had to be moved from its former site in Talmis, Kalabsha because of the construction of the Aswan Dam else it would have been submerged. Presently, the New Kalabsha is situated on an island right in the middle of Lake Nasser, close to the Aswan High Dam.
Why You Should Visit New Kalabsha
There are many reasons you should consider the New Kalabsha in your Aswan tour and here are some of them:
This small but respected temple is one of the temples that you will find close to the New Kalabsha. It was also relocated along with the Kalabsha due to the construction of the Aswan Dam. The temple of Beit el-Wali was built by Pharaoh Ramesses II and is dedicated to him among gods like Anuket, Amun-Re, Re-Horakhti, and Khnum.
In the south wall of the Beit el-Wali temple, you will find pictures of Ramesses II running into battle accompanied by his two sons. Another picture on the temple’s wall showcases the magnificent wealth of the Egyptians which included lions, leopards, ivory, gold, cattle, among others. Other pictorial scenes on the temple’s wall include Nubians involved in Egypt’s building projects, a portrayal of the Egyptian army, a portrayal of the god Isis, to mention a few.
Kiosk of Qertassi
Although it is uncompleted, this small building is as elegant as could be. This Roman kiosk situated near the New Kalabsha shows forth beautiful Hathor heads decoration in the worship of the goddess who was revered by miners and quarry-men. The kiosk’s roof is built of sandstone slabs and it has four columns at the entrance and two columns at the side.
This is another temple situated close to the New Kalabsha that was also dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses II and the gods Ptah-Tatenen, Hathor, and Ptah. It is also a free-standing temple like the New Kalabsha. The courtyard of this temple has 8 statue pillars and 6 columns. At the entrance of this temple, you will find Osiris statues decorations. Its insides also feature an offering table and statues of the four gods that it is dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses II, Ptah-Tatenen, Hathor, and Ptah.
What to Expect and What To Do at New Kalabsha
To visit the dam independently, you need to pay for a ticket. Now as a tourist, it is important for you to carry your passport with you as you may run into police checkpoints where they will ask you some questions. You can also ask a police officer to give you directions to the New Kalabsha temple. Once you get to the end of the dam, you will find some local fishermen there in their boats. Tell them you want to visit the dam and they will charge you a certain fee to carry you across.
However, if you want to visit the dam with a tourist company, you will not need to ask questions for directions. Using a tourist company allows you to get a pick-up and drop-off service from your hotel. Furthermore, they will provide an Egyptian English-speaking tour guide who will tell you what to do.
The tour company will also cover your basic needs such as providing for you a bottle of water and some snacks in case you get hungry during the tour. They will also pay all your entrance fees and treat you to some hearty Egyptian delicacies after the tour. You can also decide to buy some souvenirs to take back with you; your Egyptian tourist guide may also help you in getting the best prices.
With everything that it offers, the New Kalabsha is definitely one place you should visit on your next trip to Egypt.