Exploring the relocated Temple of Isis – Philae Temple, Aswan

Philae Temple is without a doubt one of the best temples to visit in Egypt, and the spectacular Temple of Philae Sound and Light Show at night makes it worth a visit.


Moreover, often referred to as the Temple of Isis, it is present in the list of all good quality Nile cruise holidays, and also in several Aswan package tours.

Philae Temple IML Travel

History of Philae – Place of Pilgrimage since ages


Bring completed in around 690 AD, Philae Temple is believed to be the last ancient temple that was constructed in “classic” Egyptian style.


Also, it is one of the various temples throughout Egypt that were built in honor the goddess Isis. It is an amazing example of the cult that surrounded her story, and one which incorporates Osiris and Horus.


In previous times, both the Egyptians and the Nubians considered Philae Temple to be one of the most sacred of all temples.


Was it that special? Or was there any reason/story behind their strong belief?


Surprisingly, they believed that Osiris had been buried where the temple is made now. Nobody other than priests has the permission to go there. What’s shocking is that no birds flew over this temple, and that even aquatic animals never even came near the shores of this island.

Philae Temple IML Travel

What to See & Do


  • First Pylon: Entrance of Temple


Things not to miss: There is a huge relief that depicts Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos. He is holding the hair of a band of enemies and raising his club to catch them. Isis, the falcon-headed Horus of Edfu, and Hathor are on the left.

Above these are two reliefs of Neos Dionysos that presents the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt to Horus and Nephthys (right). Also, they are giving incense to Isis and Harpocrates (left).



  • Forecourt: Main Courtyard


Things not to miss: This main courtyard of the temple has interesting reliefs in the last the chamber. They showcase scenes from Horus’s childhood which has Horus as a falcon in the swamps of Delta and Isis is breastfeeding him.



  • Second Pylon: Doorway to enter the Inner Temple


Things not to miss: There is a beautiful relief of a large figure of Neos Dionysos on the lower part of the doorway. It is depicting the slaughtered animals that were sacrificed to Horus and Hathor.


Next, you will see two small reliefs.

Right Side – the kings giving a garland to Horus and Nephthys.

Left Side – the kings offering incense to Osiris, Isis and Horus and simultaneously pouring water on the altar.


See More Places in Aswan:


  • Vestibule: Entering the Inner Temple


Things not to miss: Although the reliefs were left unfinished but still they are worth a visit.

The south wall door has amazing relief that depicts Horus seated on a bench with Nephthys and Isis giving the crowns of Lower and Upper Egypt. Thoth (on left) and Seshat, the goddess of writing (right), writes the name of the king on a palm branch. Also, behind Thoth is the air god Shu, holding a sail.


Further, the reliefs shows Osiris tomb at Abaton, with a crocodile carrying the body of Osiris.


On the left is the door where unfinished reliefs can be seen. It shows the king making grants of land while above are three lines in Meroitic cursive script.

The right wall has a famous relief that shows the source of Nile River – the god of the Nile. They are standing with a snake wrapped around his body. Moreover, they are pouring water from two jars under a rocky crag on which a vulture and a falcon are resting.

There is the soul of Osiris in the form of a bird within the sacred grove Hathor, Isis, Nephthys, Horus, and Amun worshiped it.



  • The Sanctuary: Isis House


After you pass several antechambers, you will finally come to the Sanctuary which is lit by two small windows.


The granite base in this area holds the sacred barque showcasing the image of Isis. On the left of the first antechamber sits a small room that has reliefs of the kings in the presence of Isis.


And lastly, on the west side of the room stands a door that leads out of the temple to arrive at the Gateway of Hadrian.



  • Gateway of Hadrian


Things not to miss: On the lintel, Hadrian is making offerings to Osiris, Isis, and Harsiesis, Nephthys, and Harendotes.

  • On the left is the sacred relic of Abydos,
  • On the right hand is the djed (one of the more ancient and commonly found symbols in ancient Egyptian religion) pillar of Osiris.

Within the gateway, Marcus Aurelius is represented in the existence of Osiris and Isis. While Marcus Aurelius makes offerings of food, including grapes, and flowers to Isis.



  • Byzantine Era Remnants

The northern end of the Philae temple complex houses various Roman and Byzantine remains. These includes two Coptic churches, the remnants of a monastery, and the ruins of the Temple of Augustus.

Philae Temple IML Travel

Tips and Tour while Visiting the Philae Temple Complex


  • Sound & Light Show: Philae temple has an amazing sound and light show. It is available in English, French, German and Spanish. If you visit at night, you will get a memorable and more exciting experience as the light adds a different dimension to this place.
  • Timing: The best time to visit is early morning, soon after the site has opened.


Remember: Most people visits Philae as part of an Abu Simbel day trip, so midday until 2pm is when the site is at its busiest.

  • Philae’s Boatmen: You have to sit in a rowboat in order to get to the Philae temple complex. The “official” price for a return boat ride is EGP10 per person. And remember that this is the boatmen’s main form of income; an extra dollar means more to them than to you.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen: The sun here in Upper Egypt can be harsh — even in the early morning or nearing sunset.


Getting Here

  • By Abu Simbel Tour Bus: All the Abu Simbel day trip tour buses add Philae temple into their itineraries. This is a amazing option for those short on time. But remember, if you visit this way, you will be part of a large crowd.
  • By Private Taxi: Trips to Philae are easily arranged in Aswan.

“I am that person who dropped her B.Tech (really!) and chose to travel, specifically travel blogging. I’m Manmeet Kaur, a crazy, fun loving and adventurous person from Delhi. I knew I had an interest in writing since I was in school. I didn’t want to be an engineer, doctor or I would say a teacher. My plans were different. I wanted to travel which I guess no one,  specially girl had chosen to do in my family for a living. And like other human beings on this planet I have big dreams too. But my ultimate dream is to travel the world and share my experiences through writing and blogging.” 🙂

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