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Elephantine Island in Aswan

Elephantine Island, which got its name because of how it looks like a standing elephant in the water or, as some might say, an elephant tusk, offers a range of attractions for anyone visiting the lovely city of Aswan.

Where exactly is Elephantine Island?

Elephantine Island, along with some of its neighboring islands, can be seen from the west bank hillside along the Nile River. It is situated just downstream from the first cataract in the Nile, on the border between Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia, and measures a total of 1200 meters from north to south and 400 meters at its widest point.
Elephantine Island can be reached by ferry or using a felucca that can be rented from the Aswan riverbanks.

Elephantine Island in the past

Swenet was a Pharaonic era trading town that used Elephantine Island and the choppy waters of the First Cataract as defense against attack in antiquity, before the city of Aswan was there. It was a crucial trade center where caravans from the south unloaded their goods to be transported north on the river thanks to its advantageous location just below the cataract. Elephantine Island was once a significant hub for the ivory trade, and it supplied granite for the construction of numerous structures in ancient Egypt.

The Temple of Khnum, which dates to the late Pharaonic period, and other partially excavated ruins are all that are left of this Pharaonic settlement on the rest of the island. Aside from the Aswan Museum, the island is home to an ancient Nilometer in the form of steps that lead into the water that were carved out of rock and marked with Arabic, Roman, and Pharaonic numerals. Two Nubian villages that frequently welcome tourists and offer breathtaking scenery along the river are concealed in the middle of the island by palm groves. At its northern end is an opulent hotel called the Movenpick Aswan.

The Elephantine Island Temples

When Muhammad Ali took control of Egypt and imposed the Muslim faith across its lands, the Temple of Thutmose III and the Amenhotep III were destroyed from their former locations on Elephantine Island.

Around 3000 BC, the Temple of Satet, the island’s first temple, was constructed. Over the following 3000 years, the temple underwent renovations and modifications. Records indicate the existence of a Third Dynasty Egyptian temple dedicated to Khunum, which was completely rebuilt during the Thirty-first Dynasty, just before the Greco-Roman era.

The Nilometer 

Another famous attraction for tourists visiting the Elephantine Island is the Nilometer. It was originally built to measure the Nile’s water levels and clarity during the annual flood season.
Two Nilometers are located on the elephantine island; the most popular one is a corridor Nilometer which is associated with the Temple of Satis being one of the oldest Nilometers in Egypt. 

Jewish involvement

It is known that there was once a Jewish community on Elephantine Island in the fifth century BC. This community practiced polytheism and built and maintained their own temple where sacrifices were made to a variety of deities.

you can have a tour in Elephantine Island in Aswan during your Nile cruise trip between Luxor and Aswan

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