We just got back this evening from our trip to Southern Greece, called the Peloponnese. It was an amazing trip, and hopefully I will get caught up through the Egypt trip and the Peloponnese before we fly to Israel next Sunday.
So here we go, back to Egypt…
Temple of Philae:
After a long trip South by way of scary night train, we arrived in the city of Aswan, which is located on the North side of the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Nasser. The first temple we visited was the Temple of Philae (or “Love” in Eng.). It is named thus because the reliefs on the walls depict the love story between the goddess Isis and her lover Osiris. It’s a pretty gruesome story:
Set is the evil brother of Osiris, and he decides to kill Osiris and cut him up into tiny little pieces. This devastates Isis, who recovers all of Osiris’ body parts except for a certain, uh, “private” part. She reaches the simple solution for this problem by forging a new “member” our of gold. After this, Osiris is resurrected from the dead, and he and Isis give birth to Horus, whose eye gets ripped out by Set in a battle of revenge.
OK, enough with the sappy Egyptian love stories. Here’s the really neat thing about this temple: It is a very close replica to Solomon’s original Temple in Jerusalem. How do we know this? Because there are two other replicas that were built in Egypt after Judea was conquered by the Babylonians. Thousands of Jews fled to Egypt and, in light of the Temple being destroyed, the built a complete replica in Northern Egypt and another one in Southern Egypt on Elephantine Island (which is undergoing excavation as right now and is one of the possible locations for the Ark of the Covenant). When the Ptolemies took power, after Alexander’s kingdom was divided, one of the Ptolemies (the 3rd I think) built the Temple of Philae based off of the design of the two replicas of Solomon’s Temple.
Another cool thing about this temple: the entire structure had to be moved onto a nearby hill because it would have been under water after the Aswan High Dam was built.
So I can rightfully say that I have been inside a full size ancient replica of Solomon’s Temple. How cool is that?