Elephantine Island in the Nile is an oasis of tranquility. There is no traffic, the view of the river is beautiful and the residents are the nicest people in Egypt. Elephantine Island is the perfect place to base yourself when visiting Aswan. Read more in this article about the things to do, how to get there, where to stay, and more.
Elephantine Island in Aswan
The ancient town of Abu, located at the southern end of the island, was once a trading and economic center. The island's name also reflects its former role in the ivory trade. As caravans from the south of Egypt unloaded their goods to be transported north on the river. From this Pharaonic-era settlement, the late Khnum Temple and other partially excavated monuments spread over the rest of the island remained.
Some people think of the island's name as having any large wild mammals anywhere on it. But the reason for calling it this name is that it comes from the large gray granite rocks at its southern end, which some believe said to be like a group of elephants standing in the water. The island offers a variety of Aswan attractions that make it difficult to miss on any Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor.
The island has the fabulous Aswan Museum as well, the palm forests cover 2 villages from Nubia that usually receive tourists and stunning landscapes on the river. There is also a luxury hotel, Movenpick Aswan, located at its northern end. Elephantine Island can be approached by means of a small boat or a felucca ride on the Nile in Aswan which could be hired along the shore.
Temples and cemeteries are located at the southern end of the island, including a sanctuary of the goddess Satet, who was the protector of Elephantine. A sanctuary of the goddess Satet was founded in the 2nd dynasty and the temple was rebuilt here during the Middle and the New Kingdom, as well as during the Ptolemaic era.
The Temple of Satet
The first temple built on the island was the Temple of Satet around 3000 BC; the temple went under renovation and modifications over the next 3000 years.
The southern tip of the island, once of strategic importance and great fame, has been transformed into a major tourist attraction and a huge open-air museum with stairs and paths.
The temple of Khnum
The ruins of a temple of Khnum, the god of the battering ram associated with the first cataract of the Nile, are also found on the island. The main terrace of this temple dating back to the 30th dynasty remains as well as a monumental portal. Together with Anuket, goddess of the island of Sehel, these three gods formed the triad of the Elephantine area.
Temple of Khnum at Esna
The Ptolemaic sanctuary of Kalabsha
Dedicated to the Nubian god Mandoli and saved from Nubia, was rebuilt at the southern end of the island. Nearby, a statue of an elephant, the heraldic emblem of the area (found during the excavations of Aswan), has been placed.