Elephantine Island is a small island in the middle of the Nile, facing the beautiful city of Aswan in Upper Egypt. Elephantine Island is a classic tourist spot in Aswan that you cannot miss.
It has been the heart of this city for hundreds of years, and people have lived there since 3000 BC. Most tourists to Egypt must visit Elephant Island, a famous symbol of Aswan.
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Elephantine Island in Aswan
The island’s strange name has nothing to do with the fact that no large animals are found there, despite what you might think at first glance.
Although there are no elephants on the island, its strange name is believed to come from the gray granite rocks to the south, which look like a group of elephants. Others say the name comes from the island’s shape, which resembles an elephant’s tusk.
The tourist value of the island and its location
At the time of the pharaohs, Aswan was on this strip of land. At that time, it was called Swenet, a trading town that hid from enemy attacks by keeping out of the way of the river currents.
It was an important trading center because it was next to a waterfall. Caravans from the south unloaded their goods there before sending them to the north.
Although the island is small, it has so much to see and do that it would be a shame not to go to beautiful Aswan.
Temples of Elephantine Island
Temples of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III once stood on the sites of Elephantine Island. However, it was destroyed once Muhammad Ali took control of Egypt and imposed the Islamic religion on its lands.
The first temple built on the island was the Satet Temple around 3000 BC, which underwent restorations and alterations over the next three thousand years.
Records show the existence of the Egyptian Temple of Khnum from the Third Dynasty, which was completely rebuilt during the Thirtieth Dynasty in Egypt before the Greco-Roman era.
Nilometer on Elephantine Island
Another popular attraction for tourists visiting Elephantine Island is the Nilometer. It was initially built to measure the levels and clarity of the Nile waters during the annual flood season.
Two measures of the Nile meet at Elephantine Island; The most popular is the Nilometer which is associated with the Temple of Satis and is one of the oldest Nilometers in Egypt.
Located on the southeastern side of Aswan on Elephantine Island, the Aswan Museum is a popular site among tourists. The Aswan Museum has been open to the public since 1912 and contains many artifacts that tell the history of the Nuba region.
Another section of the museum was opened in 1990, displaying objects discovered on the territory of Elephantine Island itself, such as ceramics, mummies, weapons, and utensils.
Many of these objects and artifacts were found by the German Archaeological Institute, including the mummified ram of Khnum and a rare calendar known as the Elephantine Calendar of Things from the reign of Thutmose III.
It has been documented that a Jewish community lived on Elephantine Island around the 5th century BC. c. They built and maintained their temple, offering offerings to various deities while following polytheistic beliefs.