Temple of Isis
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Communing with the Old Gods at Philae Sound and Light Show
The Philae temple complex, situated just south of Aswan on a picturesque island in Lake Nasser, dates back to Ptolemaic times—some 350 years B.C.E. Although you can visit by day, the sun is merciless and will suck your energy right out from you. It's best to visit at night for the sound and light show, when the temple blazes bright against the sky and the flickering lights infuse the ancient reliefs with an air of mystery. Narrated by a cast that includes Egyptian priests, the old gods, and even the Nile itself, the story that unfolds is both compelling and pleasingly melodramatic. You'll learn about the colorful and violent myth of Osiris and Isis, the history of Philae, and the importance of the rhythms of the Nile to the ancient Egyptians. You will also hear what is perhaps the most extraordinary story of all: how the temples were moved to another island after spending years underwater. This following the construction of the Aswan dam at the start of the 20th century. It's easiest to have your hotel organize the trip for you. (They can also check the times.) Otherwise, arrange for a cab to drop you at the ticket office and to pick you up after the show. Once you have your ticket, you'll need one of the boats to ferry you over to the island and to bring you back after. The cost is (technically) included in the ticket, but you should expect to haggle in advance over the tip.
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