Hey travelers, welcome to my blog on Philae! My name is Julia and I’m from Belarus. I now live in New York and work in fashion and social media. I have always been obsessed with travel ever since I was a kid – I can’t imagine my life without it! Photography and content creation is something that comes naturally to me and it’s something that goes perfectly with travel.
Visiting Egypt was on my bucket list for a while. It was my dream to see the Pyramids of Giza (like many people). But I didn’t realize that this country has so much more to offer than just the pyramids. Egypt is a special place, indeed. It will take you on a journey back in time to the origin of your soul.
I spent 15 days in Egypt and we went all over the country. We started in Hurghada, then drove to Luxor, took a Nile River Cruise to Aswan, flew to Cairo, visited Saqqara and the desert, and eventually we flew back to Hurghada. Egypt Unlimited Tours was our tour company of choice.
Mohamed, our travel representative, handled everything for us – from booking hotels, transport, security, to buying tickets for the sightseeing places, museums and temples, and taking care of our breakfast, lunch and dinners. He was a superb guide and we had a fantastic experience.
Visiting the Philae Temple Complex
Philae is incredible but it’s not as big in comparison with other temples in Egypt. We were there for a couple of hours and I was with a big group of people. There were 30 of us and we had an official Egyptian guide, as well as a guide from our group who was doing guided meditations and explaining the detail, meaning and energy of each temple.
We were staying in the Movenpick Hotel in Aswan when we visited Philae. This temple complex is situated on a small island. You hop on a beautiful Nubian boat to get to the temple. The journey there was magnificent and so was the temple itself! It’s hidden away between these massive rocks.
When you come closer to the temple, it opens up to you and your first impressions will be a massive Egyptian style temple surrounded by a lot of sophisticated columns and temple remnants from the Greek style.
Philae was a pilgrimage spot for the goddess Isis. But there are also other temples there which were built for other deities such as Horus, Osiris, Hathor and Nephthys. Some even claim that Mary Magdalene might have been trained in one of the temples of Isis, similar to the one in Philae.
My favorite part of the temple complex was the courtyard with the rows of beautiful columns and a bunch of Egyptian cats and kittens walking around freely. Cats are a big part of Ancient Egyptian culture.
History of the Philae Temple Complex
Philae is one of the best preserved Ptolemaic temples in Egypt. People have been traveling there for pilgrimages for centuries (once a year). But the temple closed during a prominent Chrisitian period around the year 400 AD. So the temple has seen a lot of history and change over the years.
One big change was when the Aswan Low Dam was built on the Nile by the British. This happened in 1902 and it threatened to submerge ancient landmarks, including Philae and its historic treasures. Luckily, the team at UNESCO began a project to save the buildings on the island of Philae from destruction by transporting the ruins to the nearby island of Agilkia.
My Favorite Memory from this Temple Visit
My trip to Philae was filled with so many overwhelming experiences but perhaps the most interesting moment was when our group started to meditate and we all felt the energy of the temple. Our group was all female and one of the group members started chanting in their language of light (we were also all moving in a circle). This was all very memorable.
Need to Know Before you Go
The hotel we stayed at in Aswan, Movenpick, was great and I recommend it if you would like to stay in Aswan. Movenpick has a beautiful view on the water, the rooms are duplex and super spacious. I think you can also visit Philae on a Nile River Cruise as well, it’s not necessary just to stay in Aswan.
There is no strict dress code to enter Philae but still I would suggest dressing modestly, just out of respect. There was quite a nice Nubian market right outside the temple – I bought a ring with an eye of Horus there. Take a look yourself and maybe you will find some cute souvenirs there too. Don’t forget to bargain with the sellers. Enjoy your visit to Philae!