Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island, named by its shape, which resembles upright elephants in the sea, or an elephant tusk; offers a variety of attractions for visitors to Aswan’s magnificent metropolis.

What is the location of Elephantine Island?

Elephantine Island and its neighboring islands; which measure a total of 1200 meters from north to south and 400 meters at their widest point; can be seen from the west bank mountain side along Nile River; just downstream from the Nile’s first cataract, on the boundary between Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia. On the other hand, the  Island may be reached by ferry or felucca; which can be rented from the banks of the Nile River near Aswan.

Elephantine Island in Antiquity

Elephantine Island was the location of a Pharaonic era trading town named Swenet; which used the island and the turbulent waterways of the First Cataract as protection from invasion before the city of Aswan was built there. It was an important commerce center because of its strategic location immediately below the cataract, when caravans from the south unloaded their products to be taken north on the river. In addition, Elephantine Island was historically a major ivory trafficking center; providing granite for the development of many ancient Egyptian structures.

The late-Pharaonic era Temple of Khnum as well as other; partially excavated, remnants dispersed across the rest of the island are all that remains of this Pharaonic village. The Aswan Museum and an old Nilometer in the form of ancient stairs leading into the water etched into the rock with marks in Arabic; Roman; and Pharaonic numbers are also located on the island. Palm woods cover two Nubian villages in the heart of the island; which routinely host tourists and provide wonderful scenery along the river. At its northern end, there is also the Movenpick Aswan, a premium hotel.

Elephantine’s Temples are a group of temples on the island of Elephantine;

The Elephantine Island’s Temples of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III were formerly standing, but they were demolished when Muhammad Ali took control of Egypt and imposed the Muslim religion on the country’s territory.

The Temple of Satet was the earliest temple built on the island approximately 3000 BC; and it was renovated and modified throughout the next 3000 years. Records reveal that an Egyptian temple dedicated to Khunum existed during the Third Dynasty; and that it was completely reconstructed during Egypt’s Thirtieth Dynasty; just before the Greco-Roman period.

The Nilometer

The Nilometer is another popular tourist destination on Elephantine Island. In addition, it was designed to measure the water levels and clarity of the Nile during the annual flood season.
On the elephantine island, there are two Nilometers; the most famous is a corridor Nilometer related with the Temple of Satis; which is one of Egypt’s earliest Nilometers.

The Aswan Museum 

The Aswan Museum is a prominent tourist attraction on Elephantine Island; which is situated on the south-eastern side of Aswan. Museum of Aswan; which has been open to the public since 1912; houses various items that tell the story of Nubia. Also, in 1990, a new section of the museum opened, displaying antiquities found on the grounds of Elephantine Island, including pottery, mummies, weapons, and utensils. The German Archaeological Institute unearthed many of these antiques and relics; including a mummified ram of Khnum and a rare calendar called as the Elephantine Calendar of Things from Thutmose III’s rule.