Temple of Kalabsha

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The Temple of Kalabsha in 2004
Carved relief from Kalabsha temple

The Temple of Kalabsha (also Temple of Mandulis) is an ancient Egyptian temple that was originally located at Bab al-Kalabsha (Gate of Kalabsha), approximately 50 km south of Aswan.[1]

In the 1960s the temple was relocated under the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia, and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, along with other outstanding examples of Nubian architecture including Abu Simbel and Amada.[2]


Egypt - Temple of Kalabscheh, Nubia. Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection

The temple was situated on the west bank of the Nile River, in Nubia, and was originally built around 30 BC during the early Roman era. While the temple was constructed in Augustus's reign, it was never finished.[3] The temple was a tribute to Mandulis (Merul), a Lower Nubian sun god.[4] It was constructed over an earlier sanctuary of Amenhotep II.[5]

The temple is 76 m long and 22 m wide in dimension.[6] While the structure dates to the Roman period, it features many fine reliefs such as "a fine carving of Horus emerging from reeds on the inner curtain wall" of the temple.[7] From Kalabsha's "sanctuary chambers, a staircase leads up to the roof of the temple" where one can see a splendid view of the temple itself and the sacred lake.[8]

Several historical records were inscribed on the temple walls of Kalabsha such as "a long inscription carved by the Roman Governor Aurelius Besarion in AD 250, forbidding pigs in the temple" as well as an inscription of "the Nubian king Silko, carved during the 5th century and recording his victory over the Blemmyes and a picture of him dressed as a Roman soldier on horseback."[9] Silko was the Christian king of the Nubian kingdom of Nobatia.[10]

When Christianity was introduced to Egypt, the temple was used as a church.[4]


Kalabsha Gate, ca. 30 BCE, at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, given as part of the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia

With help from Germany, the temple of Kalabsha was relocated after the Aswan High Dam was built,[when?] to protect it from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. The temple was moved to a site, located just south of the Aswan High Dam. The process of moving the temple took more than two years.[4] The temple of Kalabsha was the largest free-standing temple of Egyptian Nubia (after Abu Simbel, which was rock-cut, not free-standing) to be moved and erected at a new site.[11] Although the building was never completed, it "is regarded as one of the best examples of Egyptian architecture in Nubia."[12]

In 1971, Egypt gave one of the temple's gates to the Federal Republic of Germany out of gratitude for Germany’s participation in the rescue of the Nubian temples. Since 1977 the gate has been located in the annex of Berlin's Egyptian Museum in Berlin-Charlottenburg.[13] The gate will be moved to become the monumental entrance to the fourth wing of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, which is currently[when?] being constructed.[14]

Gallery of images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lorna Oakes, Pyramids, Temples and Tombs of Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Atlas of the Land of the Pharaohs, Hermes House:Anness Publishing Ltd, 2003. p. 208
  2. ^ "Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  3. ^ Rosalie David, Discovering Ancient Egypt, Facts on File, 1993. p. 103
  4. ^ a b c Kamil, Jill (1996). Upper Egypt and Nubia: The Antiquities from Amarna to Abu Simbel. Egyptian International Publishing Company. pp. 141–143.
  5. ^ David, p. 103
  6. ^ "New Kalabsha at Aswan". Al-Ahram Weekly. June 13, 2002. Archived from the original on January 3, 2004.
  7. ^ Christine Hobson, Exploring the World of the Pharaohs: A Complete Guide to Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson 1993 paperback, p. 185
  8. ^ Hobson, p.185
  9. ^ Hobson, p.185
  10. ^ Oakes, p.209
  11. ^ Christine Hobson, Exploring the World of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1997. p.177
  12. ^ Oakes, p.208
  13. ^ "History of Museum: (Society for the Promotion of the Egyptian Museum Berlin)". www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  14. ^ "Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection". www.museumsinsel-berlin.de. Retrieved 2020-10-28.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°36′00″N 32°49′00″E / 23.6°N 32.816667°E / 23.6; 32.816667(pre-relocation)

(f) Le temple de Temple de Kalabasha sur Egypte eternelle.org