East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The burial place of Osiris

The temple of Isis at Philae used to stand guard at the first cataract of the Nile.
With the construction of the Aswan Dam the area was flooded, and later the temple was moved to a new location.
The original Philae is mentioned by numerous ancient writers, including Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Ptolemy, Seneca, Pliny the Elder. It was, as the plural name indicates, the appellation of two small islands, and the reputed burial place – one of the burial places – of Osiris, and only priests were allowed to live there.

And right now we can take a look at the temple and surrounding buildings in this fine animation.

The approach by water is quite the most beautiful. Seen from the level of a small boat, the island, with its palms, its colonnades, its pylons, seems to rise out of the river like a mirage. Piled rocks frame it on either side, and the purple mountains close up the distance. As the boat glides nearer between glistening boulders, those sculptured towers rise higher and even higher against the sky. They show no sign of ruin or age. All looks solid, stately, perfect. One forgets for the moment that anything is changed. If a sound of antique chanting were to be borne along the quiet air–if a procession of white-robed priests bearing aloft the veiled ark of the God, were to come sweeping round between the palms and pylons–we should not think it strange.
(Amelia Edwards – 1873-1874)