- Place or Religious Monument
- Archaeological Site
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
The island of E lephantine is the site of the old Abu (literally "elephant" and "ivory" in ancient Egyptian). Elephantine occupied a strategic position in the ivory trade during the 1st dynasty (about 3 000 B.C.): it was at once an economic epicentre and a customs house, which houses remnants of an ancient fortress in the south of the island.
E lephantine is a fascinating place containing Nubian villages of Siou and Koti in the centre of the island: I liked walking in their gardens and narrow streets which are dotted with trees. I suggest stop at Animalia: an unusual museum, which boasts a rich collection of photographs of Nubia, traditional Nubian handicrafts. The remnants of the original city of Abu extend more to the south of the island. I recommend the temple of Khnum, the largest monument on site and former centre for worship to the Khnum cult, a divinity with a ram's head. Continue your excursion to the small step pyramid, the Ptolemaic chapel, then to the sacred rams' necropolis, which is supposed to incarnate Khnum.
Other unusual places: the nilometres of the temples of Khnum and Satet. A nilometre measures water levels in the Nile, indispensable information for harvests. Khnum has a pool linked to a stone staircase; in Satet, the nooks in the walls indicate where the oil lamps would light the way.