New Kalabsha is a promontory located in Nubia South of Aswan. It houses several important temples, structures, and other remains that have been relocated here from the site of Old Kalabsha to avoid the rising waters of Lake Nasser caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The major remains are described below:
Kalabsha Temple is situated approx. 50 Km south of Aswan. It was built by the Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus. It was built during the late Ptolemaic era and completed during the Roman Period. The Roman emperor Octavius Augustus built this temple on the honor of the Nubian deity "Mandulis" which is the Nubian form from the ancient Egyptian falcon god Horus. The temple is considered the largest preserved temple in Nubia. The structure of the temple was like the classical structure of the Ptolemaic temples. There is a chapel suggests to be built on the site of an earlier structure created by Ptolemy 11th.
Another small chapel and gate from Kalabsha is situated now on Elephantine Island, and another similar gate built by Augustus was given to the Agyptisches Museum in West Berlin. The Island has also other attractions like the temple built by the most famous Pharaoh King Ramesses II which is called Beit El-Wali. During the early Coptic era, the temple was transformed into a church. The two temples of Kalabsha and Beit El-wali were removed and reconstructed near to the high dam.
Temple of Beit El Wali
Beit El-Wali, is one of the remarkable temples of ancient Egypt. The temple is located about 55 km to the South of Aswan in the lands of Nubia. This temple was originally located in a remote area from any towns. It was built probably for show rather than public worship, and the conducting of temple services by small priestly staffs may have been only occasionally maintained, or minimally observed. Temple of Beit El Wali was dedicated to the worship of the gods Amun; the King of Gods, and the god Khnum. It was relocated after the construction of the High Dam in the 1960s, to another place which is higher than its original location to avoid the damage of the water of the Nile.
Carved into rock, the Temple of Beit El Wali was constructed by Ramses II in Nubia as an evidence of his strong control over the area. Many of the carvings and decorations of the temple are still preserved however some of them lost their magnificent colors. Beit El Wali was built through cutting inside the sand rocks of the mountains of Nubia and it is the smallest temple following that style of construction as other examples include the magnificent huge Temple of Abu Simble, which was also relocated after the building of the High Dam.
The original location of the Temple of Beit El Wali was rather strange as it was constructed in an isolated spot far from any modern or ancient towns we learned about through historical records.
Temple of Qertassi
A few steps from the temple of Kalabsha stand the remains of the Roman Kiosk of Qertassi. The Kiosk of Qertassi is dedicated to goddess Hathor goddess of love Music and maternity the temple is located to the south of Temple of Kalabsha next to Aswan high dam. Originally located almost twenty miles south of the High Dam, it may have been a station on a processional route of the sacred barque of Isis. It was also dedicated to Isis and it is among the many Nubian monuments that were moved, by the a polish archaeological expedition, from the original site of Old Talmis to New Kalabsha site near the high dam of Aswan.
This charming kiosk has now been moved to the site of New Kalabsha in Southern Egypt but "once stood to the entrance to the sandstone quarries" of Qertassi. Since Hathor was often associated with Isis, as she is at Philae, it has been suggested that "this kiosk and the small temples of Dabod and Dendur were way stations on the processional route taken by priests bearing the image of Isis around Lower Nubia, which was held to be her estate." Due to the paucity of timber in the arid region of Nubia, the kiosk's roof was constructed with sandstone slabs that were supported by architraves on its long sides.
Gerf (Garf) Hussein, or more correctly, Per Ptah “the House of Ptah", is located on the west bank of the Nile, but now covered by Lake Nasser, a few kilometers south of the site of Dendur. The temple of Gerf Hussein was built by the Viceroy of Nubia, Setau, at a site some 90 km south of Aswan.
Gerf Hussein is a fine temple, It was dedicated to "Ptah, Ptah-Tatenen and Hathor, and associated with Ramesses, 'the Great God.'" An avenue of ram headed sphinxes led from the Nile to the first pylon, which like the courtyard beyond is also free standing. The courtyard is surrounded by six columns and eight statue pillars. The entrance to a peristyle court "is decorated with colossal Osiris statues." The rear portion of the building which is 43 m in depth was carved out of rock and follows the structure of Abu Simbel with a pillared hall featuring two rows of three statue pillars and, curiously, four statue recesses, each with divine triads along the sides.
In the Nubia Museum at Aswan, the focal point of its central exhibition hall is a colossal statue of Ramesses II which hails from Gerf Hussein. It is unique in not having been fashioned by royal sculptors, but by the people of Nubia, in sandstone. It was too fragile to be transported to New Kalabsha along the architectural elements of his salvaged temple and the other statues.