Spending Time on Elephantine

Unfinished obelisk:

The Unfinished obelisk is the largest known ancient obelisk. The obelisks creators began to carve directly out of the bedrock, but when cracks appeared in the granite the project was abandoned, so it’s called the Unfinished obelisk.

Unfinished Obelisk - Travellingminstrel #
Unfinished Obelisk – Travellingminstrel #1

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to walk on it but we had a perfect view. In the granite you can see a rounded trench which we think was the marks of the diorite balls which were hanging around on the rocks for us to see.

Diorite balls - Travellingminstrel #
Diorite balls – Travellingminstrel #2

They say that they used these balls to carve the obelisk but I’m not so sure. (diorite is harder than granite).

The builder - Travellingminstrel #
The builder – Travellingminstrel #3


We were walking to the ruins when we found Animalia (on Elephantine) which is a very small museum showing how a Nubian house looks and their way of life. It was actually part of a Nubian mans home.

Nubian house - Travellingminstrel #
Nubian house – Travellingminstrel #4

He was very nice and explained things well. There was a guest room, a court yard full of sand which was to see whether there were scorpion or snake tracks from the previous night (that put me off) and a bedroom.

The bedroom - Travellingminstrel #
The bedroom – Travellingminstrel #5

Jed had fun with yet another tortoise while we looked around inside.

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Travellingminstrel #6

He showed us how important the date palm was as they used it for making chairs, tables, baskets as well as eating the dates and making alcohol from it.

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Travellingminstrel #7

There was a room with stuffed reptiles (including a crocodile), animals and birds in which was NOT a pretty sight. At the end we bought some jewellery from the shop which his wife had made, made a donation and marched on.

The Elephantine ruins:

These are said to be some of the oldest sites in Egypt. In amongst the stone monuments were mud bricks.

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Travellingminstrel #8

Archaelogists are still examining the site but artifacts dating back to Predynastic times have been found. The island was also an important stone quarry in ancient times providing granite materials for other ancient Egyptian sites.

One of the interesting things here is the Nilometer which was to measure the tide and predict whether it would be a good or bad year for the crops and therefore the people. If the water rose to the centre it would be good. If it was too high it would flood the houses and too low would not be enough to irrigate the crops.

The Nilometer - Travellingminstrel #
The Nilometer – Travellingminstrel #9

I also found a reasonable sized piece of hieroglyph which I will show you at home if I manage to get it through security on our way home (TUT was gutted it wasn’t him who found it as we’ve been planing to get a piece for ages).

There was a beautiful spot down by the river to look out on and rest whilst Jed had lots of fun splashing about.

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Travellingminstrel #10

There was a side entrance here which you could probably sneak through into the site as no one asked us for tickets. We came back through the side entrance once or twice afterwards as it was the perfect spot for chilling.

view from the Movenpick (hotel) - Travellingminstrel #
view from the Movenpick (hotel) – Travellingminstrel #11

Kitchener island:

This island was right next to ours. We asked a guy on the island to take us across and we ended up in a tiny wooden rowing boat (with an engine) which needed a proper balance.

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Travellingminstrel #12
Travellingminstrel #
Travellingminstrel #13

Kitchener island is mainly just botanical gardens with rare species of trees from all over the world. Of course it was STILL Egyptian holiday so it was packed so we had to keep stopping either for a picture, a chat, a laugh or for a feel of Jed’s cheeks. Apart from that “small” issue it was a great day.


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