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Qasr Ibrim

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Fortress of 25th Dynasty

Qasr Ibrim, Egypt

Photos: Rita Willaert

Qasr Ibrim is the only important monument along the Lake Nasser that is in its original location. The explanation is that it was not a temple, which in Egypt were placed near the water whenever possible. Qasr Ibrim was a fortress, and built around 680 BCE by the command of King Taharqa, who belonged to the 25 Dynasty.
There is proof that fortifications here date back at least 300 years more than that.
Qasr Ibrim used to rest on top of a 70 metre high cliff, now it rests modestly, but beautifully next to the lake. It really looks as if this is the way it always was intended to appear.
Although the need to place a fortress right here, half way between the 1st and 2nd Cataracts, does not seem obvious, Qasr Ibrim proved itself to be able to withstand several great historical changes. This was the place in Egypt where Roman religion lasted the longest, and it managed to protect itself from Islam until the 16th century.
Beginning as a fortress, most of the surviving structure was originally a cathedral, built from sandstone in the 9th century. Underneath this, there was a temple dedicated to Isis.

Qasr Ibrim, Egypt

Getting out here is only done with a Lake Nasser cruise. The site is presently closed for tourists, due to ongoing excavations and the fragility of the structure.

By Tore Kjeilen