The Amada Temple is the oldest temple ever discovered in Nubia, and even though it’s been altered a number of times throughout history, and even completely relocated, it is still a fascinating place to visit, particularly if you’re going to be enjoying a Lake Nasser cruise while you’re in the country.
A Brief History Of Amada Temple
Temple of Amada was originally built by Pharaoh Thutmose III who ruled during the 18th dynasty. When he died, his son, Amenhotep II took over, and during his reign he continued adding to the original temple and improving the temple’s decorations. Later when Amenhotep died, his successor, Thutmose IV once again began to initiate a number of changes, including the addition of a roof to cover the original temple’s open style forecourt.
Many years later during the Amada period, instructions were given to remove the name “Amun” and all representations of Amun, the God to which the temple had been dedicated. However, later rulers had everything replaced again, and once again began making a number of improvements and continued adding to the existing structure.
Walking Through The Temple Of Amada
Even though many describe the interior walls of the temple as dull and crumbling, it has to be said that the temple is home to some beautifully preserved features, including several very fine cut reliefs featuring vibrant colors.
The best painted reliefs await visitors in the temple’s innermost rooms, Many of these painting show Thutmose III and Amenhotep II making offerings to the Gods or partaking in other ritualistic activities.
Historically Significant Records Temple Site
There were two historically important inscriptions found at Amada Temple. The first inscription was made by Amenhotep II during the third year of his reign, and it describes in great detail his ruthlessness during battles in Asia. For example, he mentions how he personally executed the seven chiefs of the Takhesy district with his own sword before hanging them upside down from the prow of his boat. The second inscription is also one of brutality, but relates to attempted invasion from Libya.
The Relocation Of An Ancient Nubian Temple
When the Egyptian government made the decision to construct the Aswan High Dam, it meant that several antiquities would inevitably be lost to the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Egypt, along with several other countries from around the world immediately went to work at trying to save as many ancient monuments as possible.
Several temples were cut into blocks and then meticulously fitted together again on higher ground where they would be safe from the rising water. However, this technique could not be used for moving Amada Temple because of the many paintings and reliefs, most of which would have been destroyed. For historians, it seemed Amada was doomed to a watery burial.
Fortunately France and a team of architects came up with an ingenious way to move the entire temple in one piece. This involved placing the temple on rails, and then using a hydraulic system to move it to higher ground a few kilometers away. Coincidentally, the amazing rock-cut Temple of Derr was moved to the same location as well.
While these two temples are nothing compared to some of the other ancient attractions in Egypt, they are certainly worth a visit if you are in the area, and particularly if you’re considering a Lake Nasser cruise. Keep in my though that a visit to the site isn’t included in all Egypt tour packages, so if you do want to visit Amada Temple, it’s best to let a tour consultant know before you finalize you tour reservation.